Opinion Kevin Myers

Wednesday 16 January 2019

My narrow escape from an ambush by the liberal left

We know what 'anti-war' and 'peace' mean in the current argot: it means Yanks out, ie, ditto, yet again

There are some things about the self-styled pieties of the liberal-left which are not just extraordinary, but are literally incredible; I mean literally so, in that my senses cannot accept them. It's almost like trying to taste yellow, or hear garlic, or see a song. Take, for example, an invitation I recently received for an event which occurred last night in Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street. It came from an internet phenomenon known as Media Bite, and was entitled 'A Shot at Bias in the Media'.

Now, being a simple soul, I initially assumed that this title meant that the affair was all about ensuring a fair and balanced coverage on matters in the media -- that is, until I checked the names and credentials of my fellow invitees.

They were Pepe Escobar, of 'Asia Times', who wrote after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: "They've won. They got their war against Afghanistan [planned before September 11]. They're getting their war against Iraq [planned slightly after September 11]. After Iraq, they plan to get their wars against Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Saudi Arabia."

In other words, anti-US government. Next, Dar Jarmail, an American 'independent journalist', who recently said: "...according to the British military, violent attacks dropped 90 per cent. I think that goes to show that the Brits down in Basra, like the Americans in central and northern Iraq, have been the primary cause of the violence and the instability."

Therefore, more of same. (Allow me to interject my admiration of the term 'independent' here, no doubt implicitly meaning that those who disagree with him are not).

Next Harry Browne, another American, who was identified in the programme just as a DIT lecturer, but whom I last saw escorting two former US soldiers around Dublin radio stations, campaigning for US withdrawal from Iraq: ie, ditto.

Next, Ciaran O'Reilly, self-proclaimed 'anti-war activist'. Ditto encore. Next, Eamon Crudden, described in the programme as "independent film maker", but who describes himself on his own website as a "peace-activist".

We know what 'anti-war' and 'peace' mean in the current argot: it means Yanks out, ie, ditto, yet again.

And then there's Joe Zeffron, yet another American, and editor of 'RTE.ie,' who describes himself thus: "While much of the world's leadership comes from a place of greed and domination right now, the hearts and minds of the people are dedicated to a 21st century for peace, prosperity and harmony." In other words, Haight Ashbury, peace man: aka, against US foreign policy. Then there are two mainstream journalists -- Feargal Keane of RTE, and Paddy Smyth, foreign editor of the 'Irish Times', neither of whom are noted (and nor should they be, considering the jobs they do) for their pro-Americanism. Finally, there was to be me: little old me, an unashamed supporter of the US.

Anyway, seeing such odds, I politely declined, whereupon what did Media Bite do but showed their real colours: they promptly posted up on their website a column I had written in this newspaper, supporting Senator McCain's policies towards Iraq.

The headline to my column was 'Scribes of Empire', and it invited comments. Tell me, what do you think was the purpose of that invitation? Was it to get people to say, A) Jeez, that Myers fellow's really got a point, speaks a lot of sense, let's hear more voices like that? Or, B) why, that bastard's nothing but a warmongering lickspittle lackey of the White House?

So was B) the purpose all along? Was it for Media Bite to enjoy the admittedly delightful prospect of metaphorically kicking this poor eejit to death in debate?

And then, when not being able to do that, as originally hoped, corporeally in Aungier Street, did Media Bite then shift the lynching on-line?

And do you know, I'm still innocent enough to be taken-aback by this -- either at the cynicism which underlies it, or at the breathtaking intellectual incapacity which made it possible. There might, of course, be a third explanation -- that global warming has melted their brains, or their beds are infested with weasels, and the resulting insomnia has made them mad.

Either way, in a debate on the role of the media in Iraq, it is an unusual definition of balance to have six critics of US foreign policy on the one hand, and on the other, a single supporter of the US, aka, Muggins. Which merely leaves me to ask my liberal-left friends: Do those odds suit you? Or are they perhaps a little stacked in my favour? Perhaps you could have got Michael Moore, Jane Fonda, Ho Chi Minh, Tony Benn, Harold Pinter, Michael D Higgins, and the many, many media luvvies of Dublin in the line-up, just in case.

For the general reader's interest: this dismal farrago against 'bias in the media' was scheduled to take place in the DIT School of Journalism.

And unbelievable though such a line-up might seem to you, it actually says all you need to know about left-liberal Ireland, and its smug, unchallenging, consensual journalistic culture. But DIT is a state-funded body: is this really its journalistic definition of balance, and what our taxes are subsidising?

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