Irish immigrant’s suicide exposes all that’s wrong with online media


The possibility (no matter how conspicuously self-important it is) that Gaffney went home, turned on his computer or phone, and couldn’t deal with what he saw written about himself – it’s there and it can’t be ignored.

And I think some of us in the media are feeling a bit guilty.

There have already been comments about The Age’s initial article and how its blatant racial stereotyping of Gaffney as an Irishman is indicative of a much larger problem in the Australian media.


That might be true, but what about the rest of us who hastily moved to delete or edit our stories?


Soon after news of Gaffney’s death broke, deleted its coverage entirely (the old link currently directs to a 404 error).

The Australian Irish Echo removed its first article about Gaffney’s “drunken escapade,” publishing instead a “Tragic postscript to flood damage court case.”

It could be argued that this was the right thing to do out of sensitivity for Gaffney’s family, and maybe it was. But it was also cowardly; a quick escape from taking ownership.