Irish Echo Online - Editorial

Irish Echo editorial: Pin-drop coverage of Cory

U.S. press coverage of the release of the Cory Report and other recent events in regard to the Northern Ireland peace process has been so scant that the average American would be forgiven for thinking that Ireland had slipped beneath the waves of the Atlantic.

Such an event, at least, would be expected to spawn a few headlines.

The death of innocent people as a result of law enforcement, and even top-level government collusion, would appear to be worthy of none.

With the honorable exception of the Boston Herald -- and if there are others we would be glad to hear of them -- the American press seems to have forgotten the Irish peace process during one of its admittedly many crisis moments.

The most commonly reported component of both the Troubles and peace process in recent days has been the IRA, but this only in the context of reports and editorials on the Madrid terror bombings.

The open discord between the U.S. State Department's Northern Ireland envoy, Dr. Mitchell Reiss, and Sinn Féin passed without note, this despite the fact that the argument was rooted in an op-ed page ad in the nation's most crucial newspaper of record, the New York Times.

The Times itself did not cover the row and it confined its reporting of the release of the Cory report to a single, inside-page paragraph.

The same day's paper carried a front-page report from London on new laws in Britain aimed at curbing antisocial behavior. It was an interesting story and doubtless made many readers envious of the British government's standing up for common civility. But it also stood in ironic contrast to the tiny account a few pages on that pointed to British government collusion in the murder of its own citizens.

Somebody at 43rd Street missed the bigger picture here.

But the malaise goes well beyond midtown Manhattan. E-mails to this paper and at least one Irish-American lobby group in recent days have pointed to an absence of noticeable coverage from coast to coast.

This may be entirely coincidental. But it also stands out as an absence in a nation that recently celebrated St. Patrick's Day in such lavish abundance.

At the beginning of this week, the annual list of Pulitzer Prizes was announced. It would be naïve to expect that reporting on Northern Ireland would somehow crop up in that exalted gallery at this stage.

It has been some years since the North has been sexy enough to attract the world's press in large numbers. But a story here and there on matters as crucial as life and death, and the more than serious allegations now being leveled at America's closest military ally, would appear to demand more than a few passing lines.

This story appeared in the issue of April 7-13, 2004

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