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Ryan needs a lesson in 'proper journalism'

RYAN Tubridy. Now there’s a name I didn’t expect to be typing again so soon. The man must be beginning to think I have a personal vendetta against him.

Well, I don’t. If anything, I’ve been more admiring of him than some journalists over the last few years. But one function of newspapers is to react to what people in the public eye do, and the story prompting massive reaction today -- and not just from the media but also from various internet forums and the Twitterati -- is Tubridy’s lame interview with Ronan Keating.

The RTE pre-show publicity suggested that Tubridy wouldn’t shy away from asking tough questions about Keating’s high-profile affair with backing dancer Francine Cornell last year.

Yet as tough rides go, this was a gentle spin on a kiddies’ playground roundabout. Tubridy referred briefly to Keating’s “personal problems”. The Boyzone singer responded with: “It was a crazy year. I guess the press went pretty crazy on me and I think they were only too happy to jump. They were waiting for an opportunity.”

Ah, right. Now I get it. As usual, it was the press that were at fault, not Keating. Tubridy defended the interview on his 2FM show this morning, saying: “Trial by Twitter is not the answer to proper journalism.”

And he’s right: it’s not. Because proper journalism deals in proper, justified questions. There were plenty of proper, justified questions Tubridy could have asked Keating. Such as, given that he’s styled himself _ often with quite nauseating selfrighteousness -- as a dedicated husband and father, did he feel like a hypocrite?

Ronan Keating hasn’t killed anybody. He hasn’t wrecked any economies. But as a public figure who feeds off media coverage when it suits him, yet condemns it when it doesn’t, he deserves to be asked proper questions.

That’s what proper journalism is, although there was precious little of it on view last Friday.