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
Published 28/07/2013 | 05:00
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.