Thanks to MM for this tip.
A friend drew my attention to this article in Tuesday’s Washington Post about this weekend’s conference of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, which brings together most of America’s (purportedly) respectable and mainstream political Right, and bang smack in the middle was this paragraph:
Recognise any of those names? Like Phelim McAleer for example? Those of my readers who are slightly grayer at the temples will remember him as a reporter on the Irish News back in the 1990’s.
Sometime after that, McAleer, who is from Beragh, Co Tyrone and cut his journalistic teeth on the Crossmaglen Examiner, disappeared from sight, although there were rumours that he had been spotted in Eastern Europe.
Well, he actually has spent most of the last ten years or so making a name for himself on the crazier but lucrative fringes of America’s Right, making films supporting fracking, attacking proponents of man-made climate change like Al Gore and, most recently, a documentary on a Philadelphia abortion doctor.
All these are causes likely to warm the hearts of America’s Conservative mainstream, especially those with large pocketbooks.
He has also married and co-produces these films with a woman called Ann McElhinney who hails from Bundoran, Co Donegal.
Their Wikipedia profile makes this claim about the couple:
(McElhinney) spoke at both the 2009, 2010, and 2012 Conservative Political Action Conferences. In 2009, a U.S. poll identified McElhinney and her husband, Phelim McAleer, as the most popular conservative speakers after broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and columnist Ann Coulter.
Really? Actually the reference cited comes from an article in the Donegal Democrat newspaper which makes no claim about the couples’ poll ratings on the US Right, instead quoting from a speech McIlhinney gave to CPAC in 2009 which had this as one rather disappointing highlight:
A Bundoran-born film-maker who has become a favourite of the US conservative movement has rubbished the award-winning film “Avatar,” calling it an “anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-mining rant.”
McAleer, meanwhile, has made the real right-wing breakthrough, winning a regular by-line on Breitbart.com, the alt-right website whose former boss, Steve Bannon is now playing Rasputin to Trump’s Tsar Nicholas II, or should that be Vladimir Putin?
Young Phelim has come a long way from Beragh. Or maybe not that far?