As far as the north was concerned most Dublin – based journalists and commentators did not want to know about discrimination, harassment by the RUC,UDR and British soldiers, closed border roads. They were not interested in what it was like for a person from a working class Nationalist background to live in the six north-eastern counties. They did not care. So when it came to men dying on hungerstrike they were completely out of touch with the reality of life in the six counties and many of them still are. Except for a few journalists, like the late Derek Dunne, they did not bother to investigate.
They did not want to know about the daily harassment and intimidation of the RUC, UDR and British army during the reign of terror by the British government. The reign of terror was seen by the whole world in Derry on 5 October 1968 because TV cameras happened to be there. It was seen in all its viciousness on Bloody Sunday, January 1972 when once again cameras were recording. Some reporters and journalists from Dublin media(like Kevin Myers) spent some time in Belfast and thought they knew it all after spending a few days in the pubs and hotels around Belfast city centre. They were easily brainwashed by pro- British propagandists and agents of the British government. The focus in their reports was almost entirely on the IRA and Sinn Fein. Those ‘baddies’ were the cause of all the trouble. It was they who killed more and maimed more people than the British. Forget the historical and political context and just keep the score was their attitude.
The Dublin commentators were completely oblivious to the reality of the British/unionist torture and oppression of a section of the population in this part of Ireland. They were not willing to listen and learn from the people who were experiencing repression and torture. They deliberately misrepresented the situation because the newspapers for which they wrote had a vested interest in presenting a pro-British view of the conflict. RTE, the national broadcasting service, made a determined effort to discredit and demonise Sinn Fein leaders. They also went all out to promote the SDLP.
There are journalists who were bought over and there are those like Ruth Dudley Edwards who hate the Irish people and hate themselves. In fact there are quite a number of Irish reporters and commentators who are racists in the sense that they hate their own people. These people have no principles. The Irish Independent newspaper has always held an anti-republican, anti-Sinn Fein policy. Many people buy this anti-republican propaganda every day.
When you remember the violent reaction of the RUC and the B-men and their loyalist friends to the Civil Rights marches in 1968-69 you will understand the reason why some people took up arms to protect their homes and to try to put a stop to the vicious attacks on Catholics. Further repression led to further escalation. When you found out about the British sanctioned torture of Irish republican prisoners in Long Kesh in the 1970s you understand the reason for the sacrifice of the hunger strikers in 1981. But the Dublin media did not want to know about these matters.
I found that the propaganda war was difficult to contend with. The British had facilities for putting out their propaganda. It was difficult to counteract –especially in the USA. The Dublinmedia cooperated with British propaganda. In the end they failed because they were slowly being exposed and the truth was getting out. Thanks to great research and determined campaigns like the Ballymurphy massacre group and those exposing the Glennane murder gang. I have no doubt that in time the truth will be so strong that it will set us free.
It is my hope that, someday soon, a monitoring group will be set up to monitor the behaviour of RTE journalists, presenters and producers.