Una Mullally: Why are Irish journalists again missing a movement?
Media appears unable to interpret political movements formed outside traditional party structures
For and against: Placards regarding the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment hanging in Dublin city centre. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
We are at that moment in a referendum campaign where stories, takes, and points of view need to be generated as commentary. Some will be insightful, others less so. Some will be deliberately provocative, some will be more concentrated on facts. Some will fulfil the most tedious trope in journalism, where criticism will be levelled at a campaign by those who substitute expertise and experience for a “hunch”.
There are more than two opposing campaigns under way, of course, multiple campaigns – particularly on the pro-repeal side – emerging from grassroots activism and active citizenship. As the media narratives weave themselves in knots, what I find especially interesting is how this referendum campaign is frequently compared to the marriage equality referendum campaign. Generally, this comparison follows two narratives.