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The Newspapers

  • Ciarán Michael Casey
Chapter

Abstract

The commentary on the Irish economy and economic policy in the newspapers during the boom has received more academic attention than the subjects of the other chapters. There are three publications based on a series of interviews that a group of academics from Dublin City University (DCU) conducted with journalists from the period. Furthermore, Julien Mercille from University College Dublin (UCD) has published an article arguing that the newspapers intentionally talked up the property boom to promote the interests of their owners and managers (Julien Mercille, ‘The Role of the Media in Sustaining Ireland’s Housing Boom’, New Political Economy, vol. 9, no. 2 (2014), 282–301). This chapter first argues against the Mercille thesis, arguing that the purchase of large property websites by the two main broadsheet newspapers in 2006 strongly suggests that newspaper owners were genuinely convinced that the property market would remain robust. The chapter then offers a competing explanation for why the newspapers were unduly sanguine about the boom. Both The Irish Times and The Irish Independent were enormously reliant on outside experts to provide analysis, both in comment pieces and as sources. This almost certainly emanated from the economic realities of running a newspaper rather than any intentional bad faith. However, economists from the organisations most closely tied to the property sector had an explicit incentive to shape the debate. It was also highly unlikely that they would ever warn of an impending crash. The chapter empirically demonstrates that these sources dominated the economics sections of the newspapers. It contrasts the performance of the Irish newspapers with The Economist, which consistently warned of a property market crisis in countries including Ireland from as early as 2002. The crucial distinction was the level of internal expertise (and attendant self-confidence) that The Economist enjoyed. As a weekly publication with a much broader remit, it also considered the Irish economy far less frequently, allowing for a much more considered and consistent message.

Keywords

Mass media Newspapers Economic analysis Property boom 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ciarán Michael Casey
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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