The media and democracy

 

Sir, – You are correct to point out in “Trivialising Trumpism” (Editorial, July 5th) the importance of the news media in a democracy, and also its shortcomings. The Taoiseach certainly went too far in approaching Donald Trump’s position of criticisms of the news media. Mr Varadkar, and all elected leaders, should have a plaque installed on their work desk inscribed with the words of Thomas Jefferson: “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Any official in a democracy who fails to condemn the labelling of the news media as an “enemy” is offering support for an opinion that is a threat to democracy. – Yours, etc,

DAN DONOVAN,

Dungarvan,

Co Waterford.

A chara, – While the goldfish-bowl spat between politicians and journalists has been amusing, what should seriously concern both is that they are consistently regarded by the public as the two least-trustworthy professions. Somewhat below bankers, estate agents and lawyers, and considerably below “the man on the street”. Journalists, in particular, need to consider the causes and implications of this, rather than behave as if they are terribly offended when their integrity is even vaguely, let alone reasonably, questioned.

Leo Varadkar, at least, has the defence that he is also a medical doctor. Doctors are, in the public eye, second in terms of trustworthiness only to nurses. – Is mise,

DAVE SLATER,

Kilkea,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – If the press can attack a politician, surely it is only fair that a politician can attack the press. After all, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. – Yours, etc,

GRAEME GUTHRIE,

Westport,

Co Mayo.

Sir, – Your editorial in relation to the Taoiseach’s comments is depressingly predictable. You assert, inter alia, that the media here is “richly diverse”. The media may well be diverse when scored against a politically correct checklist for gender, sexual orientation, etc.

However, in the key area of balanced approach there is scant diversity. The group- think which so characterises the Irish media and results in uncritical reporting of left/liberal issues renders it about as richly diverse as a military parade in North Korea. – Yours, etc,

DAVID FitzGERALD,

Goatstown,

Dublin 14.