THE PERSISTENT MEDIA PORTRAYL OF THE YOUTH OF IRELAND AS THE MAIN ANTAGONISTS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

06-May-20

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the youth of Ireland got a lot of bad press. The vast majority of media coverage during the pandemic around Irish teenagers portrayed them in a negative light. While I agree that some of the actions taken were horrendous, many of the articles published lacked journalistic integrity and contained bias which does nothing to help apart from generate fear.

One article, published by The Irish Sun, is a prime example of this. It portrays the writer as a kind of saint, talking about how his only company is ‘four walls, Netflix, and internet radio’. The writer thinks of themselves as brilliant to society, showing their love for society with the statement ‘But my reasons for adhering to the public health advice go beyond self-interest’.

A lot of his article focuses on the case of Cody Pfister, a United States national who was charged with terrorism offences for licking a toilet roll in Walmart. He portrays this 26-year-old (not a teenager) as the symbol of all teenagers, those who he describes as ‘Enemies of the Nation’. While I agree that he is a vile specimen of humanity, I do not agree with the writer’s use of him as a description for all teenagers. He is not a teenager himself, yet he is being used as an example of what all teenagers must be like. He also references a case where Minister Simon Harris TD was coughed on by a ‘boy’ and a ‘girl’. They were in their thirties. Yet the writer ignores this fact, furthering his tyrannical blackening of all teenagers. They have been referenced as teenagers on bias by other publications, many of whom have had to issue apologies.

He tries to further his point by referencing the teenagers that walk around, describing them as ‘rabid’ and ‘immune to the message our government and health authorities have been trying to hammer home for two weeks now’. Has he stopped to think that they might in fact be following the guidance, that they could be going to the shop for their cocooning parents, they could be picking up medications for a terminally ill grandparent? He has not.

Many other media have also had bias. One RTE report featured older people walking in groups on Howth Hill giving out about groups of younger people walking in groups on Howth Hill. While the younger people should not have been walking in groups on Howth Hill, the older people walking in groups on Howth Hill have no right to chastise others who are doing the exact same as they are.

This biased portrayal of teenagers was a disgrace and should never have happened.

By Harry Nolan

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