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Minister who lied to the Oireachtas blames "fake news" for forcing her out

  • 28-09-2018 7:04pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 17,797 ✭✭✭✭


    https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/the-floating-voter-fitzgerald-says-fake-news-was-factor-in-resignation-37364704.html
    Speaking about Garda whistleblower controversy which led to he downfall for the first-time, Ms Fitzgerald said her resignation was “inevitable” because of a “media and political frenzy”.

    “We talk a lot about fake news and other countries and fake news but the whole thing developed into such a frenzy,” she told Independent.ie’s Floating Voter podcast.

    Am I missing something here? Was it false or untrue for the media to report that (a) Minister FitzGerald informed the Oireachtas that she or her department had not been informed of certain facts by email, and that (b) emails were subsequently discovered which did, in fact, inform her and her department of these facts?

    This was not "fake news". At the very best, the minister showed profound incompetence in being unaware of these emails (and in not being able to use a search button before informing the Oireachtas that they didn't exist) - and at worst, she deliberately lied to the Oireachtas in the full knowledge that these emails existed and in the hopes that the aforementioned emails would never come into the public domain.

    This is yet another politician who is jumping on the "fake news" bandwagon, ever since it was started by the Democrats in the US back in 2016 to deflect from the fact that their corruption-exposing emails had been introduced into the public domain.

    Utterly pathetic. I honestly thought Frances FitzGerald was better than this.


Comments

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/the-floating-voter-fitzgerald-says-fake-news-was-factor-in-resignation-37364704.html



    Am I missing something here? Was it false or untrue for the media to report that (a) Minister FitzGerald informed the Oireachtas that she or her department had not been informed of certain facts by email, and that (b) emails were subsequently discovered which did, in fact, inform her and her department of these facts?

    This was not "fake news". At the very best, the minister showed profound incompetence in being unaware of these emails (and in not being able to use a search button before informing the Oireachtas that they didn't exist) - and at worst, she deliberately lied to the Oireachtas in the full knowledge that these emails existed and in the hopes that the aforementioned emails would never come into the public domain.

    This is yet another politician who is jumping on the "fake news" bandwagon, ever since it was started by the Democrats in the US back in 2016 to deflect from the fact that their corruption-exposing emails had been introduced into the public domain.

    Utterly pathetic. I honestly thought Frances FitzGerald was better than this.

    Fitzgerald not disappearing quietly into that good night, her true colours coming to the fore. When in doubt, brandish some laboured cliché and kick up a cloud of smoke.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    She seems to be trying to pass off being called out on 'incorrect recollection' ;) as 'a thing'. Using 'fake news' alone shows how unfit she was for any office, not to mention the complete, allegedly hands off, balls up. Her own party leader reckons the DoJ is a mess.
    She'll be remembered as using the 'not very good at her job' defence. So yeah that was inevitable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,157 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Isn't there a Tribunal looking into it?

    If the Tribunal exonerates her, would it then be fake news?


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,797 ✭✭✭✭hatrickpatrick


    blanch152 wrote: »
    Isn't there a Tribunal looking into it?

    If the Tribunal exonerates her, would it then be fake news?

    What exactly can the tribunal do to dispute the known facts that (a) the email existed, and (b) she told the Oireachtas that the email did not exist?

    All it can do is state that she didn't deliberately mislead the Oireachtas, that she merely didn't know the facts. Which would mean that she either didn't investigate them, or investigated them inadequately. Either way, still grounds for a resignation on the grounds of incompetence.

    That's what I never understood about the "defer to the tribunal" aspect of this - there's not much clarification the tribunal can offer when the basic facts A (the existence of the email) and B (her denial of the email's existence) are known. Regardless of why or how that happened, malice or ineptitude, she had to go.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 11,299 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hermy


    I often think it's bizarre to hear politicians complaining about so-called fake news given so many of them have built entire political careers out of spreading the stuff.

    Genealogy Forum Mod



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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,397 ✭✭✭✭FreudianSlippers


    blanch152 wrote: »
    Isn't there a Tribunal looking into it?

    If the Tribunal exonerates her, would it then be fake news?
    No it'd still just be "news".


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,753 ✭✭✭✭expectationlost


    https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/the-floating-voter-fitzgerald-says-fake-news-was-factor-in-resignation-37364704.html



    Am I missing something here? Was it false or untrue for the media to report that (a) Minister FitzGerald informed the Oireachtas that she or her department had not been informed of certain facts by email, and that (b) emails were subsequently discovered which did, in fact, inform her and her department of these facts?

    This was not "fake news". At the very best, the minister showed profound incompetence in being unaware of these emails (and in not being able to use a search button before informing the Oireachtas that they didn't exist) - and at worst, she deliberately lied to the Oireachtas in the full knowledge that these emails existed and in the hopes that the aforementioned emails would never come into the public domain.

    This is yet another politician who is jumping on the "fake news" bandwagon, ever since it was started by the Democrats in the US back in 2016 to deflect from the fact that their corruption-exposing emails had been introduced into the public domain.

    Utterly pathetic. I honestly thought Frances FitzGerald was better than this.
    problem is she doesn't specify exactly what news piece was fake news, and whatever about the tribunal rulings she withheld info from the Dail which she could have conveyed to it, that why she had to resign.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Her incompetence and public opinion lost her her job.
    If a news outlet gets something wrong they generally retract. If they are following a story they print what they can verify, although that may change as it all unfolds. 'Fake News', it's a term used by people who want the public to disregard anything they don't want believed. 'Fake News' suggests intent to spin lies and everything should be disregarded. It's a gimmick chancers use.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,797 ✭✭✭✭hatrickpatrick


    Her incompetence and public opinion lost her her job.
    If a news outlet gets something wrong they generally retract. If they are following a story they print what they can verify, although that may change as it all unfolds. 'Fake News', it's a term used by people who want the public to disregard anything they don't want believed. 'Fake News' suggests intent to spin lies and everything should be disregarded. It's a gimmick chancers use.

    What I love about the phrase is that it was basically invented by the Clinton campaign in 2016 to refer to people posting made up headlines on Facebook (since apparently the internet is now serious business and people are stupid enough to assume what they see on social media is factual), and it was subsequently co-opted by the Trump administration to refer to perceived media bias against them. These two precedents basically opened the flood gates to every politician, commentator, personality and journalist who received unfavourable coverage in the news or commentariat calling "fake news" and using that to avoid facing up to their own f*ck ups.

    Essentially, the 2016 US election screwed up a lot of things for politics throughout the world, as so many politicians in so many countries are borrowing the playbook used in that election. And as someone who despises Trump's policies, I still lay the blame for that at the feet of the Democrats, who were so sure that it was their "turn" to win that they threw the most unimaginable tantrum and blamed literally everyone and everything they could, to avoid accepting the fact that they lost the election because their own campaigning was out of touch and incompetent.

    That's basically what's playing out again and again when politicians call "fake news" - the media points out genuine incompetence, corruption or malicious behaviour from politicians, and politicians describe it as fake news. It's happening all over the world. It happened with both parties in the US, it happened with Brexit, it's happening in mainland Europe with all the populist back-and-forth and now it's happening here as well.

    In my view, this falls along the same lines as all those politicians trying to regulate and censor discourse on the internet - they've discovered that the establishment is no longer in control of the narrative, and that scares the bejaysus out of them. And this has bled over into the traditional media as well - there was a time not so long ago when the media in Ireland revered politicians and treated them like celebrities - remember, for example, when Carol Coleman was universally shat on by the establishment here for conducting an investigative interview of George W Bush as opposed to merely giving him a PR platform, which is what the Irish media was known for at the time.

    I can't remember which of our politicians it was (Alan Kelly perhaps?) who "blamed" RTE for the fall of water charges by accusing them of giving the protesters "too much coverage". As if the news media is supposed to report first and foremost to the policies of the state, and report actual facts and events as a secondary concern.

    I have to say, for all our media's issues (and I'd be the first to say that it does, indeed, have issues) I'm glad that so far, by and large, they're refusing to cave in to these demands for a return to propaganda - and the social media companies are likewise resisting the idea that free exchange of information online was only a fleeting paradise which is about to be taken away from us.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Given all of the above, it really stands that anyone wrapping themselves in the blanket of 'fake news' to save them from their blushes or gross negligence and incompetence as in this case, is a chancer. There is a lot of false media items passed as news. I always equate the news with an outlet of repute. The likes of Trump class anything anyone says on any format as news. I wonder was the former minister doing same?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,797 ✭✭✭✭hatrickpatrick


    Copying this from the Garda Commissioner thread, my take on Charleton's "vindication" of FitzGerald:
    I see Francis Fitzgerald was vindicated too.

    The opposition are a joke, Sinn Fein forcing her to resign for political gain when she done nothing wrong.

    Will they be held accountable for this?

    Of course not.

    It vindicates her in relation to her decision not to interfere in the O'Higgins commission, which was the right decision. But it also notes that it's likely she did indeed read the very email which she informed the Oireachtas did not exist.

    It's unlikely to have been malicious, just incompetent. Typical case of a politician giving a defensive answer without first checking their facts. In my view, that in and of itself is unacceptable in a minister of the State. Misleading the Oireachtas either by deliberate untruthfulness, or by making statements without first establishing their accuracy, is far below the standard we should expect from members of the cabinet.

    That's just my opinion though. I'm fairly well known to be fairly radical in my interpretation of the "Oireachtas holding ministers to account" concept - misleading the Oireachtas through entirely avoidable negligence is clearly not as severe as deliberately lying outright, but it's still far below the standard of work we should be demanding from members of the cabinet, if the Oireachtas is to function as the check and balance it's supposed to be. So to my mind, it was right that she was forced out over this.

    The whole culture of deflection in Irish politics needs to change. Instead of coming out either all guns blazing or "I'm not answering this because reasons", why can't we have a culture of "I'm not certain of my facts in this case. I will go back to my office and investigate [in this case, search my email system] and give a full answer to this question once I am in possession of all the facts"? That's how the Oireachtas should function.

    The opposition aren't blameless either, of course - the hostile and adversarial nature of Oireachtas exchanges and the desire for instant one-upmanship is common on all sides of it, not just the government. FF behaved as abysmally when they were in power, as did Labour - given their performance up North I have no doubt that SF would do so as well, and in that context it seems a safe assumption that the left independents wouldn't be any better than the rest of their colleagues. So just as the Gardai need a wholescale culture reform, so too does the Oireachtas and the Executive, and how they interact with one another.

    To analogise this, if I was called into a meeting with my boss and he asked if I was aware of a certain email, I'd expect to be fired if I first said "I don't have to answer that" and then said "The email doesn't exist", only to later discover that it did. The correct response would be "I'm not sure about that, I'll go and check straight away". Equally though, a decent boss would accept this answer and say "fair enough, I'll look forward to hearing from you later today" as opposed to the usual opposition turning of the screw a la "AHHH, you should have that on the tip of your tongue! SCANDAL! SCANDAL!"

    All sides are to be blamed here to some extent, but IMO the downplaying of this breakdown in the Oireachtas / Executive relationship as illustrated by the email debacle is frustrating. This should be considered a bigger issue for Irish politics in general than it is.


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