NYT Pigeons Passage Has Irish TV Host in a Flap

One major correction has already been added to the bottom of Liz Alderman’s New York Times story about the current hardships faced by many Ireland residents. But RTE TV and radio host Ryan Tubridy would like to see things taken further with regards to another portion of the feature article.


The passage in question reads as follows:

In the suburb of Shankill where John Donovan, 55, lives, the [Dublin] economic hubbub is absent. Many of his neighbors are barely scraping by. He moved into his mother’s small cottage after his hardware supply business buckled during the crisis. With his scant savings eroded, he shoots pigeons for food and grills them outdoors to reduce his gas and grocery bills. “I do that just to live,” he said.

First came a clarification from Donovan that the pigeons business was in the past, not present. Then, in the same paper – Ireland’s Independent – it was time for Tubridy’s RTE2 FM comments to be picked up:

“It’s a disappointing day for journalism, particularly for the New York Times,” Tubridy said. “They should hang their heads on this one for getting it so wrong and embarrassing us as a nation.”

He described the piece as “unforgivable journalism” and said the writer should be brought before some form of media regulator. He believed the article could be damaging to Ireland’s reputation.

Donovan told the Independent that Alderman had “sensationalized” his struggles. He said that the combination of business troubles, an expensive separation and medical bills led him to sell his late mother’s five-bedroom home and hunt-fish in the winter of 2010 to keep food costs down. But that he has since turned the corner and found new employment. Read the rest of Alderman’s article here.

[H/T: irishcentral.com]

Update (December 17):
The New York Times has issued the following statement to Ireland’s Independent:

This story highlights the social consequences of what many Irish citizens and the Irish government itself has long pointed out, which is that austerity policies can have a negative social effect on a part of the population.

While Ireland is turning a corner, there are still people being left behind. The article is extremely well-reported and states that “Ireland is being held up as nothing less than a symbol for recovery” while other European countries are struggling to exit their bailouts.