This letter was printed in the Sunday independent on 3rd Jan.
Not so much a defence of Cowen but a comment on the interviewer.
The indo carried a full page interview with An Taoiseach in which Brian Cowen to be fair was very straight talking and came across as a very human, modest, team-building type of manager. The sort who would probably be a safe pair of hands in any organisation. I happen to believe that his pace of decision making has been too slow for the gravity of situation the country has faced. I believe his responses to the horror and hypocrisy revealed by the Murphy report were far too lukewarm. I believe his ambivalence to the Corporate malgovernance at Anglo-Irish leaves a lot open to suspicion.BUT political journalists in this country have gotten far too opinionated in the last few years and scarcely disguise their partisan leanings at this stage. A fact that they collectively need to be challenged on.
This letter to the Sunday INdo hopefully does that...
I refer to Sunday Independent 27/12/09, analysis p29.
Jody Corcoran's feature analysis on Brian Cowen's toughest year was indeed revealing, not for its insight into Cowen's philosophy of power broking but for its explanation of how a political journalist, such as Jody Corcoran, feels a politician should or shouldnt use the media.
Corcoran cites Cowen's leadership style as " the antithesis of grandstanding" and puts it to Cowen that maybe he should grandstand now and again " for effect".
Cowen replies that he leads as straight as he can and deals with "the substance of the issues and gets on with the job".
Corcoran's exasperation, evident through his line of questioning, seemed to be at Cowen's obliviousness to political spindoctoring, media impression and populist showman politics. I dont believe I have ever read a journalist ask (a politician) would behaving in a particular way not be better POLITICALLY for you?
Has the wheel of political journalism in this country come full circle? Since the advent of the printing press, media have criticised politicians in general for a lack of sincerity and conviction. Is Cowen now being criticised for NOT playing the game, not grandstanding, not spindoctoring?
Readers, voters, the public at large have a choice. Listen to or read what the man Cowen says and does. Or rely on the interpretation of an exasperated professional media needing a media friendly, impression-managed Taoiseach to suit their presentation of events.
Cowen may be his own worst enemy in the game of words and images, but he is nothing if not consistent. Remember the triumphant return to Clara after the Taoiseach's appointment? What was the song he sang on the back of the flatbed truck? "I did it my way"!