Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Never in the field of tabloid hackery has a reporter stooped so low for so little

Admittedly, I’ve seen sleazier tabloid stories in my time. (The Sunday Express’ Dunblane massacre survivors hit job is the absolute nadir.) But what’s really remarkable about this piece, by Irish Daily Mirror “showbiz” correspondent Paul Martin, is how low the reporter is willing to go for so very little. This was Tuesday’s front page news story:

Gerry Ryan’s girlfriend Melanie Verwoerd wrote touching words of love in a card for his last birthday before he died aged 53.

It was among personal items belonging to the tragic DJ which were passed to the Irish Daily Mirror after being found in a rubbish dump.

Basically, the Irish Daily Mirror has taken it upon itself to publish, over two pages, a selection of private, hand-written birthday, Valentine’s and Father’s Day cards belonging to the late Gerry Ryan, which were apparently recovered from a dump. The Father’s Day card is signed by his ten year old daughter.

Now I lost my father prematurely. So I know that, a month after his death, Gerry Ryan’s children are likely still in a state of complete shock. To imagine, therefore, that publishing private correspondence written to their father in happier times – and presumably not seen by them since – in a national newspaper, will do anything other than add to the trauma they’re enduring is as imbecilic as it is irresponsible.

People talk about gutter journalism. This is rubbish tip journalism.

And for what? Sex? Scandal? Controversy? There isn’t even a story here. These are the mundane personal effects of a recently deceased middle aged man. There’s no defending what the Irish Daily Mirror has done. Honestly, I doubt anyone would even try to. But, as with this vile Ian O’Doherty piece published in Independent back in April, there’s hardly been a word of protest about it either.

I often joke with my friends that the Dublin Gardai should have “We’d love to help, but there’s really nothing we can do” translated into Latin and sewn into their insignia. Sadly, the same applies to the rest of us too. We’re a nation of moaners. But we seem completely incapable of differentiating between the things we are powerless to change (the Irish weather, Thierry Henry being a cheating bastard etc.) and the things we could change if we bothered our arses (corrupt politics, scumbag journalism etc.)

It’s our most irritating national characteristic without a shadow of a doubt. But sure what are you going to do?

June 3rd, 2010.

20 Responses to “Never in the field of tabloid hackery has a reporter stooped so low for so little”

  1. Tweets that mention Never in the field of tabloid hackery has a reporter stooped so low for so little | Tripping Along The Ledge -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul Duane, Eoin Butler. Eoin Butler said: Never in the field of tabloid hackery has a reporter stooped so low for so little: Admittedly, I’ve seen sleazier… http://bit.ly/cjXGys […]

  2. Iced tea Says:

    Don’t hate the playa hate the game. [edit]

  3. Chris Says:

    Not trying to pull a sob story here but I lost my father about 3 months ago and if I saws something like this even after these few months I would still be pretty upset. The happier memories upset you more than the sad because you know they won’t happen again, so this will undoubtedly add to the anger they probably feel for the media already.

  4. Steve Says:

    Well, I have to say…. I am in a unique position here. I have the misfortune of seeing and hearing the “showbiz correspondent” in question in the halls of my workplace from time to time. I also tend to enjoy the odd cup of coffee or ice cold water. I can also be seen carrying my beverage along the very same halls, where said showbiz correspondent sometimes sits waiting to go on air and drop some showbiz bombs on the nation. Anyone see where I’m going with this. Charlie Chaplin slapstick moment ahoy! I’ll offer it up to the comedy gods…..and the young Ryan kid. Anyone think of any reason i shouldn’t make the effort, I mean after all, in this case….I CAN do something about it….right?

    And careful don’t get us all started on that clown from the independent again eoin!

  5. Eoin Says:

    Chris – Really sorry to hear that. Obviously you can see where I’m coming from then.

    Steve – “after all, in this case….I CAN do something about it…right?”

    Well, you could certainly get yourself fired for starters! Seriously though, let’s not get personal about any one journalist.

  6. Colin Says:

    Usual tabloid setup where they say something innnocent and ordinary in the headline then stick the knife in with the byline. And then twist it to make the story salacious where absolutely nothing newsworthy happened.

    How did they get these anyway? Somebody who was rummaging looking for credit card details or to initiate identity theft? Or just the usual scavanging that tabloids do on celebrity bins hoping to find a few usable scraps?

    And of course they HAD to spread this story across several pages…

  7. Steve Says:

    I conceed that my suggested accident scenario is a little juvenile, but I am as incensed about this kind of “scoop” stuff as much as the next man. Lets hope karma spills it’s own ice cold water in his lap at some point, or better yet, he grows some kind of conscience over the course of his career.

  8. Eoin Says:

    Apparently the person who came across them happened to be an Irish Daily Mirror reader and contacted the paper.

  9. Eoin Says:

    @ Steve – I know some of these tabloid guys (by the sounds of it you probably do too.) They’re lovely guys to have a pint with but, when it comes to this sort of stuff, they’re just wired differently to the rest of us.

    Having said that, I did read a few weeks ago about a clamper who quit his job after having a crisis of conscience – so who knows?

  10. gueuleton Says:

    They should make that their new slogan “Ireland’s number 1 newspaper with people who trawl through other people’s rubbish!”

  11. Darragh Says:

    Cripes, WTF, etc… I’m writing them a strongly worded letter for what it’s worth.

  12. Chris Says:

    @Steve and @ Darragh – Could you please deliver Darraghs strongly worded letter directly to his desk?

  13. Eoin Says:

    @ gueleton – I believe that’s known as the XYZ1 demographic

  14. Darragh Says:

    Letter written and posted. No expletives but plenty of strong words.

  15. Deirdre Says:

    Need to be careful there Eoin… Highlighting low standards. Unforgiveable.

  16. Eoin Says:

    Wow, I wasn’t sure if you were serious or not. I’m impressed Darragh. Let us know if you get any response, will you?

  17. Wiggam Says:

    “the Dublin Gardai should have “We’d love to help, but there’s really nothing we can do” translated into Latin and sewn into their insignia” — lol maybe with a donut logo.

  18. Nick Says:

    Dear Eoin,
    Apropos of terrible journalists; if you see her, could you please let Rosin Ingle know that she is not the first woman in the history of the universe to bear a child.

  19. Eoin Says:

    Hey Nick. I passed on your feedback. She said fuck you and fuck your mother. I said, come on, be reasonable here. She swung at me with a broken bottle. True story.

  20. Don Says:

    Why are people actually reading tabloids? If people stopped buying them, then they would go out of business. It is quite simple!

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