Sunday Long Reads: The importance of fact-checking, the origins of 'whistleblower' and Lance Armstrong opens up

Kick back with a cup of coffee and enjoy the best long reads from Newstalk

As we head towards the second debate in the United States on Sunday evening, what will the role of fact-checking be as both candidates find their relationship with the truth to be less than perfect?

Elsewhere, after all that has gone on this week with an Garda Síochána, there's a look at the origins of the word "whistleblower"; we examine what the fallout of a hard Brexit would be for Ireland; and ask whether the internet showed its worst side in the wake of Kim Kardashian being robbed in a hotel room in Paris. 

Finally, there's a revealing and telling interview with disgraced former cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was frank in his exchanges with Ger Gilroy on Off The Ball this week.  

Heroes or villains: On the origins of the phrase 'whistleblower'

In the wake of the latest whistle-blowing controversy to rock the core of an Garda Síochána, which has seen Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan deny any knowledge of involvement in an alleged campaign against a whistleblower in the force, it seems timely to examine the origins of the word.

One thing, at least, is clear; when it comes to the English language, there is no shortage of phrases or idiomatic terms that make direct reference to whistling. As everyone from Steve onwards knows, the act of putting your lips together and blowing looms large in the linguistic repertoire of the English-speaking world.

Lance Armstrong: "I was a complete dickhead"

Lance Armstrong has stated that he was "a complete dickhead" in the way that he dealt with Paul Kimmage during his investigation of the doping scandal that surrounded the cyclist.

Speaking to Ger Gilroy on Off The Ball in an exclusive interview, Armstrong apologised for his treatment of Kimmage, and stated that he has done his best to make amends to all the people who were caught up in the fallout after his house of cards came crashing down. 

Noting that he had testified multiple times in private to USADA and for the CIRC report about doping, but that people haven't really reported it, Armstrong went through the list of people that he has reached out to since he admitted to doping.

The reaction to Kim Kardashian's robbery shows the internet at its worst

Question: When did you first realise that the commentary on Kim Kardashian West’s robbery ordeal had gone too far? Was it when Karl Lagerfeld said Kim “shouldn’t be surprised” that people target her for exhibiting her wealth? How about when some speculated the whole thing was a hoax to drum up TV viewers?

For me, it was when the head of one of Britain's top private schools said girls should look up to Shakespearean heroines instead of the 35-year-old.

Give me a break. The suggestion that fictional characters dreamed up by a 16th century man are a better source of inspiration or influence than a cultural behemoth and phenomenally successful businesswoman is beyond laughable, but it's just one example of the hot takes that have followed Sunday's raid.

What does a hard Brexit mean for Ireland?

Immigration controls are trumping economic concerns in London, as PM Theresa May’s definitive Brexit road map came with a commitment to put greater border controls ahead of access to the Single Market.

She said that the UK will become a "fully independent, sovereign" - this has been read as a nod towards a move away from Single Market access which can only come with concessions to the EU. A number of states have signaled their intention to veto any deal which will compromise the movement of people.

According to Open Europe - a free market think tank - every Brexit scenario results in the Irish economy taking a greater hit than Britain. Its research reports that the 'harder' the terms of the exit, the more damage that will be done to Ireland's finances.

'Lies and damned lies': The rise of fact-checking in 2016

This weekend, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will again face off in their second presidential debate.

If round one was anything to go by, media outlets will again be putting a heavy emphasis on fact-checking - both in ‘real time’ and in the hours and days that follow the debate.

Why has something as seemingly straightforward and rudimentary as fact-checking become such a major issue in 2016?