You may have seen that media commentators are in a major tizzy about something called ‘fake news’, which they say is having an influence on public opinion, and that this is a Very Bad Thing. The irony here is that fake news is nothing new in the mainstream media, and the breathless reporting on the supposed ‘strike’ in support of the repeal of the 8th is just the latest example of the media tendency to distort the facts, or exclude alternative views, on a whole range of issues.
There is a beautiful café that I regularly go to where the coffee is good, the staff are friendly and the food is top notch. While there, I usually pick up whatever paper is available and have a good read through it. One of the papers regularly available is The Irish Times. Last week, 20th January to 26th January, I had an opportunity to thoroughly read, explore and investigate The Irish Times on every day of its publication, excluding Sunday. Let’s just say, it made for interesting reading. Despite their repeal propaganda and deliberate attempts at brainwashing (their catchphrase is ‘You are what you read’) I’m still a firm pro-life advocate. During these six days I paid close attention to their antics, tactics and tricks that try to draw people over to the repeal/pro-abortion side. After this review, I then imagined myself in the position of the editor of The Irish Times. Below are my thoughts on what the editor’s group e-mail reviewing the week would be:
Mattie McGrath, the pro-life TD for Tipperary, was recently sent a series of questions on the recommendations of the Abortion Committee by a journalist. He proposed clarifications to the questions which are a must-read. If we had this kind of clarity in the debate it would make for an honest and factual discussion on abortion, but, of course, the media’s heads would collectively explode.
It’s not exactly news. For many years now, the right to publicly protest has been coming under attack by people who are determined to shut down dissenting voices. You don’t actually need to be protesting to have your voice silenced – these days all you need is your publicly stated opinion that goes against the approved political view. So cake makers are fined in Northern Ireland for refusing to make a celebration cake for a gay wedding, a president a student socity of an Irish university is impeached simply for believing it’s wrong to kill unborn children, university pro-life and christian clubs are shut down simply for being pro-life and christian, a teacher in Cambridge is disciplined by his board and may lose his job for not referring to a transgender girl as a boy, and et cetera. And in another nuance on the possibilities of eroding democracy and shutting down free speech, there is the increasingly intense battle to put an end to peaceful prayer, protest and any presence at all by pro-life people outside abortion businesses.