Thursday 29 June 2017

Calling Higgins gay my worst nightmare

When the final safety net is removed, it's not surprising writers fall in to the online trap, says David Monagan

RESIGNED: Author and journalist David Monagan at his home in Military Hill, Cork
RESIGNED: Author and journalist David Monagan at his home in Military Hill, Cork

David Monagan

I AM the journalist who recently made a serious error in a blog for Forbes called a Letter from Ireland that, though pulled off the internet in minutes after about 300 actual views, went viral – to the horror of myself and Forbes. If there was such a thing as a "journalist's worst nightmare", this was it.

In a rush to get a complex and heavily researched story out about something altogether different – in this case, Samantha Power, the Dublin-born American ambassador nominee to the UN – I, in a last-minute addition, pasted in two erroneous words – "acknowledged homosexual" – about the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, that pertained in fact not to him but his electoral rival for the job two years ago, David Norris.

It is likely that as a result I have caused pain to a person I hold in much respect. I voted for Higgins myself, because the world has seen few such literary and thoughtful political leaders since the passing of the former playwright president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel.

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