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Posts Tagged ‘Pancreatic Cancer’

On December 26 TV3 announced that Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  Mercilessly, they delivered the news, in one of the most insensitive broadcasts I have ever seen.

The seven minute broadcast aired on St Stephen’s day ended as it started – as a tactless piece of news journalism. TV3 said they received the story on Christmas Eve, and held back on running it for 48 hours out of respect for his family. But the hurried nature of the broadcast and its insensitivity failed in doing so.

Ursula Halligan splutters her way through a rushed bulletin, referring to Mr Lenihan in the past tense saying: “It’s shocking news for members of the public. Brian Lenihan was, eh, is regarded as one of the more popular members of the Government.”

  • TV3 had no official statement from the Government certifying Mr Lenihan’s illness.
  • Their aim was to be first, thus losing any credibility the station already had.
  • Had a more constructed bulletin been put in place, TV3 would not be in the firing line.
  • Furthermore, being of the public interest it would have made sense  – ethically speaking –  to run the story stating his  illness was unconfirmed.

Journalists were told that a statement would be made after Christmas and the Department of Finance confirmed nothing. The next thing was an e-mail began circulating around media outlets that TV3 were about to air a story of ‘National importance’. The broadcast continues as news anchor Collette Fitzpatrick asks Miss Halligan live on air: “is it too early to talk about the political consequences of this?”

In the 48 hours of keeping the lid on the story , care sensitivity and clarification should have been adapted to the nature of broadcast.

Countries toughest job

As Minister for Finance Mr Lenihan has without doubt the Countries toughest job.  Now more  so than ever Ireland relies heavily on his decisions to secure the economic wellbeing of  the state. I agree that the news should have been delivered.  But, not in the tasteless fashion of TV3. After all TV3’s defence was that the story was in the public interest, a statement I do not dispute. The fashion and the nature of the broadcast was my only gripe with this broadcast.

Blinded by the knowledge that this is this is the scoop to beat all scoopsthey failed  in realising that this broadcast reeked of merciless journalism.

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