Vincent Browne has an interesting article in today’s Irish Times where he asks some searching questions about Denis O’Brien’s media empire and how The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) could possibly conclude that:
The media holdings of Denis O’Brien do not constitute dominance in terms of his ability to influence opinion forming power in any of these franchise areas.
Browne makes the connection between O’Brien’s media empire and the soon to be published Moriarty Tribunal Report.
Last weekend two of the newspapers that he now controls, the Sunday Tribune and the Sunday Independent, published two self-serving interviews with him, intended to take the “sting” from the anticipated final findings of the Moriarty tribunal on the award to him of the mobile phone licence in 1996.
He goes on:
If his own version of the Moriarty tribunal findings prove correct, they would be a devastating indictment of himself, along with the then minister for communications Michael Lowry, and of civil servants involved in awarding the licence.
If his version is true, he will be accused of the most spectacular piece of corruption ever in this State, with the possible exception of the Irish Hospital Sweepstake scam.
And, it will seem, if what he says is true, that he has built his vast personal fortune on the basis of a criminal act.
A letter writer to the Irish Times also has his say about O’Brien’s media spinning.
I was embarrassed last weekend to read the coverage of Denis O’Brien’s tribunal troubles in the Sunday Times . A front page article took leaked information about the Moriarty tribunal’s conclusions (not very positive it must be said) and managed to portray Mr O’Brien as some sort of hero, who was battling the tribunal to save the State money on legal fees.
Further on in the paper, there was a full-page spread on the excessive costs of the tribunal and yet further on, Mr O’Brien adorned the front page of the Business section about some triviality or other.
What could have been the spur to such embarrassing spin? Perhaps the Sunday Times is in awe of Mr O’Brien’s recent ascent to control of IN&M?
Yet another example of the need for The Irish Times to issue a Sunday version, thus sparing the public from the brainrot of the Sunday press.