Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No, and only No to Lisbon

Sarah Carey says we shouldn't let Rupert Murdoch decide Ireland's future. I guess I agree, if Murdoch is deciding Ireland's future. I'm not sure I believe he is, however.

What bothers me about Carey's headline grabbing thesis is that it distracts from what I think is a decent thesis in her column: that the Sunday Times should have published a pro-Lisbon column by her or by someone, but they had a policy of 'no pro-Lisbon comment' in the paper. Carey assumes that Murdoch is anti-Lisbon thanks to his "well known pro-US-hawkish views" and this is why the paper pursued such a policy.

Again, why does being pro-US mean being anti-Lisbon? Truth is, the American in me feels that the Lisbon Treaty is just what the EU deserves, but the fact that I'm an Irish citizen too and a resident of Ireland makes me more skeptical about the merits of the Lisbon Treaty.

Here's another theory on why the Sunday Times may have adopted the policy it did: it might have sold more papers. When others were selling confusion, the Sunday Times was selling clarity. And, given the level of confusion about Lisbon maybe customers were happy to get a steady diet of negative comment (propaganda?).

Other Sunday papers were providing a basically pro-Lisbon agenda, but with varying degrees of anti-Lisbon comment sprinkled in. The Sunday Times may have thought there was an opening in the market for a simpler message. I don't know, but it's possible.

Carey's column is pretty damning of the Sunday Times and Irish editor Frank Fitzgibbon, but she distracts from this by pointing the finger at every leftist's favorite media boogie man - Rupert Murdoch.

{I want to add that I don't know enough of Carey's views to know if she's a leftist or not. She should just have written the column without bringing Murdoch into it.}

UPDATE: Nov 21, 9am: Roy Greenslide agrees that Murdoch was probably not personally involved in the Sunday Times's Lisbon policy.