It’s often said that a really good journalist has few if any friends. That may be especially true in the case of the columnist whose business lies in the fusion of reportage with analysis and opinion.
John Waters of the Irish Times has annoyed many people – particularly other journalists. He has observed journalism in all Irish media and has detected the emergence over the years of what he analyses as a left/liberal bias. Waters does not accuse Irish media professionals of deliberate distortion in their reportage. Rather he perceives a broadly liberal and leftward agenda stemming from roughly similar backgrounds and education. The bias flows from a complex set of circumstances and may be quite unconscious.
Although complete consensus on all matters may be rare among journalists there is, nevertheless, a kind of comfort zone coupled with an agenda that many journalists operate in. Waters says news organisations need to be gatekeepers who impose a vigorous balance on their reportage. But striving to maintain a balance can be hard work. He explained his criticisms to Paul Loughlin.