Monday, 18 February 2013

Jim McDowell and the Sunday World

Sunday World editor, Jim McDowell
The Sunday World has printed another 'story' about my blog and in particular recent posts about the influence that the Workers' Party had at one time within the newspaper.  The earlier articles were by Richard sullivan but this time it was Jim McDowell who took up the cudgels.

The article by Jim McDowell features on page 1 and then again on pages 4 and 5.  It is certainly big on space, spread over three pages, but like many Sunday World articles, there is really no substance to it.

Much of the front page is filled with the headline and that is simply a bit of corner-boy abuse.  The rest of the article isn't much better!

Such articles are rather self-defeating because they actually increase the number of pageviews I get for the blog.  Moreover this article is also self-defeating because it fails to answer the core point that I made and that failure is very obvious to anyone who has read the blog.

The fact is that I simply quoted a short section from the standard history of the Workers' Party and the Official IRA.  The Lost Revolution: the story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party was written by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar and has won an award for the quality of its research and analysis.  Here is what it said about the SundayWorld:
The Sunday World remained an outlet for WP [Workers' Party] publicity and its populist analysis of the political situation was often in line with the party's positions. The paper steered clear of any reference to the actvities of Group B [Official IRA], but its exposes of criminal activity by other loyalist and republican paramilitaries was not without its costs: its Northern editor, Jim Campbell, was badly wounded in a UVF shooting in May 1984.
Those are not my words.  They were written by the authors of an award-winning book, one of whom is an academic in Liverpool University and the other a journalist.

The Sunday World even calls for me to resign ... because they don't like what I wrote, or rather what I quoted from a the standard history of the Official republican movement.  So just because Sunday World journalists don't like something in an award-winning book, they think I should resign.  What planet are they on?

If Jim McDowell and Richard Sullivan are getting so uptight about it, then let them take action against the authors of the book.  Let them try to prove that what the authors said was untrue.  But of course they don't and they can't!

Jim McDowell also accuses me of 'demonising the deceased Martin O'Hagan and the people who still work for this newspaper.'  I had merely reported that Martin came from a strongly republican background and had joined the Official IRA - FACT.  I also said that he had served a prison sentence for transporting guns - FACT.  I also reported that another member of the O'Hagan family had joined the Provisional IRA - FACT.

As regards the staff 'who still work for this newspaper', I did not mention them.  As stated above there was a period where the Workers' Party had strong influence in the Sunday World, as indeed it had a strong influence in some other sections of the media.

It seems that for Jim McDowell it is perfectly acceptable to scrutinise other areas of society but unacceptable to ask questions or report facts about the media.  That is a very dangerous line for any society to follow.  Moreover I am not aware of anyone else taking that line.  Down through the years I have read many articles about the influence of the Workers' Party in the media, both print and broadcast media.

The Sunday World specialises in writing about the activities of paramilitaries and has always done so but in the period where there was a strong WP influence in the paper it did ignore the criminal activities of the Official IRA, the paramilitary and fund-raising wing of the Workers' Party .. and that's a FACT.

Of course the murder of Martin O'Hagan was wrong and the perpetrators of every murder must be held to account but that does not mean that the Sunday World should be immune from scrutiny.

1 comment:

  1. For years the S. World has demonised people from both communities that their "journalists" took a dislike to. It was all too easy to label their victims "mad-dogs", "jackal's" or "king rat's" in the hope that opposing, dim-witted paramilitaries would act on the dubious info. printed on a weekly basis.