Internet Killed the Television Star

Bogusz Skrzyszewski

One may suspect, that since the growth in popularity of internet (with its wide range of easily available and accessible) information pools, as well as ever-decreasing interest in (less and less relevant, thus until recently,) mainstream media in Ireland, some sort of a deal occurred between the state and the media; where an agreement was made for the media to propagandize and do PR stunts in alignment with state wishes in return for funds acquired by TV licensing fees. We don't have to look far to find substantial evidence of state media doing PR (public relations) stunts to raise support numbers for state actors in Ireland. During the coronavirus lockdown the Minister of Health in Ireland, Simon Harris, deemed the Easter Bunny an essential worker in a tweet, soon followed by a plethora of articles and news bites, some going as far as praising Harris as well as Leo Varadkar (the prime minister in Ireland, referred to by title 'Taoiseach') and their hard work in assuring Easter Egg delivery to save the children of Eire from disappointment. "What a farce" you may say, yet, this is simply but one example of the Irish lamestream media acting in tandem with the state, instead of standing independently in truth and bringing attention to real issues, so those may be taken care of. Isn't such the duty of a journalist? While the task of a reporter is to bring us clear facts and not manipulated stories, which shift the perception of the public in accordance with some corporate agenda. The trend of Irish media servitude to the state has revealed itself again two months later, when a video of the prime minister's speech, from June 5th, followed by a viewer pulling out his phone to show how part of the speech repeats a scene from movie Lord of the Rings verbatim, went viral on social media and other internet platforms of communication. Irish media quickly came to the rescue and called the mishap a quotation. Why not plagiarism..? Let's look at this closer. The hawk eyes of culturally savvy people caught the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, "quoting" Winston Churchill on March 17th, movie Terminator on March 27th, the song "All my friends" by Dermot Kennedy on April 1st and the earlier mentioned Lord of the Rings in by now, infamously viral speech on June 5, 2020. The media soon followed up with a PR damage control, when Sean Astin of the Lord of the Rings cast has said on 2FM videocast, that he bets "50 quid" the prime minister couldn't fit a quote from movie Mean Girls into the next speech. Which of course was done and instantly covered in puff pieces by the lapdog media outlets. The Irish Times went as far as calling this fiasco pop-culture, referencing in an article published on their website with video reel that presents plagiarized speeches together with an actual quotation in a speech from 10th of April when Varadkar used Seamus Heaney's poem and before reading the quote states the name of the author and says "as he wrote." We shouldn't be too critical and consider the non-verbatim quotes of Winston Churchill, Dermot Kennedy and a scene from the movie Terminator nothing more but mere inspiration drawn from those sources. In the case of the June 5th speech, that became infamous only because of the viral internet video, we must admit that it has revealed the Irish prime minister's speeches to be below the standard of college essays written by students in Universities worldwide, where the author of original must be referred to. We shouldn't assume, that Sean Astin who played the role of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings and whose lines the prime minister "quoted" is in on the PR stunt simply because he challenged the minister, but it is more than possible. What we can be sure of, is that coverage of this by the fake news media outlets as cultural savyness of the Taoiseach is nothing but a mere deflection from plagiarism and inability of the Irish prime minister to write his speeches that would authentically touch Irish people’s hearts and using words of others in a failed attempt to achieve this. Let us ponder, what is truly expected of a leader when it comes to speaking to his people in the time of crisis? Are concerned facial expressions and blatant plagiarism of movie quotes, by state media covered as cool "pop culture references" not a cruel joke and maybe even a shallow representation of what leadership and journalism mean? What kind of standard should be leaders held to? Should it not be higher than what we hold students to? We live in the shadows of former glory mysteriously hidden from our eyes by the sands of time. Those who do not feel it, nor commit to the understanding of its complexity fail to grasp its true meaning and don't act accordingly. Remember; to be open to learning and growing is to welcome the expansion of yourself with joy and as such is a sure path to greatness.
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