What’s worrying about Fine Gael’s campaign is that in most cases the advertising was written by mercenaries, featured pictures of party members, and were purposefully made look like authentic articles by the papers which printed them.
This is tragic because the advertising used the integrity and trust of the individual papers concerned to convince their audience that Fine Gael are promoting a positive and rewarding programme which will result in prosperity for Ireland.
Journalism has failed to question if the 2040 plan is simply party propaganda on the run up to an election and have thus failed the people of Ireland. Simply looking back on Fine Gael’s previous election promises of Burden Sharing and Ending Hospital Waiting Lists would suggest the party are incapable of delivering on their commitments, but is print media really going to challenge the provider of a multi million euro revenue stream or are they going to remain complicit with the hand that feeds them.
If independent news papers are afraid to speak out against members of the Government, or the Government itself, for fear of losing precious revenue then this is a threat to our democracy as well as leaving the Government less accountable and more open to corruption.
In light of this my real news awards continue with the fourth trophy of the year going to Ellen Coyne's (@ellenmcoyne ) for her coverage of the Splash4Cash scandal.
Make 2040 ads look like real news, paper told
Ellen open's with; Regional newspapers were instructed to make government advertorials look like independent stories and in some cases part of “the normal news cycle,”
She also reveals that; One local editor told The Times: “This is fake news. Newspapers are struggling and the government know that, so they’ve got us by the balls.”
The fifth trophy goes to Susan Mitchell (@susmitchellSBP) for her article
‘Stop Downplaying Hospital Waiting Times’
Susan’s sub headline says enough really;
“Claims that waiting lists are improving are not supported by the data and overall trends, but ever changing targets facilitate such lame assertions by politicians and the Department of Health”
In her article Susan points out that in January 2012 there were 59,386 people on waiting lists but by January 2018 those figures had risen to 80,204 with more people than ever waiting longer than 12 months for potentially lifesaving treatments.
The sixth trophy of the year goes to Donal O’Keeffe (@Donal_OKeeffe) for his article in The Avondhu: ‘Making pawns of people who have Down Syndrome is cruel and disingenuous’
Donal takes to print and tackles some very challenging points on the debate without holding back on the punches himself;
“I would ask ‘Love Both’ campaigners – who are usually Catholic in the extreme – what they think would have happened to a baby born with Down syndrome, say, in a Mother and Baby Home when the Catholic Church was in its pomp.”
Donal’s article is brave given how divisive the issue is and how little discussion there has been on the topic on RTE television. The Government have taken a backseat on the debate so far and it's hard to tell how they get away with such a lack of leadership on some of the most important and platform issues presented to them.