Brian Whatisname

'Økonomistudenter med eurotegn i øynene flokker seg rundt den irske statsminister Brian Owen. Ifølge statsministeren dreier morgendagens folkeavstemning om EU-traktaten seg om ja eller nei til det irske økonomiske mirakel.' Photo and text courtesy of Aftenposten.

What’s the name of the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister to the none-gaeilgoiri among you)? He's the one with the double chin, the lop-sided grin, and the flag sticking out of his head in the photo above.

Well anyone reading Norway’s paper-of-record, Aftenposten, today will think his name is Brian Owen. Again, for the non-Irish among ye, the Taoiseach’s name is Brian Cowen, which I mightn’t necessarily expect my South African readers to know but I do expect journalists paid to convey facts to the paper-buying public in any country to check for accuracy. I know he hasn’t been in the job long, but couldn’t Aftenposten’s journalists have done a quick Google check before filing their copy? Does Aftenposten not employ sub-editors? And before anyone shouts 'typo' at their screen, let me point out that throughout the article on the Lisbon Treaty, on which Ireland is holding a referendum tomorrow, Brian Cowen is called Brian Owen.

The standards of journalism in Norway are low, low, low and most days I think, 'if I could only master Norwegian well enough', I'd have a dazzling career. Except of course, my main source of Norwegian over the past three and a half years has been Aftenposten. Sigh!

I'm sure if Brian had a daughter selling bucket-loads of crap novels - as did his predecessor Bertie Ahern, daddy of Cecilia - this would never happen (even in Norway).


Aidan said...

Before I actually read your post properly I was thinking that there was going to be some link between Gary Owen of Take That and the Taoiseach.
To be honest many people around Europe don't even realize that Ireland's not in the UK so I would be happy if they even realized that it was a country with its own government. I don't mind if they think Bono is Taoiseach (in fact I might prefer it).

OSLO said...

There was I thinking he might have been related to the footballer Michael Owen :-)

Five-Browns said...

I nearly spit with fury when simple things like this go unchecked. Do you think we have an extra gene or something? Most people I know wouldnt even NOTICE!