Detailed Information

AE-HN135 - From Bad news to Fake News

An exploration of the relationship between political journalism and establishment interests in the English-speaking world from the mid nineteenth century to the present day, with an emphasis on Irish journalistic input.

Since the gradual elimination of political censorship and journalistic controls in Britain in the 1840s – a form of repression less familiar in the USA – the relationship of the press with the dominant political, social, economic and financial powers in the English-speaking world has often been problematic. From the game-changing reports of Irish-born William Howard Russell of The Times in the 1850s (on the incompetence of the British military elite in the Crimea) to the investigative reporting of the Washington Post which undermined the Nixon administration in the 1970s, newspapers, radio and TV have sought to expose corruption, highlight abuse of power and challenge restrictive libel laws – another form of repression less familiar in the USA. In tackling institutional, commercial and governmental excess, as well as outright criminality, many campaigning newspapers have honoured the injunction of the great Irish-American Chicago columnist Finley Peter Dunne ‘to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’. This course reflects on some of the more interesting examples of this conflict, and where appropriate, seeks to highlight a significant Irish involvement in the history of campaigning journalism.

Tutor Dates Schedule Time Venue/Location Fee €
Dr Myles Dungan 04 Oct 2017 to 29 Nov 2017 Sessions: 8
National library of Ireland, Kildare Street
8 Wednesdays 10.30am - 1.00pm
Oct 4, 18, 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
10:30 National library of Ireland, Kildare Street


National library of Ireland, Kildare Street

8 Wednesdays                 10.30am - 1.00pm

Oct 4, 18, 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

At the end of this course, a student should be able to: 

  • Outline  the significance of some of the more notable events and personalities in the history of investigative journalism
  • Evaluate the role played by journalism in expediting, or impeding, political change
  • Discuss the importance of ‘speaking truth to power’ in an historical and contemporary context
  • Explain  the difference between Rupert Murdoch and John Pilger.


Dr. Myles Dungan is a broadcaster and historian. He has presented The History Show on RTE Radio 1 since its inception in 2010. He writes and presents ‘On This Day’ the weekly RTE Drivetime feature and has made a number of award-winning history documentaries on radio. He is the author of a number of books, including How the Irish Won the West (2006). A Fulbright scholar at the University of California, Berkeley in 2007 and 2011 he received a PhD from Trinity College, Dublin in 2012. 

Book List:

  • The First Casualty – Philip Knightley
  • Tell Me No Lies – John Pilger
  • Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church – The Boston Globe Spotlight team
  • Dispatches – Michael Herr
  • All the President’s Men – Carl Bernstein & Robert Woodward
  • Mr. Parnell’s Rottweiller – Myles Dungan
  • Ten Days in a Mad House – Nellie Bly
  • All in a Day’s Work – Ida Tarbell
  • Autobiography – Lincoln Steffens
  • Confessions of a Muckraker – Jack Anderson
  • I Claud – Claud Cockburn
  • The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and their Enduring Power – Victor Navasky
  • My Autobiography – Samuel McClure




  • The Insider
  • All the President’s Men
  • Spotlight
  • Good Night and Good Luck