Historic discrimination and indentured servitude against the Irish was real, but I find it telling that this persecution narrative often brought up as a response to discussion around African American discrimination. The arguments are typically "Irish faced discrimination and slavery too, and we got over it," as if continued institutional racism against blacks isn't/wasn't real.
What's often ignored in these discussions is that immediately after the civil war, Irish were granted the status of "whiteness" and given full political rights. This allowed them, as a group, to quickly gain government power in the North, and they fought aggressively for separate Catholic schools.
The claims about job discrimination (ex: "No Irish Need Apply") are greatly exaggerated and have little historical evidence. Most of these claims were carried over from the early 1800's in England, but not very common in the United States.
There was continued prejudice and stereotypes about Irish in the media, but you can find the same for all ethnic groups including Italians, Jews, Poles, Chinese, Asians, Arabs, and of course blacks etc. It wasn't until the 1990's that this type of ethnic stereotyping in media was considered wrong in mainstream media. The negative portrayals of Irish existed, but they certainly weren't unique.
Not only is the idea that anti-Irish discrimination was on-par with anti-black discrimination demonstrably false, but the Irish-American community was a major contributor to a variety of forms of institutional racism. The Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred asian immigration was primarily a result of Irish-American labor unions who sought to restrict competition. The nativist racism against both Asians and blacks was intense, violent and organized. They saw other ethnic groups as competing for jobs, and did their best to suppress them.
The modern term "white privelege" that is overused IMO, had its roots in the Irish ability to gain whiteness, and thereby full political rights so quickly, while abandoning blacks and Asians in the labor movement.
I personally think that the portrayals of anti Irish racism is exaggerated when presented in the media. I think that the media may use words that make it sounds bad and tragic, but any type of racism is bad and tragic. I think they portray it just fine and do well.
Racism against the Irish hasn't been a problem for more than 80 years in America. In Europe, anti-Irish sentiment is probably isolated to Great Britain where older people still remember the Ireland/Northern Ireland difficulties from the 1960s and 1970s. Of course the media exaggerates things because they want to get page views and more advertising revenue. The more outlandish the headlines, the better.
I do not think that the portrayals of anti Irish racism is exaggerated when presented in the media. I think that the media may use words that make it sounds bad and tragic, but any type of racism is bad and tragic. I think they portray it just fine and do well.
They are not over exaggerated in the media, and they are actually causing, and have already caused, a lot of problems in Europe. There will always be racism around though, and if you look here even in the United States there is still a lot of racism issues going on.
Portrayals of anti-Irish racism in the media are not exaggerated because at one time, this was a prevelent form of discrimination in the media. It was very common in the 1800s to see newspaper caricatures of Irish men having faces almost like that of a monkey with a bottle of liquor in their hands.