One of the main issues surrounding the OCI ticket touting scandal is not whether Pat Hickey is guilty or innocent; the issue is the contrast between how a member of the establishment is portrayed and treated by the media, compared to ordinary people. How Hickey has been portrayed contrasts starkly when compared particularly with the “Jobstown 24” who have been invariably vilified in the mainstream media, whereas the media’s focus in relation to Hickey has been the allegedly harsh treatment of him by the Brazilian authorities, and that he is an old and apparently unwell man. The story highlights what Chomsky might describe as “worthy and unworthy victims” and it is based on classism. The media does this almost instinctively.
The media and Government were content to let a young Irish citizen, Ibrahim Halawa, rot in Egyptian jail, without having faced trial, almost certainly tortured, and would not have raised it had it not been for the campaigning of ordinary people on his behalf. Still no front page stories for Ibrahim though.