Hell at the Gates: A propaganda exercise

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

The first step in rewriting the history of Ireland’s political and economic collapse has been taken with the publication of Hell at the Gates by journalists Daniel McConnell and John Lee.

John Lee is political editor at the Mail on Sunday.  Daniel McConnell is political editor of the Irish Examiner.

If we are to judge by the long extracts from the book (6, 472 words) published in the Irish Examiner the rewriting has just one aim – to create a lie that the corrupt political system that destroyed our country is completely innocent of any blame for the catastrophe.

An editorial in the same issue backs up the book’s rewriting of history by attacking ordinary citizens for having the gall to demand a restoration of their pay scales that were so ruthlessly cut by the corrupt ruling elite.

Our enthusiastic, lemming-like demands for the restoration of indulgences funded by borrowing that led to the loss of our economic sovereignty less than a decade ago.

So according to this writer (I wonder who?) corrupt politicians, bankers, property developers and so-called regulators had nothing to do with the country’s downfall, it was all down to the peasants losing the run of themselves.

At first impression this book appears to be nothing more than a disgraceful propaganda exercise.

I will be analysing the publication in greater detail in the near future.

 

Michael O’Regan: A ‘surface’ journalist

 

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

The following comments by Irish Times journalist Michael O’Regan confirms that he has no understanding whatsoever about what motivates those involved in the water protest movement.

The whole water charges thing will fade away. I can totally understand how people took to the streets after the way Irish Water was set up, the salaries and bonuses and the rest.

I can’t understand, today, how people are marching on water charges when you have this dreadful situation relating to homelessness and to health. The water charges should be way down the agenda now and health and homelessness should take precedence.

In common with most establishment journalists O’Regan only sees events on the surface. He seems to be completely ignorant of what’s going on underneath particularly since the economic collapse of 2008.

I say ‘underneath’ to emphasis O’Regan’s ignorance because what’s happening is not just right in front of his face but right in the face of this state.

What’s happening is nothing less than a rebellion against the state triggered by decades of political corruption. A significant and growing number of citizens have rejected the legitimacy and authority of the state.

The water protest movement is the cutting edge of that rebellion and O’Regan’s ‘The whole water thing will fade away” and “I can’t understand…” mindset accurately reflects the disturbing denial factor that pervades the establishment media.

Sooner rather than later, O’Regan and his comfortable colleagues will wake up to the realisation that the country they see as a stable, well run democracy is in the process of being dismantled and consigned to the dustbin of history.

Copy to:

Michael O’Regan

 

 

 

Irish media should be fighting gagging law

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

I have submitted a complaint to Newstalk management against presenter George Hook for breach of Section 42 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 (See complaint below).

This is my second complaint in recent times against Mr. Hook for breach of this particular code.  This complaint is under investigation by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and I am hopeful that a decision will be forthcoming soon.

In June 2014 I outlined my reasons for making such complaints against Mr. Hook and other broadcasters.  Here’s some of what I wrote:

The actual opinion expressed by Mr. Hook is of little importance.

What is of huge importance is to witness the implementation of a draconian, anti-democratic law specifically designed to repress what, in functional democracies, is the norm – the free expression of opinion.

Of even greater importance is the disturbing reality that this oppressive law was introduced and is being enforced with hardly a whimper from the media.

Before commenting further on the media reaction I am going to express my opinion as why this law has been introduced.

It was not introduced to protect the sensitive ears of Irish citizens from the personal opinions of broadcasters such as George Hook. It was not introduced to protect listeners from being led astray by broadcasters and it was not introduced as a result of any public demand.

It was introduced to stop outright or at least have a severe chilling effect on the media questioning of powerful people and in particular powerful politicians.

The legislation is, I believe, principally aimed at RTE because of its powerful position in the media and because of its vulnerability to political manipulation.

 

Complaint submitted to Newstalk on 29 Sep 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to lodge a formal complaint against George Hook, the presenter of the Newstalk radio programme High Noon for breach of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, which came into effect on 1 July 2013 under Section 42 of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

On 28 September last Mr. Hook made the following comments in response to the wearing of T-shirts in Dail Eireann by a number of politicians.

Well, in the Dail you had six Left wing TDs wearing T-shirts.  The Anti Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit TDs wore ‘Repeal’ T-shirts on the issue of the amendment of the Constitution.

This has nothing to do with the repeal in my mind.  They could have been wearing T-shirts for free to air, for rugby, for free childcare.

The point is that once again this group of Lefties have no respect for our Constitution, have no respect for our traditions, have no respect for our history in the Dail because nobody but nobody in Dail Eireann is allowed wear an emblem.

That’s the way it is, you can’t do that.  As was pointed out to these Lefties, children who came into the public gallery were wearing T-shirts and they were asked to remove the T-shirts before they were allowed into the public gallery.

Everybody else conforms except these six loonies.  And what’s even more annoying about it is, unless they are clamped down and strongly clamped down by the appropriate committee on performance then what’s next?  Water, vivisection, it could be anything.

Everybody now with a half-baked idea that they’re upset about will be able to come into the Dail and wear a T-shirt or carry a flag or whatever.

And I have to say that Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd-Barrett, Gino Kenny, Brid Smith and Mick Barry are a disgrace to the position they hold as elected members of Dail Eireann.

It is clear that Mr. Hook is expressing very strong personal and partisan views and is therefore in breach of section 4.22 of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Current Affairs.

I include the relevant section of the Act below for your convenience.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

4.22. It is an important part of the role of a presenter of a current affairs programme to ensure that the audience has access to a wide variety of views on the subject of the programme or item; to facilitate the expression of contributors‘ opinions – sometimes by forceful questioning; and to reflect the views of those who cannot, or choose not to, participate in content. This being so, a presenter and/or a reporter on a current affairs programme shall not express his or her own views on matters that are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate such that a partisan position is advocated.

Copy to:

Newstalk

BAI

 

 

Formal complaint against RTE for bias

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to lodge a formal complaint against RTE for breach of its Public Service Statement 2015.

My complaint centres on the biased panel selection on the Marian Finucane Show as broadcast on Sunday 4 September last.

Specifically, my complaint concerns the unbalanced and unchallenged views expressed during the discussion surrounding the Apple tax scandal.

The panel members were as follows:

Michael McDowell: Independent Senator and former Tanaiste and Minister for Justice.

Suzanne Kelly: Tax lawyer.

John McGuinness: Fianna Fail TD

Patsy McGarry: Irish Times Religious Affairs Correspondent.

Diarmuid Ferriter: Professor of Modern History at UCD.

It is reasonable to describe all the panel members and the presenter, Ms Finucane, as individuals with conservative views that are mainly in line with the governing establishment.

It is also reasonable to describe the two politicians on the panel as public representatives with strong and uncompromising views on the political outlook of those who oppose the Government’s response to the Apple tax scandal.

Left wing political parties such as Sinn Fein, Anti-Austerity Alliance, People Before Profit and others who represent a significant percentage of the population were, by their exclusion, prevented from expressing a contrary view.

This is in breach of RTEs Public Service Statement 2015.

I quote:

Ensuring its treatment of current affairs and matters of public controversy, in addition to being impartial and objective, is fair to all interests.

It is also clear that RTE management is very well aware of the major changes taking place within Irish society.

I quote:

RTÉ today sits within a society, economy and media environment that is changing; and changing rapidly. Recent years have shaken public confidence in institutions and traditional authority.

Despite this awareness, or perhaps because of it, RTE management seems to be abandoning its objectivity and professionalism in favour of taking the side of State/Government.

The apparent packing of a discussion panel in favour of one side of the debate is also in breach of RTEs duty in law to be impartial.

I quote:

RTÉ has a duty in law to be accurate, fair and impartial, and to remain independent from all state, political and commercial influences.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

 

RTE News downgrades Olympic ticket corruption scandal

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

I see RTE News is now referring to the Olympic ticket scandal as ‘the controversy’ (0900 radio news).

Controversy:

A prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion.

So, just a dispute concerning a matter of opinion and not a major international corruption scandal that has brought shame on our country.

Principle of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ does not apply universally in Ireland

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

There seems to be a great deal of worry amongst Irish establishment figures that the Brazilians may not grant Pat Hickey the protection of the almost universal principle of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’.

Here’s former CEO of the FAI Fran Rooney on RTE yesterday.

It’s a real concern that the men’s presumption of innocence is being ignored… the whole presumption of innocence is a key issue here.

In light of the above comments it will no doubt come as a great shock to barrister Fran Rooney to learn that the ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ principle does not apply universally in Ireland.

It will come as an even greater shock to anxious establishment figures like Rooney to learn that the principal was abandoned to protect the multi-million Euro Mass card monopoly enjoyed by the Catholic Church.

Any Irish citizen who sells (even one) a Mass card without the express permission of a Catholic bishop is guilty of an offence which may result in a ten year prison sentence and/or a fine of €300,000.

This law is even more draconian than that enacted to combat ruthless drug lords. If (Catholic) Brazilian politicians were to enact such a law Irish establishment figures like Ryan Tubridy, for example, would be choking on their breakfast cereal.

To copper-fasten the law and ensure no citizen dares challenge the financial interests of the Catholic Church Irish politicians inserted the following section into the Charities Act 2009:

Section 99:

(2): In proceedings for an offence under this section it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved on the balance of probabilities, that the sale of the Mass card to which the alleged offence relates was not done pursuant to an arrangement with a recognised person.

So there you have it – in Irish legislation – in black and white – Guilty unless you can prove you are innocent.

Irish journalists: Puzzled by nasty treatment of elites

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

RTE journalist Aine Lawlor introduced a report on the ongoing Olympics ticket scandal in Brazil as follows:

Mr. Hickey and Kevin Mallon are both being held in the high security Bangu prison. They’re sharing prison space with convicted murderers, drug traffickers and gang members.

There are two reasons Irish journalists make such comments.

One: It tends to degrade the reputation of the police, prison service and civil service of the country involved suggesting that officialdom in that country does not operate to the high standards of a Western democratic country like Ireland.

Two: Establishment journalists like Lawlor are puzzled when powerful elites are forced to share prison space with ‘ordinary’ criminals. They are disturbed by this treatment of the elite because they never witness it in Ireland and therefore think it’s abnormal, barbaric behaviour.

Journalist Michael Clifford: In praise of Pat Hickey

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

Establishment journalist Michael Clifford was full of admiration for (recently arrested) Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey in this morning’s edition of the Irish Examiner.

In common with most mainstream journalists Clifford seems more interested in slagging off the Minister for Sports Shane Ross rather than actually addressing very serious allegations of corruption.

The following comments by Clifford give us a good insight into the mindset of mainstream media to allegations of corruption.

On Minister Ross’s attempt to get answers from Hickey:

Mr Ross discovered, as many before him had, that Mr Hickey is a wily old dog who can bite as well as others might bark.

On Hickey’s refusal to cooperate with Ross:

Take a hike, minister, this is my baby, the long-standing OCI president conveyed.

On Hickey’s patronising dinner invite to Ross

Say what you like about Pat Hickey, but you gotta love his chutzpah.

On Ross’s intention to seek the advice of the Attorney General.

You can imagine the sheer delight Marie Whelan would enjoy if told that Shane Ross was on the line.

Just a few short weeks ago, Miss Whelan was subjected to acute embarrassment at the cabinet table when Mr Ross rejected her advice on the abortion issue as “just an opinion”.

Now the same minister plans to run to her seeking some form of advice that might save his ego from abrupt deflation.

On Ross’s poor handling of the scandal:

Perhaps Mr Ross should take up the invitation to dine with Pat Hickey. The latter would undoubtedly be able to tell the politician a thing or two about politics.

The question Irish citizens have for establishment journalists like Clifford is:

When are you going to address the rampant political corruption that has destroyed our country?

Copy to:

Michael Clifford

Shane Ross: Breaking the rules of his own political class

 

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

The first rule of Irish mainstream media when it comes to corruption is – under no circumstances whatsoever should the issue be actually addressed, analysed or even mentioned.

So we had the usual conservative pro-establishment packed panel on the Marian Finucane Show last Sunday discussing the Olympic ticket corruption scandal.

But, sticking strictly to the rule, the issued of corruption was completely ignored as the panel focused on attacking the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross over his handling of the scandal.

The reason for such attacks on Ross is clear. Although he is an establishment insider himself, he has been breaking another golden rule of the ruling elite – he actually investigates and reports on the rampant corruption within his own political/media class.

This is an unforgiveable sin and attracts vicious rants laced with lies from people like former Labour minister for State Aodhan O’Riordan.

The issue here is that anybody who shared the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) with Shane Ross over the last five years know exactly the way he operates. There is no reputation that he is not happy to have a complete go at in order to get five minutes publicity out of, this is the way he has operated for a long time.

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Marian Finucane Show

Aodhan O’Riordan

Shane Ross

Irish Olympic cheaters are heroes: Russian Olympic cheaters are evil

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

I have always believed that nationalism is as dangerous as religion on the basis that both mindsets operate only in the realm of the irrational.

Take for example this Irish Independent editorial written in response to the news that Irish boxer Michael O’Reilly had failed a dope test.

The headline gives us the first hint of the irrational.

Our heroic boxers don’t deserve cloud of scandal

Well, whatever about the rest of the boxing team Michael O’Reilly most certainly does deserve the cloud of scandal hovering over him on the rational fact that he did indeed fail a doping test.

The author makes it clear that our ‘heroic’ boxers are the greatest warriors to walk the face of earth while those nasty Russians are evil incarnate. (I exaggerate only very slightly here).

The cloud of scandal hanging over Irish boxers is not just unfair but monumentally so, the author thunders.

And why is it unfair?

Well, because this particular group of athletes has brought more glory and displayed more guts than any other in history.

This is where we enter the dangerous realm of the irrational where honesty and logic is twisted to suit the mindset of nationalism.

According to the author the doping finding for the Irish boxer is unfair because our boxers are glorious and gutsy.

But the Russians deserve to be severely punished because –

So many Games have been marred by the fact that cheaters have taken to the winners’ podium. This goes against everything that honest competition is about.

There must be no ambiguity; no athlete should ever get as far as the Olympics unless they are clean.

Copy to:

Irish Independent