Why is no one talking about Donald Trump's visit to Ireland?
The former US President has been visiting his golf resort in Doonbeg this week, but received little-to-no media coverage.
Weeks after criticising incumbent US President Joe Biden's trip to Ireland, the deeply divisive political figure of Donald Trump has arrived on the Emerald Isle to spend time at his County Clare golf resort.
However, reminiscing on the recent visit of the man who bested Donald Trump in the 2020 US Presidential election, there is a definitive chasm in terms of allotted media coverage.
For the five days of his whistle-stop tour of Ireland, Mr. Biden dominated the national press, as he offered up quotes from the island's most celebrated poets and mentioned his pride in his 'cousin' Rob Kearney at every turn.
Conversely, the much-maligned Mr. Trump has received a paltry portrayal amongst Irish media, with such little coverage that one may not even know he was in the country.
But why is this the case? And is the Irish media in the wrong for its selective reporting?
Why Trump has received such little coverage:
The excuse that the entrepreneur-turned-politician is no longer the Commander-in-Chief is likely the Irish media's first port of call when it comes to defending their sparse coverage of Mr. Trump's visit.
However, that claim can quite easily be quashed when one looks back at the recent commemorations surrounding the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
Former US President Bill Clinton, along with his wife Hillary, arrived in Northern Ireland towards the tail end of festivities, and despite Mr. Clinton having left office over two decades ago, in 2001, he received much greater coverage than the likely 2024 Republican Presidential nominee.
Is the concerted effort to avoid reporting on Mr. Trump's visit one borne out of a moral or journalistic code of ethics? Unlikely.
Mr. Trump has endured his fair share of scandal and infamy, but so too have countless US Presidents and political figures before him. To again use Mr. Clinton as an example, our own Taoiseach fell into hot water for referencing his past transgressions on his St. Patrick's weekend visit to Washington D.C.
The answer is, of course, the media's new-found moral high-horse. And whilst it is admirable quality to only want to highlight those who make a purely positive impact on society, it is a futile pursuit.
If the media were to only report on political figures who solely benefited public life, then there would be no political coverage of any sort whatsoever.
The retort to this may be that Mr. Trump has committed a far greater deal of indiscretions than his political peers, but who are the media to decide what qualifies as an egregious political overreach?
Therefore, the decision to suppress the coverage of Donald Trump's visit is a slippery slope, with the media's job to report news, not to decide the news.
Furthermore, Mr. Trump's recent legal battles make the 76-year-old all the more newsworthy, in the wake of him becoming the first ever American President to be charged with a crime.
The local response:
Local residents of Doonbeg highlight the issue with actively choosing what political voices to amplify over another - everyone has a differing opinion.
Describing his golf resort as a "fantastic asset" for the area's economy, local residents clearly hold Mr. Trump in higher regard than the editorial boards of Irish media organisations.
Adding that the residual effects of Mr. Trump's hotel and holiday homes have brought a welcome economic boost to local businesses, residents have thanked the former US President for his role in bringing "real benefits" to the small Clare village.
Speaking to The Irish Times this week, local publican Tommy Tubridy stated that "If there was (a Trump resort) in every village in the west of Ireland, it would be fantastic", claiming that the previous tourism season has been tripled from three months to 10.
Also praising Mr. Trump's sons, Don and Eric, the publican described them as "very natural people who would sit down and have a chat with you".
Local Fianna Fáil councillor Gillian Murphy has also been quoted as saying that the importance of Mr. Trump's business to the local community cannot be overstated, calling it "crucially important to the economy of the West of Ireland".
Furthermore, these comments which come from ranging sectors of society, from publicans to politicians, succeed in conveying the polarity of politics, and why it is important to report on both sides of the divide.
Mr. Trump is perhaps the most schismatic political figure of our time, but we have experienced many who have run him close. On this island, we've seen the likes of Gerry Adams split opinion to an incredulous degree, and across the Irish Sea the mere utterance of Boris Johnson splits a room in two.
The media should not act as a filtration device for information, but rather seek to be the provider of it.
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