Pat Kenny was booed at the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU) conference in Galway last week by delegates who felt they had been unfairly treated on his Frontline programme.
Kenny defended RTE on Today with Pat Kenny (Friday 1.12).saying that at all times each side in any given dispute is treated fairly. He dismissed the negative reaction from the delegates:
When you hear what you like you cheer, when you hear what you don’t like you boo.
Let’s do a quick analysis of that particular Frontline programme.
It began with a clip of a very angry woman outside the passport office giving staff a hard time.
(Government 1 – Workers nil).
Cut to the studio and Kenny is interviewing a woman who had obviously been carefully chosen because of the emotional impact of her story.
Her children had received tickets to Paris Disneyland as a Christmas gift from their grandmother and now they couldn’t go because of the workers/union action.
I would like somebody to tell my children why they can’t go,
the distraught mother demanded, glaring at Eoin Ronayne, deputy general secretary of the CPSU.
Kenny was enthusiastic in leading her on with emotionally charged questions such as: Do you think it was bloody-mindedness on their part (passport office staff) and, have you told the children yet?
(Government 2 – Workers nil).
With the audience (and viewers) suitably emotionalised Kenny proceeded to interview (attack) Eoin Ronayne who was on his own.
No (highly paid) government minister was present to be questioned about the part they played in destroying the country’s economy which sparked the industrial action. No representative from the extremely well paid higher civil servants who enforce government policy within the civil and public service.
(Government 3 – workers nil).
Kenny’s interview stance was angry, confrontational and accusatory. Ronayne was at all times courteous and calm. At one point when Kenny was running out of steam he called in the distraught mother for another dollop of emotionalism.
Maybe you could ring my children tonight, Peter 10, Christine 13 and explain to them why they’re devastated that you will not let them fly on Friday. What are you going to do for me and the other 40,000 people that are in my situation?
What price do you put on the disappointment of children demanded Kenny of Ronayne and later suggested that staff at the passport office had deliberately sabotaged passport machines to make things worse for ordinary people.
(Government 4 – workers nil)
With the exception of one person all comments from the audience were anti worker. The piece finished with the distraught mother being given yet another opportunity to make an emotional attack on Ronayne.
You took away my children’s chance of their Christmas to go and travel. They have no choice; you’ve made us suffer for your cause. I hope you’re happy.
(Government 5 – workers nil) (RTE/Pat Kenny – disgraced)
This disgraceful anti union, anti worker ambush by the national broadcaster was not an isolated incident.
All through the week on Liveline, Today with Pat Kenny and RTE News the trend (policy?) was the same – The general public were the victims of the evil Union/workers, the Government was an innocent party doing its best to help out.
It really is time somebody challenged the politicalisation of RTE.
Today with Pat Kenny