Thankfully, response to the New York Times’ implication that the victims were somehow at fault has been vocal. (The Times itself has acknowledged that the story was “insensitive.”)
Former Irish President Mary McAleese sent a letter to the Times, stating:
“Today in Ireland we are hanging our heads in shock and sorrow at the needless deaths of six of our brightest and best young adults and the serious injuries to others.
Today the New York Times should be hanging its head in shame at how outrageously and without the remotest evidence it has rushed to judgment on those deaths.
[W]ithin hours of the most appalling tragedy in the history of the J-1 visa program, when the one salient fact to speak for itself is the ludicrous collapse of a fourth floor balcony in a relatively new building, New York Times journalists reached for the lazy tabloid stereotype and heaped deliberate injustice on top of the most awful grief.
Shame on you.”
President McAleese’s thoughts were echoed by current Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
CPM stands behind victims of senseless tragedies like this one. No amount of stereotyping of drinking or partying, or reports of “noise violations” by those injured or killed in this tragedy is relevant. As President McAleese said – the one salient fact is the ludicrous collapse of the balcony, nothing more. President McAleese is correct, and the media’s focus should be on remembering the victims and determining the cause of the collapse, not judging those who died through no fault of their own. Shame indeed.