Clarification on the Jobstown “Riot” as reported by Irish Independent
On Saturday evening the Irish Independent published a story online depicting the protest in Jobstown as a riot, and to illustrate this they published a picture of a teenager throwing a brick at a Garda car. In their hurry to put the story out they used a single photograph that, to everyone on the internet when saw it, looked like a badly photoshopped fake, and it set the internet and complaints line alight. The firefighting exercise started that very night.
However we are happy to report that the Independent assured us over the weekend that this was not the case and subsequently changed their online story using different photos, and for good measure another paper in their news group published raw video footage of of the incident. Subsequently we are happy to remove our original story. We are pleased that they have put out the full corroboration as it reassures us that our media have not sunk to the depths of media in other countries who do use similar tactics; for instance here is just one of many, this one involving the BBC.
We hope the furore we were unwittingly part of on Saturday night highlights to the media that they must be more careful with their selection of content when they publish stories like this, especially in this time of 24/7 news and the constant rush to get stories published. We imagine that someone in the Indo got a slapped wrist for that lack of judgement in this tech savvy world.
….. and it is a big however…
Although the photo is from a real event it does not negate the propaganda element of the published story, even in the rewritten version, which does not represent the day’s peaceful events. The article tries to represent the protest as a riot, it was not. They used the following caption under the offending photo (now omitted) which they place right at the top of their story:
“A rioter throws a brick at a garda car during a Anti Water charges demonstration in Jobestown yesterday”
Saying “a rioter” gives the automatic impression that he is one of many. From our knowledge and experience of media we do not believe this is accidental and it deliberately misrepresents the entire protest as a violent mob.
This incident happened after the protest (which included a sit down protest which is not mentioned) when the protesters had mostly moved off, and after the Gardai had sent in the riot squad; which begs the question of inflaming tensions and causality. The incident was the solitary act of one stupid teenage individual who was not part of an organised protest group. DDI, like the Right2Water campaign, abhor violence and hope this person is dealt with in accordance with the law by the Gardai. We also encourage water protesters to stay peaceful, root out agitators, and to remember that your real protest is not on the streets, it is in your peaceful non compliance with the charges.
We do believe however that some of the press are deliberately focusing on this to paint the protests as violent. The agenda seems to be to try to turn public opinion away and to deter families from attending protests so they are easier to deal with by more forceful policing. Nowhere in their article do they say “In an unrelated (or isolated) incident…”.; quite the opposite in fact, they built the whole story around arrests, hardly mentioning the legitimate protest that took place.
Just to clarify the Independent’s improper use of wording:
– in criminal law is a violent offense against public order involving three or more people. Like an unlawful assembly, a riot involves a gathering of persons for an illegal purpose. In contrast to an unlawful assembly, however, a riot involves violence.
This was one foolish kid after a thousand peaceful people had finished their protest and the Independent should retract these insinuations and make a separate report to repair the damage done to the Right2Water’s reputation.
This is not the first time this has happened. Only two weeks ago the paper published a ludicrous story claiming the water protests were infiltrated with what they call “dissidents”, a word that simply means “disagreeing”, but a word the media have scandalised using it to insinuate violence, murder and bombings. To reinforce their point they printed a photo of a riot next to the headline, however the riot was actually going on in Brussels, not here.
This was not accidental either, it is a well researched sciuence called neuro-linguistic programming and is used in advertising, presentations and media, especially news. It causes the viewer to falsely associate completely unrelated things through clever wording, proximity or even colours. Here it was used to make the reader associate the water protests with murderous “dissident” [sic] terrorists and violent rioters.
We also had completely false reporting that 3 Gardai a day were being assaulted by water protesters and yet no evidence exists for these claims and no arrests have been made in 3 months of protests for assaulting Gardai. This again was an attempt at sabotage by parts of the media because any journalist worth his salt would always check his sources to make sure that story was provable. At the same time the media continually failed to report on the multiple assaults taking place daily by the other side of this dispute.
We call on the Press Council to investigate this apparent bias and breach of their codes of practice
Yes the media has a job to do and should report on incidents like this, but it appears there is an unbalanced agenda in certain parts of the press trying anything to discredit the water protests, while ignoring all evidence to the contrary.
Right2Water is a national peaceful movement and it will remain that way despite attempts by individuals to create havoc. We trust the Gardai will act in the correct manner in dealing with individual agitators, and not make the mistake of resorting to the unlawful use of force for collective punishment.
We take nothing for face value in the news and we will continue to be vigilant in our analysis. We have shown many times already how the truth is dressed up, concealed and re-worded for public consumption by politicians; and how those words are reported verbatim and without analysis by supportive media.
Our personal experience as DDI with has shown us how stories are edited down to create a pre-determined negative message from some quarters; it’s what we call news creation. We expect it now because we realise different media outlets have different political leanings. Our Ben Gilroy’s own experience with RTE, in which a 2 hour interview was edited down to 2 half sentences used out of context to create the impression of a lie that didn’t exist, is case in point and is subject to a future court action.
We will continue to look for the story behind every story and bring it to you. Eventually one of two things will happen; either the press start reporting the whole truth, or the people will stop reading the press. Let’s see which it will be.