BRIAN Cowen’s Morning Ireland interview has ‘tarnished’ Ireland’s reputation abroad.
Economist Jim Power from Friends First said last night that the country’s reputation was bad enough but the Taoiseach’s performance had made it worse.
He was talking as media analysis has revealed the story prompted more than 450 articles in 400 different publications in 26 countries around the world in the 15 hours immediately after the programme was aired.
The coverage appeared in many of the world’s most influential newspapers – such as The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times, The Guardian and The Times in London.
Power: ‘In the context of all the negative press Ireland has got over the last couple of years, our economic and financial reputation is in tatters.
‘We know about the collapse in the economy and the banking bail-out costs will be the largest ever recorded in a developed country.
‘Clearly our reputation has been seriously damaged on the economical and financial front
‘And that is reflected in the bond yields we are having to pay for our money at the moment.
‘So Ireland’s reputation is on the line very much at the moment
‘But a performance like (Brian Cowen’s Tuesday) – which has been clearly highlighted by the international media – will have further tarnished our image.
‘There is no doubt about that.’
He added: ‘It was just absolutely extraordinary.
’If you as an investor are going to invest in a company, the first you do is take a look at the quality of the management.
‘If you see the CEO of a company putting on that kind of a performance live on national radio, it would certainly question your investment intentions.
‘And it is no different for a country.’
International coverage was as widespread as it was embarrassing.
In all, some 457 articles had been published on Taoiseach Brian Cowen by midnight Tuesday.
These appeared in 26 countries around the world.
Research company O’Leary Analytics showed that in the 15 hours since the interview being aired on Morning Ireland the story appeared in 400 publications in countries such as the USA, UK, India and China.
On an average day, around 60 articles are published online mentioning Mr Cowen, and mostly relating to his political performances.
The Morning Ireland interviewed prompted an extraordinary spike in the coverage.
Tellingly, the research also looked at the effect of Simon Coveney’s tweet – which was re-tweeted 66 times.
The Fine Gael frontbench TD was not the first person to suggest Cowen was drunk or hung over.
While the interview was being aired, dozens of tweets were sent – questioning the Taoiseach’s performance and suggesting reasons why it was so bad.
These carried on for hours afterwards.
O’Leary Analytics concluded: ‘This research demonstrates that Irish political parties and Fianna Fáil specifically have failed to understand social media and it’s potential benefits and pitfalls.
‘That the Taoiseach could be unaware of an incendiary tweet from a member of the opposition front bench indicates that Fainna Fáil does not monitor social media.
‘Had the Taoiseach been aware of Deputy Coveney and others online comments about his early morning interview, he would surely have been prepared for questions from journalists as to whether he was drunk or hungover.”
Few FF politicians blamed the media for universally adverse coverage yesterday, with one admitting: ‘It had been coming a long time.
‘Cowen would be lucky to have a last chance to learn from it.’
But a member of the Government’s background team privately berated the media, saying it was they who were ‘dragging the country into the gutter’ by giving prominence to damaging charges.
He said he had children who had to grow up into this economy.