Newstalk This Morning

Well that was a novel experience. I said more or less everything I wanted to this morning, but if I may, a few final observations:

I didn’t pay very much attention to the original “Waters hates blogs” kerfuffle, and decided to appear on the show after being invited by Newstalk. I found the station’s build-up to the show a bit embarassing, suggesting as it did that I was presuming to ride to the rescue of my fellow bloggers, who are well able to take care of themselves.

Sometimes in argument, I can get a bit too vehement, and there may have been a little of that this morning. However, I can’t say I’m especially bothered by it. I arrived ready to be relaxed and friendly, but it was clear that Mr. Waters wanted more than a bit of knockabout radio fun. He was not simply being mischievous but was, as Copernicus suggested to me, “playing for keepsies”. So sod it, no regrets for any touch of agression I might have shown.

Mr. Waters cannot be accused of lacking a coherent world view. All of his obsessions are ultimately of a piece (hence his playing for keepsies). This became clear when he mentioned The Sibling Society by “Men’s Movement” guru, Robert Bly. In that book, Bly, like Waters, bemoans the breakdown of hierarchy, and is saddened by a world where all people are equal. I pointed out this morning that Mr. Waters’ real problem is that he misses the old days when people thought what they were told to think, but didn’t add the all-important words “by men”.

“How can you prove a well known fact?” is a great new catchphrase, and prompted the only other bit of self-censorship of the morning, when for politeness’ sake I decided not to reply that proving well-known facts is quite easy; it’s the ones you pull out of your ass that are hard to prove.

Now let’s forget all about this.


  • An Fear Bolg says:

    Well done for challenging him on his fact checking – he crumbled there.

    While he has a vague point, he ruins it by tarring everything with the same feather and – worst of all – by drawing any form of link between blogging (a medium) and the suicides in the UK which, so far as I know, may not be specifically internet-related.

    I liked where he went on about journalistic codes, standards, etc. This is true, but what about his famous Katy French column? This was an example, for me, of exactly the kind of emotive, word-dump rubbish that often crops up on mediocre blogs.

  • well done Feargal, very impressive

  • I hope you’re happy with yourself now, Fergal. You’ve just slain Ireland’s last dinosaur.

  • Feck it, you went all Rumpole of the Bailey meets Johnny Adair on him at the end… pushing the ridiculousness of his logic and sham-facts to breaking point in a charming and friendly way, with just a hint of menacing agression. Balanced I’d say.

    Some quotes about the welsh suicide issues can be found here

    “While media speculation focused on the role of social networking Internet sites in linking the dead youths, coroner Philip Walters said he had found no such connection.”


    “”You can’t link any of the deaths to these Web sites,” he [the coroner] said. “There was no mention of them in any of the inquests that have already taken place.”

    Facts checked. An Arse/elbow identification issue for Mr Waters I fear.

  • Well done, Fergal. But the main contest seemed to be could talk faster, you or Mr Waters, and that was a dead heat.

    As for the essence of the debate, Mr Waters was surely being tongue-in-cheek. He cannot really believe that there is something sinister about people have free rein to express their views in public? Or that there is virtue in regulation? Can he? Can he? Now that really would be sinister!

    Incidentally, he is wrong when he infers that conventional media check their facts and bloggers don’t. If there is one thing that distinguishes blogs, it is the assiduous use of hyperlinks to back up what is being propounded, a practice unknown in print, radio and TV.

  • Bugger it, my comments on the last post were meant to be here. Ah well.

  • Fergal says:

    It’s my absolute conviction that he’s not remotely tongue-in-cheek. His manner this morning suggested that he genuinely believes that the internet (he doesn’t really distinguish between blogs and the web as a whole) is poisoning the world.

  • Well done! You did a great job of representing we bloggers, especially those of us who genuinely strive to be thoughtful and measured in our comments and posts. I don’t – I write shaggy sheep stories mostly, but I do comment on topical blogs a fair bit and feel extraordinarily lucky to engage with the thoughts and opinions of many, many smart people I might never otherwise have met.

    Of course there are troglodytes out there. There are troglodytes working in every medium. The thing is, troglodytes vote too and I reckon we’re as well knowing what’s on their minds – fore-warned being fore-armed, at the very least.

    Thanks again. You disproved every single thing he had to say about blogging by showing up and articulating beautifully why he’s talking such utter shite.

  • Celtictigger says:

    OK table quiz fans, who is the Nobel Prize winner who Fergal couldn’t name…

    Answer… Elfriede Jelinek (her blog book – I REFUSE to use the term blook) can be found here:

  • McAWilliams says:

    Poor old John, you handled the situation very very well. His first minute of debate was so badly prepared he did not stand a chance of winning his argument. I also enjoyed the way he was so carefull not to mention how stupid we all are on a few occasions even stopping in mid sentance to correct himself.

    Well done again in handling the situation like a grown up and doing it so well.

  • steve white says:

    well done you actually underplayed blogs,

  • Karl Hungus says:

    I have to say, well done to you, I think you utterly dashed his weak arguments and exposed him for the self-important idiot he is.

  • Gamma Goblin says:

    Well done Fergal! It was fantastic to hear such clear and articulate arguments put against the narrow minded jibberish from a so called “journalist” paid for his opinions.

  • Chekov says:

    Shame to have missed this. Incidentally, the reason that Waters hates blogs is because that is the only channel through which he learns what people think of him. The life of a columnist is pretty much feedback-free with the exception of the odd bit of sycophancy and one’s imagination can create whatever grandiose impression of oneself that one wants.

    His problem is that he is choosing to believe his imagination over what he reads and hence he must blame the medium.

  • Chekov says:

    Just listened to it now. OMG – how you didn’t just start calling him names I don’t know. I particularly loved the “you just made that up didn’t you” – and his response “how do you back up statistics other than to say what’s in the public arena”.

  • […] all a-flutter from last week’s Newstalk appearance, I will be on Shannonside Radio’s Joe Finnegan Show tomorrow morning at 10am-ish, talking […]

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