Thursday 8 December 2016

In truth, Kimmage leaves the pack behind

The TV documentary Rough Rider showed that a "fact" today may not be a fact tomorrow, writes Declan Lynch

Published 03/08/2014 | 02:30

Illustration by Jim Cogan
Illustration by Jim Cogan

There is something called the Communications Unit in Leinster House, from which a man called Ciaran Brennan wrote last week to the Irish Independent, quoting a very old line about journalism. 
"Comment is free but facts are sacred" is the line, attributed to the editor of the Manchester Guardian CP Scott, and cited with approval by the man in the Communications Unit - "while commentary is an integral and important part of any newspaper, that commentary should always be based on fact", he opined.

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And to be fair to Mr Brennan he would not be alone in endorsing Scott's line, which you can hear being quoted in tones of wry approval by many in politics and in journalism itself, when they can't offer a line of their own, which is most of the time.

So here's a fact: throughout his cycling career, Lance Armstrong passed many drugs tests, conducted by the highest authorities in the game. It was such an established fact, that Lance himself kept quoting it, and many of the journalists in turn reported it, and so the great wheels of the media kept turning in a manner that might gain the approval of those in the Communications Unit itself who declare that "commentary should always be based on fact."

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