John the Baptist was a great man back in the day. A unique figure across Christianity, Islam and eh…. Mandaeism. Whatever that is. Not bad for a wandering Jewish preacher.
Most scholars agree John baptized Jesus.
Today though, we are here to talk about 2014 and the time Jesus baptized the Baptist. That’s the problem with News today. ‘Tis a divil to keep the facts straight.
Yes, You heard me right, John the Baptist, only fully reached the zenith of his powers, in this neck of the woods, in the year of our Lord 2014. The date marks when the cultural and scriptural icon added Irish soccer to his portfolio of religious teachings and preachings.
Fortunately for us, that stalwart of investigative journalism, Barry Egan and Independent group media were on hand, to record how water is Fake-News-ed into wine in modern day football, in that Hollywood motion picture, Indo produced ‘ John The Baptist’.
Given that the F.A.I. is quite literally fucked up beyond all recognition today, the video below should be required viewing for any young person contemplating a career in journalism or indeed history.
Many journalists, particularly in the political realm, have a new fangled moniker they like to attach themselves and their musings to rather piously.
It’s called ‘Being on the right side of history’ – It’s one of the reasons we don’t get facts in anything like the quantities we should. Narrative trumps the News.
In 2014, The John Delaney narrative was one of John the Baptist. No-one cried wolf as I recall, in the big bad world of Sports media. Not really.
Has anyone in Irish sports journalism had any doubt, that there was something very rotten in the State of Denmark, since we first got wind of that 5 million back hander from Sepp Blatter after the Thierry Henry hand-ball?
It’s a good reminder for any aspiring writer, thinking of plotting a career, that records the ways of men and mice. History will find a way of showing up. With or without you.
Paul Kimmage in fairness was one of the few at the time to raise his target friendly face above the parapet.
Whatever your opinion of Denis O’Brien, at the very least, we can reasonably point out that he is one of the most controversial figures in Irish public life over the last 30 years. What we can also reasonably point out, is that the only lengthy, on the record interview, we have seen in the O’Brien controlled media empire of this time from say 2012 to early 2019 is this Barry Egan Interview.
A puff documentary, bigging up John Delaney.
It is worth noting, Independent Newspaper group were under the Denis O’Brien sphere of influence at the time of this documentary. So too were the F.A.I. with regard to the Salary top up Denis O’Brien was giving to Irish International soccer managers at the time.
Is this a relevant fact to the output of this 2014 documentary?
Maybe the Independent could do a follow up documentary and Interview with Denis and John now – free from the shackles of it’s former owners?
Hmmmmm – Access denied – methinks.
The opening lines of this docu-propaganda video tells us all we need to know. It is almost too beautiful to be true. The program opens with these immortal words from Denis O’Brien.
” John Delaney could run anything, John Delaney could run UEFA, He could run FIFA as far as I’m concerned, certainly better than Sepp Blatter and more honestly “
Ah yes, and no doubt, he would’ve made a superb Minister of Communications as well.
The Fianna Fail press secretary won’t want reminding, but the documentary claims that they were begging him to run in whatever election was doing the rounds at the time.
Today, the program is embarrassing to watch for a number of people like Eamon Dunphy or media organisations like the Indo.
In my life time, Eamon is truly one of our great journalists, yet somehow for 15 years he had a gaping blind-spot for the man running Irish Soccer. The sport that gave him a journalistic platform in the first instance. I can’t recall an instance where the three wise men of Irish soccer Giles, Dunphy or Brady eviscerate John Delaney in anything like the manner they tore strips out of a succession of Irish soccer managers.
Paul Kimmage, had a great piece in yesterday’s Sunday Independent, central to the article is the fact, according to Kimmage, that Newstalk and the core of Denis O’Brien controlled national and local media organisations in Ireland have not invited members of the Irish Times to contribute on any of it’s platforms for two years.
Indeed he traces the San Andreas fault line back to a piece written by Fintan O’ Toole. For those that haven’t read it – it’s well worth a read.
To my knowledge, Denis O’Brien no longer has a controlling influence with the Independent group of newspapers following it’s sale to the Belgian Mediahuis group earlier in the year. It might be a co-incidence but it’s seems to me Paul Kimmage’s slugging average has improved post the sale. It is refreshing to see. It will be even more interesting to note if and when he next does a paper review on Off the Ball.
Are the Indo making a stand or is it just more chatter?
What all of this brings me to is the influence of big business and what we commonly refer to as news. To many of us, sports news, is the most important of all to get right. It’s writing or podcasting about something we love.
But what is the opportunity cost to the general public of having major news organisations hamstrung by billionaire owners from the private sector. I am not even talking about Denis O’Brien here. The Washington Post is currently owned by the richest man on the planet, Jeff Bezos. No doubt Bezos will say he has no direct or indirect influence on the content or narrative of the Washington Post. O’Brien would probably point to the same, in his time with Independent newspapers. Who know’s maybe it’s true.
But, then again, a lion doesn’t need to empty it’s lungs in a feverish roar, to influence the behavior of a gazelle in the Serengeti. Each recognizes what the other one is.
I detect that there is a murmuring of journalists, about to move into a self-congratulatory phase of their F.A.I coverage. No doubt, a couple, like Kimmage and the Times reporter, who broke the story, that broke the camel’s back, have done the state some service.
The majority have not. The majority lived through the Delaney years in quiet acquiescence. Not many pushed back on the ‘The John the Baptist’ story line. There are no shortage of Journalists pointing the finger at the moment. I hope they take a moment to reflect on the three that are pointed back at themselves.
Most of them encouraged you to buy tickets to the show.