It’s interesting to note that RTE has notched up its Yes campaign since the shock (for the Yes side) of the Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll.
Within hours the Taoiseach was given an (18 minutes) exclusive and unchallenged platform on Today with Pat Kenny (Friday, 1.29) to berate and warn Irish citizens of the dire consequences of a No vote.
Later, on the News at One (2nd report, 2nd item), there was a brief but very telling interruption by RTE presenter, Sean O’Rourke during a debate between Joe Higgins and Eamon Gilmore on the rights of workers and the interests of business.
Higgins was making a point about business and profit when O’Rourke interrupted in a very disapproving voice – Why do you spit the word business?
Higgins quickly put him in his place and carried on making his point.
Saturday View presenter, Rodney Rice, also did his bit for the Yes campaign with this introduction.
“So, the Irish people may reject the advice of the overwhelming majority of political, civic and religious leaders and vote No next Thursday.
An Irish Times opinion poll tells us that almost a third of those rejecting the Lisbon Treaty will do so because they don’t know what it’s about. A quarter will do so to protect a national identity which the Government says is enhanced by our commitment to Europe. Almost as many will do so to protect our neutrality which the Government says is protected anyway. A tenth will do so to protect farmers whose leaders have already asked for a Yes vote.
But Government, major opposition parties, a majority of the Trade Union movement, employers organisations and the Catholic Church may be ignored in favour of a mixed bag of logic and mythology put forward by traditional EU opponents from the religious right to the political left and a rich businessman whose wealth, businesses, political views and connections to the US security industry were unknown to most before this campaign began.”
And there I was thinking that presenters should act as neutral referees in a debate.