Government’s media strategy keeps public eye off NAMA

If I was asked to sum up the one definitive power the Government / Cabinet holds over all others, it is the power to set the national agenda. And events over the past two weeks only go to prove this.

As the NAMA debate raged in the Dáil chamber, the FF/Green coalition’s diversionary media strategy swung into action with Noel Dempsey’s proposals to bring Irish alcohol/blood ratios in line with our European counterparts causing apoplexy among who?  Why government-supporting Fianna Fáil backbenchers, of course.

The Dublin-based media intelligentsia had a right snort at the mutterings of Mattie McGrath and Jackie Healy Rae and devoted oceans of space across both print and broadcast media alike. Somewhere in the backwoods, the NAMA debate raged but was mainly confined to the inner sanctums of the broadsheet pages.

The success of this diversionary tactic has now been overtaken by a type of phoney war that has broken out between the public and private sector which is actively urged on by the Government and a selection of journalists and in particular, by certain overpaid current affairs show presenters in our State-funded broadcaster.

Under pressure from a beleaguered, stressed and worried rank and file membership, the overpaid union leaders, once card-carrying members of the elite Social Partnership club who receive automatic gilt-edged dinner invitations to all State banquets, are pressurized to march their members up the hill, presumably with one finger crossed and one hand tied behind their backs.

Government Ministers including Green Party Ministers, who have totally embraced the suspect economic orthodoxy that is NAMA and bought into the Government’s strategy following their endorsement of the PfG, read from bland but well-prepared and circulated briefing notes uttering in reasonable and measured tones that ‘marching is a democratic right but there is no alternative’.

In the midst of this media storm, the NAMA train coming down the line, has very quietly and deftly left the station.

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