RTE bias complaint

By Anthony Sheridan

I have submitted the following complaint to RTE regarding the broadcaster’s disgraceful and disturbing bias against Sinn Fein.

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find complaint submitted for breach of Section 39 [1] [a], [b] of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

Substance of complaint:  RTE News and Current Affairs is heavily biased against Sinn Fein.

This bias takes several forms, for example:

Stacked discussion panels where Sinn Fein representatives/supporters are ambushed not just by opponents of Sinn Fein, but invariably, by RTE presenters.

The creation of fake news stories which generate a damaging impression of Sinn Fein.

Minimising or completely ignoring stories that favour Sinn Fein, for example, good poll ratings.

Giving precedence to those opposed to [and fearful of] Sinn Fein’s electoral success particularly the centre parties in the republic and unionism in the North.

The following is an example of the creation of a fake news story that was then used to ambush Sinn Fein representatives.

During an interview with the Irish Examiner [5 Jan 2022] Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald expressed the following view regarding reform within the civil service

There is immense talent in our civil service, our public service, and our public administration, that’s the first thing that needs to be said.  But we have, in many respects, a system that is constipated, a system that is slow, and a system that needs to be jolted into more efficient actions.

This is a perfectly legitimate and reasonable comment for a politician to make. Nobody can seriously deny that the civil service is in need of radical reform.  It is in no way a major story that would warrant further coverage and comment from a national broadcaster such as RTE.   

But somebody of authority within RTE, ignoring the positive elements of the comment,  made a decision to select one word, ‘constipation’, and weaponise it to cast Sinn Fein in a bad light – For example:

Today with Claire Byrne [7 Jan] – Ms. Byrne upbraided Sinn Fein TD Louise O’Reilly for the potential offence caused by use of the word. She [Byrne] then invited the [stacked] panel for their opinion, all of which, predictably, condemned Sinn Fein. 

News at One [10 Jan] Bryan Dobson, ignoring Ms. McDonald’s reasonable account, repeatedly badgered her with the question – Do you stand over those remarks?

My specific complaint against RTE is as follows:

On Friday May 20 last,  An Taoiseach Michael Martin travelled to Belfast for talks with all political parties concerning the crisis surrounding the refusal of the Democratic Unionist Party [DUP] to partake in the newly elected Assembly.

The dramatic result of the election saw Sinn Fein become the largest party in the North, a truly historic moment in the history of the province.  The Sinn Fein victory was, at least partly, the reason the DUP refused to participate in the new assembly leading to the crisis that saw An Taoiseach travel to Belfast.

Despite the central and important role played by Sinn Fein in these developments, somebody of authority in RTE decided to severely restrict the party’s access to the airwaves over the three days the story remained live.

Friday 20 May

Morning Ireland – RTE journalist interviewed by RTE journalist on the issue. No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs].

Today with Claire Byrne – No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs].

News at One – No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs]. The programme featured much analysis and opinion with An Taoiseach, Jeffery Donaldson of the DUP [25 MLAs] and Doug Beatty of the Ulster Unionist Party [UUP] [9 MLAs].

Drivetime – No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs]. Programme featured An Taoiseach, a journalist and an interview with the leader of the SDLP [8 MLAs]

Six One News – No Sinn Fein [27 MLAs]. Programme featured DUP leader Jeffery Donaldson and An Taoiseach

Nine News – Ditto for Six One News – No Sinn Fein

Saturday 21 May

Saturday with Philip Boucher-Hayes

DUP MLA Gregory Campbell facilitated with an 8 minute uninterrupted interview.

This was followed by a brief interchange with the panel which included SF TD Darren O’Rourke.

The last word was granted to Campbell in a two minute, uninterrupted, summing up of his party’s position.

Sunday 22 May

Brendan O’Connor Show – The issue completely ignored.

This Week – Extended interview with Bertie Ahern – No Sinn Fein

The Week in Politics Relatively brief chat with panel of politicians including Sinn Fein TD Louise O’Reilly.

It is reasonable to conclude from the facts outlined above that Sinn Fein was deliberately excluded particularly on Friday 20 May when the issue was the main news story of the day. 

It is also reasonable to conclude that the exclusion of the party was not accidental or due to incompetence.  Preparations for such programmes are carefully planned, meetings are held with presenters, producers and other decision makers.  Decisions are made about content, questions/issues to be explored and what person[s] parties should be included.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

Michael Martin: Hypocritical, cowardly, self-serving waffle

The great dilemma facing those who reject the legitimacy of Sinn Fein as a political party is that party’s participation in government in Northern Ireland.

Leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin was asked about this on Morning Ireland.

How can you find it acceptable that Sinn Fein should sit in government in Northern Ireland but are not fit for purpose in the South?

There’s a fundamental difference between the constitution of the republic and the political entity of Northern Ireland, we know that from our history. In persuading the provisional IRA movement to give up violence a form of government had to be established that involved cross community input.

So…..the Northern Ireland ‘government’ is not really a government, it’s more an agreed mechanism to promote cross community input.

But the Northern government is a legitimate government is it not?

There’s a fundamental difference between the political entity and I think you would have to accept between the constitutions that establishes our government and that in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland government is based on a constitution? I didn’t know that.

I wonder how the people who voted for their representatives in Northern Ireland and those who operate that democratic mandate on their behalf feel about this hypocritical, cowardly, self-serving waffle?

Marian Finucane and ‘ordinary decent wars’

Marian Finucane was not happy with the comment by Gerry Adams that people are ‘disappeared’ in every war.

Not all wars have disappeared. I remember the outcry across the world over Pinochet and Chile and the disappeared. Somehow or another that’s not kind of standard in your ordinary decent war.

This is the kind of ignorance that’s going to escalate as we approach the climax of the 1916/100 commemorations.

It seems that Ms. Finucane happily operates under the delusion that there is such a thing as an ‘ordinary decent war’ and that the participants in these ‘decent’ wars would be outraged at the idea that anybody would be ‘disappeared’.

Stuffed into ovens in millions, yes. Wiped out in mass bombings of cities, yes. Cut down in swathes by machine gun fire and artillery, yes. Systematically cut to pieces for practicing the wrong religion, yes.

But abducted and ‘disappeared’, no, nobody could be that evil – except Sinn Fein/IRA.

Ms Finucane, apparently, can think of only two conflicts, Chile and Northern Ireland, where people were disappeared.

She’s seems to be blissfully unaware the people are disappeared in every war. I would be genuinely astonished to learn of a war in which people were not abducted, murdered and ‘disappeared’.

RTE management really should insist that if a presenter is going to comment on current affairs/history they should possess at least a smidgeon of knowledge on the subject.

Or could it be that Ms. Finucane has so bought into the establishment’s anti Sinn Fein propaganda campaign that she now believes, without question, that acts of war committed by the IRA are, somehow, more gruesome, more reprehensible than any other act of war ever committed throughout history?

Yes, I think that’s nearer the truth.

Copy to:
Marian Finucane

The Northern Ireland 'crisis' – Who cares?

Hello, hands up all those who are stressed out by the latest ‘crisis’ in the Northern Ireland talks.

Ah come on people, there must be somebody interested, these are very serious talks, something could happen…..if they fail…..ya know.

Ok, surely somebody’s worried that agreement has yet to be reached on the issues of identity, parades and the legacy of the past.

Yes, of course you’re right. Millions have died in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and other places in just the past few years and all those horrific deaths are important but…..ya know…..something could happen in Northern Ireland if the ‘crisis’ is not resolved.

I mean, just last week somebody was heard shouting ‘Up the Republic’ a few miles from a loyalist housing estate…..surely you can see how fraught the situation is becoming.

Let the Brits keep the dump.

What…..Who said that…..who made that nasty comment? You should be ashamed of yourself…..this is a very serious issue…..it is…..I’m telling you.

Ah come on now…..who turned off the lights…..That’s just juvenile behaviour

Hello…..hello…..is there anybody there…..hello…..hello…..

Paisley's death tips RTE over the edge of obsession

Did you wake up Saturday morning worrying about how the UK Orange Order was coping with the prospect of an independent Scotland?

No, neither did I but RTE insisted on informing us that a UK Orange Order parade was taking place in Edinburgh in support of the NO vote.

How many Irish citizens even know, or care, that a UK Orange Order exists?

It’s all part of RTEs chronic obsession with all things Northern Ireland.

When Paisley died Friday morning, RTE went into meltdown. Even though they’ve been preparing for his death for years they still panicked.

At 1250, regular transmissions on radio one were suspended. They simply couldn’t wait another ten minutes for the scheduled news broadcast.

It’s been pretty much RTE Paisley radio since then.

The entire One O’Clock news, Liveline, Drivetime. Six One News, Nine News – all effectively dedications in honour of a man whose greatest talent was his ability to fill others with such hatred that they willingly went out and brutally murdered fellow humans in the name of his particular god and country.

The RTE Paisley show continued on the Marian Finucane Show Saturday morning with at least one scheduled item cancelled in order to tell the nation, yet again, what a great man the bigot was.

No prizes will be awarded for guessing the content of RTEs This Week programme later today.

So what about Paisley’s home country, how did the UK media react to his passing?

Channel 4: No mention whatsoever in the headlines. May have been mentioned later but clearly the event was not seen as earthshaking.

ITV: Paisley’s death was the third item on the evening news.

BBC 4: His death was the fourth, and last, item on the headlines.

Will Paisley be condemned as Adams was?

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was severely castigated by all political parties and media commentators recently when he claimed that two senior RUC officers killed by the IRA had only themselves to blame for disregarding their own security. Justice Minister Alan Shatter, for example, said that Adams’ comments were nauseating.

Ian Paisley has now made a similar claim regarding the Dublin Monaghan bombings of 1974 in which 33 people died.

It was the political attitude/policies of the Southern government that was to blame according to Paisley.

Stand by for fulsome praise for Paisley from our political elite for voicing his honest opinion on these matters.