Irish Times Needs Better Sources

Prior to today’s announcements, the Irish Times were flagging the following:

Mr Noonan will make a “watershed” argument for a EU-wide solution around passing bank losses on to bondholders in response to the tests on Bank of Ireland, AIB, Irish Life and Permanent and EBS building society. Government colleagues last night described it as the first radical policy departure from the previous Fianna Fail-led government.

A few months ago, just prior to the announcement of the EU-IMF agreement, the Times had reported:

The source said there was a “common understanding” between delegations from the EU Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF that senior and junior bondholders should each pay a share of the rescue costs.

Two conclusions to draw from this. First, people shouldn’t pay much attention to the Irish Times reports on these matters. Second, the Times need better sources.

13 thoughts on “Irish Times Needs Better Sources”

  1. Thats fair enough.

    However they do far better job in their main competitors and make fewer mistakes on financial matters.

  2. We all tend to be wise as to how others should do their jobs.

    Most ‘sources’ tend not to be principal parties: Trichet or Stark are unlikely to brief the IT and then the nature of the news business is that we often see lots of speculation about speculation triggered by other outlets.

    If a principal source like Noonan told Stephen Collins on the qt that his plan would be ‘radical’ etc., should Collins report it as from a Government source?

    Punditry is punditry and the main issue for me would me that we could expect that the IT would not invent its own sources to add colour to its reporting.

    Anyway, any reader with common sense should add a pinch of salt to superlatives from political sources.

  3. In a nutshell our Gov’t cannot impose tax increases, reduced benefits, downsizing of the public service unless it can mollify the public by spreading the pain. We are a civilised country so we will not set up tribunals, two hour trials followed by public executions of the claques that wrecked the economy. The mantra for a Gov’t in the predicament that our Gov’t has been in for going on four years now is “Spread the pain as evenly as possible, nobody escapes.”

  4. Karl

    I think you might be too harsh. It was a simple couple of typos, nothing more.

    In corrected copy it should read:

    “Mr Noonan will make a “wasteland” argument for an EU solution around not passing bank losses on to bondholders in response to the tests on Bank of Ireland, AIB, Irish Life and Permanent and EBS building society. Government colleagues last night described it as the first radical policy reproduction of the previous Fianna Fail-led government.”

  5. You assume that the sources themselves were both junior and telling the truth – sadly there is no reason to believe that is the case…

  6. I’m wondering what happened to the radical medium-term liquidity scheme the ECB were hatching last week.

    The ECB was briefing journalists on Friday about all of this, saying there would be a major announcement on a system to replace the short-term ELA. It didn’t happen.

    I don’t think it’s the IT’s fault – it looks like something changed. But why?

  7. Those were careless pieces. Contrast that with an excellent piece by Dan O’Brien in today’s business section. Admittedly this is an opinion piece and not a “source” piece.

    I have to admit that I belonged to the school of thought, championed by Mr Snip, that the Euro, or rather our mismanagement of the Euro, is a big part in our downfall. Dan argues very persuasively, using graphs, that the figures do not support this theory. He also cites the incredible statistic that more than a dozen European countries have had to seek IMF bail outs. Two of these are in the EU but not the Euro and two are in the Euro. Kinda proves his point.

  8. The only person worth reading in the Irish Times was the beautiful and intelligent Sarah Carey, who sometimes posts here. Now the Irish Times has forced her out because the baying internet mob demanded her head, having found her guilty of transgressing Dublin 4 mores. No one outside Dublin 4, or who doesn’t read the Irish Times, gives a toss about what she did when she was 23. At that age, Gilmore and Rabbite were members of the political wing of a paramilitary outfit. You can spout godawful marxist babble week-in week-out in the Irish Times, as Messrs O’Toole and Browne do, and that is ok. But, Sarah gets the chop. I trust that she will be back as editor of the Irish Times, when it goes bust and Denis O’Brien has to bail it out.

  9. @ JohnTheOptimist

    Like Sarah Carey you don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. In 1995 she was 23 when she took up the Esat job (and no crime in that at all). The leak was made in 2003 (she would have been about 31) so she would have been about 31 when lying to the Tribunal.

    The Irish Times still comes out with silly mistakes. However, I think there has been an improvement since Dan O’Brien came on board.

  10. Being a “source” must be a great occupation.

    One can make huge socio-economic and financial mistakes but still be in demand. It seems to be almost as good as being a banker, I wonder if the perks and “performance bonuses” are as good.

  11. @ Karl

    I enjoyed the RTE This Week programme.

    Jane Suiter was pathetic (hence this post is on topic).

    Boyd Barret was predictably asking why the working man was bailing out speculators.

    Fascinating to hear Brian Hayes sound just like Lenny used to. Supports my theory that the only people who talk sense are those who have to actually make the decisions. Even Boyd Barret, if he were MOF, would change his tune.

    On your own contribution, I do think it is chidish to argue that the ECB funding thing is more their problem than ours. Asking them to forgive us some of the loan reminds of the Apres Match sketch where Lenny’s grand plan was that our creditors might forget that we owe them.

    But you did raise two challenging observations on the PCAR:

    No stressing of Irish Government Bonds. As you said, the CBI were hardly going to do that. But it almost raises the truism that if the sovereign is insolvent then no matter what it does, the banks are insolvent, not just because of the bonds issue but because the scenario which sees the sovereign default is a scenario much worse that that which was stressed. The markets do seem to think that things will be much worse than this stress.

    Secondly you point out that the CBI only used 3 year projections rather than Blackrock’s lifetime projections. I guess the point is that a stress test is a relative thing. The only absolute stress is that all risky assets are worthless. I presume the stress is strong by international standards.

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