Media Intrusion and Dunking the Biscuit
Niamh Horan’s encounter with Brian Cowen in Connemara took doorstep journalism to a different level.
Horan is the latest young journalist to be pedestalised by the Sunday Independent – flying the flag for what Eamon Dunphy once memorably described as the Duckworth School of Journalism.
Horan went down to Ballyconneely in Connemara to doorstep the Taoiseach on his holidays.
She managed to wangle her way into the mobile home next door to the one Cowen stays in, without telling the couple who invited her in that she was a journalist. Then Brian Cowen just happened to pop in to say hello. He had started his conversation and had even – she reported – dunked his biscuit into his tea and was already in the mid-conversation, when she declared herself to be a journalist.
Her faithful report of how a quite relaxing day for the Taoiseach “was about to become my lucky break” included a description of the soggy part of the biscuit falling to the floor in the long and dramatic pause of silence that followed her bombshell annuncement. It seems that coe-turling embarrassment is an emotion that has never entered planet Horan.
For his occasional gruffness, it’s not in Cowen’s nature to be rude. And stunned as he was by this gross invasion of his private family life, he was polite enough to adjust and answer a couple of questions.
There are a number of things about the interview that are deeply worrying. Besides the fact that the Sunday Independent ran it in the first place, Cowen’s request to her not to mention that he was staying where he was (presumably for security and privacy reasons) was completely and utterly ignored to allow for a clunky cheapshot comparison with Craggy Island.
But that bit that is truly hilarious is the following paragraph, Horan’s description of a question that she asked (seemingly without irony).
“I inquire about how he has been coping with the media intrusiton since he took on the high-profiole role in the country and it is easy to see he is still taking time to adjust.”
I can really sense the concern there, can’t you?
Now that really takes the biscuit, soggy or not.