On Wednesday, a commentary piece by media analyst Colum Kenny about the Irish press, Charlottesville and Donald Trump was posted on The Irish Times website.
It was trending for a time.
Then it was taken down.
Colum Kenny wrote:
Speaking in New York, at a combative press conference where he controversially renewed his claim that there was wrong on both sides involved in a street fight about a civil war statue of a Confederate general on a high horse at Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump was asked about chief executive officers leaving his advisory manufacturing council in protest.
He slammed them, saying, “they’re not taking their jobs seriously as it pertains to this country . . . If you look at Merck as an example, take a look at where their product is made. It’s made outside of our country. We want products made in the country . . . You can’t do it necessarily in Ireland and all of these other places. You have to bring this work back to this country.”
That a president of the US is singling out Ireland in response to lost US jobs is bad news. And it matters a lot more to Ireland than the details of a street fight in middle America. You would not think so from the relative media coverage here.
That street fight provides good self-righteous TV footage, easily and cheaply available, with cardboard cut-out bad guys in the form of Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members. Trump makes good copy.
He equivocated when it came to condemning those who perpetrated the worst violence at Charlottesville, but he voiced the reservations of many Americans when he claimed there had been violence on the other side, from a small number who reportedly came with baseball bats to confront a lawful, if odious, right-wing demonstration against the removal of a statue.
Trump is a sometimes odious and frightening president, but he was elected fairly under the American system.
Irish fascination with his antics is tinged by a certain air of superiority that leaves us open to accusations of hypocrisy.
We have, after all, attracted US jobs offshore by means of incentives that seem to have come to have no social bottom line.
We hide behind the shield of Nato without paying a penny for it, and cutely let the US buy facilities at Shannon while we take the neutral high ground.
And what of our own Civil War monuments?
We jettisoned various statues of Queen Victoria after independence, but what if we were to tear down monuments to those who rejected democracy in 1922 when most people accepted the Treaty, or various unofficial memorials to the later IRA? Would those opposing such iconography be dismissed as fascists?
Donald Trump has no monopoly on ambivalence.
The commentary piece can be read in full here
Pics; Irish Times