A Pretentious Man’s Daily Mail

Last night, my younger brother was contacted by a close family friend who is the Irish Correspondent for The New York Times. He asked my brother to do him a favour and talk to him about his J1 experiences in Chicago in 2012 for an article that was being written on the awful tragedy about the six young Irish students who lost their lives in Berkeley on Tuesday. An article that he was not writing himself but doing some reporting on for those in the New York office. My brother obliged him and told him about his very positive experiences in the US several years ago. Shane thought little of it, assuming that most of the American papers would be writing on it, much like our own.

Living in the viral culture that we do now has led my brother to wake up this morning to be somewhat of an accessory to a crime. He has been quoted in what is one of the most reprehensible things I have ever read. It is absolutely despicable for such an article to have been written in a matter of hours after the tragedy had occurred. What’s worse is their preying on a group of young people who; upset enough by the events, gave their own input for what they assumed was to be a fitting tribute. The article’s twisting of what has been a largely successful programme filled with experiences of self-growth and independence into a vacuous extended holiday, is demeaning and tacky on what has been a very sad 24hours for our country.

I would’ve expected more from the New York Times and I am disappointed to say I’m wrong. What’s worse is the article itself reaches no conclusion. They report the deaths, talk about how the J1 has apparently been “a source of embarrassment” for the Irish people but what are they trying to say? Cowardly but cleverly they do not go back to the old fail-safe of “a load of drunk Irish people were drunk and fell off a balcony” probably knowing that whatever hot water they’re in now, actually blaming alcohol would have had them boiled to bits. Alcohol is not mentioned once in the article but the nation’s favourite stereotype looms over it like a bad head cold, as the journalists knowing full well what conclusion the average Joe American is going to come to. It is not mentioned because it is not to blame, The New York Times knows that, you know that, I know that but sadly they’ve sacrificed what could have been an authentic piece of journalism about an authentic tragedy that our country will mourn for months to come.

Once a beacon of real, hard hitting reporting, The New York Times has showed themselves up to be nothing more than a pretentious man’s Daily Mail. I’ll take Fintan O’Toole at The Irish Times any day, thanks.