RTE bias: A failure of objective journalism

By Anthony Sheridan

Falling revenue coupled with a serious challenge from social media has in recent times prompted the establishment media to emphasise how important professional, objective and well researched journalism is to society  [See here and here for examples].

Unfortunately, these claims of high quality journalism are more fake news than fact particularly when the establishment media is reporting on those who pose a threat to the interests of the ruling political centre made up of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour.

Sinn Fein represents the greatest threat to this exclusive political club and for that reason is frequently targetted by establishment media.

RTE in particular has effectively abandoned all pretence of objectivity when it comes to interviewing Sinn Fein representatives. 

A comparison between an RTE interview with DUP leader Arlene Foster and what can only be described as the interrogation of Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald on the day of the funeral of murdered journalist Myra McKee clearly exposes the blatant bias of the national broadcaster.  

Foster was interviewed on Morning Ireland in a carefully  choreographed piece that portrayed her and her party, the DUP, in a largely positive light. 

First we heard a short 37 second clip of Foster speaking earlier on BBC Radio Ulster in which she expressed her feelings during the funeral of murdered journalist Myra McKee.

RTE reporter Tommie Gorman was then invited to respond and proceeded to give a glowing account of how the DUP was ready to engage in talks but [unfortunately] Sinn Fein was adopting a strategy of caution.  

Arlene Foster was then respectfully and professionally interviewed by RTEs Gavin Jennings without interruption or bullying but also without any serious challenge of her views.  She was allowed to promote the view that she and her party were very willing to sit down with Sinn Fein [if only they would cooperate] and sort out any issues they had.  

Tommie Gorman was again invited to give his assessment of Foster’s views. He proceeded to give another glowing account of how the DUP was eager to get politics back on track in Northern Ireland and, again, concluded his analysis with a negative description of Sinn Fein’s election strategies North and South of the border.

Later on in the morning, and in stark contrast, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald was interrogated, bullied and insulted in a disgraceful display of bias by Miriam O’Callaghan/RTE on Today with Sean O’Rourke.

The interrogation was preceded by yet another clip of Arlene Foster speaking as if her only wish in life was to bring peace and harmony to the whole world.

In the fifteen minute interrogation that followed McDonald was agressively interrupted no less that 31 times.  She got to answer just one question without a bullying intervention. 

It was clear to any objective listener that O’Callaghan/RTE was not in the least bit interested in McDonald’s views but rather in trapping her into expressing a negative opinon on the question of resolving the political stalemate at Stormont. 

It was also clear that O’Callaghan/RTE were not interested in informing listeners that the DUP were responsible for the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly.  That it was the DUP who initially accepted but then walked away from a compromise agreement with Sinn Fein in 2018.

In her efforts to trap McDonald, O’Callaghan didn’t bother too much with facts.  For example, she claimed that in his sermon Fr. Magill was asking people to compromise when in fact he did no such thing.

McDonald, rightly, upbraied O’Callaghan for putting words into Fr. Magill’s mouth.

The moment of ‘victory’ for O’Callaghan/RTE came when McDonald said that Sinn Fein would not be capitulating to those [DUP] who wish to hold back progress in every form.

Triumphantly, O’Callaghan crowed:

So am I hearing – ‘Sinn Fein says NO’?

This was the whole point of the interrogation, to extract a negative soundbite from McDonald that would portray Sinn Fein as the party that was refusing to compromise on talks to restore the Assembly.

But there’s a bigger, more important reason for the constant attacks on Sinn Fein by the establishment media and that is the threat that Sinn Fein, as an outsider, poses to the power of the ruling centre of Irish politics. 

For years now, in election after election, this ruling political elite, that has done so much damage to Ireland, has been losing the trust and consequently the votes of Irish citizens. 

The weaker the political centre becomes the more strident and more blatant the attacks on all outsiders who pose a threat to its political power.  Over recent years RTE has drifted from a position of relative objective journalism to a point where many see the station as nothing more than an obedient mouthpiece for the ruling political class.

I would recommend listening to the O’Callaghan interrogation of McDonald to obtain a true sense of just how biased RTE has become.  Alternatively, take a quick scroll down the reproduced interrogation below which signposts every interruption by O’Callaghan.

Copy to:

O’Callaghan/RTE

Mary Lou McDonald

O’Callaghan:  Has anything changed in terms of policy, from any party including Sinn Fein?

McDonald:  Service for Lyra McKee was incredibly moving…those who murdered Lyra do not represent the people of Creggan…

INTERRUPTED…

O’Callaghan:  Ok, let me come back in there Mary Lou McDonald.

Fr. Magill directed very strong comments against  all politicians in the North who have responsibility for the vacuum that has arisen since the Assembly has not sat.  You as president of Sinn Fein are one of those seriously responsible he was pointing a finger at.  Do you accept that the vacuum that has been created has led to that kind of violence in Creggen?

McDonald: Well Fr. Magill hit the nail on the head yesterday. He articulated in the clearest and most uncompromising way the fact that politicians myself included need to roll up our sleeves and get cracking…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan: So what are you going to do?

McDonald: People want the institutions back, people want power-sharing and there’s no gainsaying the fact either and this isn’t an Orange or Green issue. People want equality and people…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  But Mary Lou McDonald, with respect, we all know that but for people listening this morning that is just frustrating.  Let’s be specific, are you still holding out for a stand alone Irish languge act?  Is that what’s holding up everything?

McDonald:  Can I just say Miriam…

INTERRUPTED

Callaghan:  Well I’d like you to answer that question if that’s ok.

McDonald:  I will of course answer and can I also suggest to you that the issues at play here aren’t triviliaties. I’m sure you didn’t miss the fact that those saying their goodbyes to Lyra were carrying the rainbow flag, I’m sure you haven’t missed the fact that Lyra herself was a very passionate and very effective advocate  for…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  Of course not but Mary lou McDonald, a stand alone Irish language act is trivial compared to the death of Lyra McKee.

McDonald:  Miriam, there is nothing trivial in a society that has been fractured by conflict, in a society where we need sustainable power- sharing. There is nothing trivial at all on insisting on equality and rights for every citizen…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  So you haven’t changed an iota of your position is what I’m now gathering?

McDonald:  We stand by the Good Friday Agreement and we’re not going to resile from that position and here’s the reason why.  The worst possible scenario, worse than where we are now…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  What can be worse than the murder of a 29 year old woman Mary Lou McDonald?

McDonald:  I’m not and please don’t insinuate on any level that I have in any way suggested anything other than the loss of Lyra to be absolutely outrageous, to be condemned…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  I hear that.

McDonald:  Well then if you wouldn’t mind Miriam.  You’ve invited me on to state my position…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  But you’re not answering any of my questions with respect,  I’m asking you specifically Mary Lou McDonald.  That priest yesterday Fr. Magill directed his comments at Arlene Foster, at Sinn Fein.  He wants there to be movement in the political process so murders like Lyra McKee don’t happen so I’m just asking you politely. Have you changed your position at all for instance in relation to a stand alone Irish language act?

McDonald:  And you’ve asked me policy and I assume you will allow me to politely answer.

O’Callaghan:  Yes, if you answer that question.

McDonald:  Yes, we need an Irish language act.  That comes as no surprise, that has been the case since the St. Andrew’s agreement.  Fr. Magill laid down a very, very serious challenge for us, a challenge not just to talk, not to tick boxes but a challenge to get power-sharing up and running again in a way that serves the whole community…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  But that involved compromise, doesn’t it, on everyone’s part?

McDonald: Yes, of course it does and if you listen to him Miriam you would have heard him say…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  I did.

McDonald:   …You would have heard him say that politicians need to get to work, we need sustainable government and that we need to fix the dysfunction that has marked goverance in the past, now the…

INTERRUPTED.

O’Callaghan:  But what are you going to do…[McDonald tries to finish her point…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  I hear you, but what are you going to change, in what way will you compromise and I’ll ask the same questions of the DUP.

McDonald:  The only way that you’re going to get to sustainable government is to hardwire equality.  So therefore let me tell you what needs to happens next…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  No, tell me what you’re going to do?

McDonald:  Well let me tell you what I have done and more importantly what needs to happen next…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan: No, what are you going to do in Sinn Fein?

McDonald:  Miriam, we are going to stand by the Good Friday Agreement.  I’m sure you’re listeners don’t want a rehash of the past two years…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  No, but I want to know if there’s going to be any compromise?

McDonald:  But Miriam, sorry. I obviously have to remind you that February twelve months ago there was a compromise and there was an accomodation on the table and we had landed on what I believe was a fair and balanced accomodation and unfortunately the DUP walked away from that.  So your suggestion that Sinn Fein haven’t engaged and that we haven’t been constructive is just inaccurate.  You’re…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  But just let me come back for a moment Mary Lou because it’s an interview.

So, in other words, as you said February last year those talks fell apart.  Many know at the end of the day it was because the grassroots of the DUP have a red line about a stand alone Irish language act.  Can you not in some way shift on that?  They were going to try and incorporate it perhaps in an overall arching act, is that not acceptable?

McDonald:  [Puzzled] Sure that’s what we agreed last February.

O’Callaghan:  Yeah, but as Arlene Foster said, her DUP supporters do not accept that so can you shift a little on that. 

McDonald:  So Miriam, perhaps you might observe that anything that moved the dial towards equality and inclusion and by the way none of these issues, marriage rights, language right, they’re not the sole preserve of Sinn Fein or of Nationalism.  These are equality issues and people in Northern society now understand that sustainable government is based on equality…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  So is the DUP position on marriage equality a red line issue for you in Sinn Fein as well Mary Lou McDonald, I’m just trying to clarify. 

McDonald:  I’ve heard some of the commentary around this and I challenged it before and I’m going to challenge it again.  This isn’t a football match where we chalk up one nil, two nil, five nil.  These are issues that citizens in the North really, really care about because the…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  Yeah but let me come back.  Mary Lou McDonald, to be honest, you saw the reaction yesterday, there was a standing ovation for Fr. Magill.

McDonald:  Yes…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  No, let me speak.  He wanted the politicians to get up and get the Assemply going, that requires compromise.  So all I’m trying to do this morning is try and work out your red lines.  The stand alone Irish language act obviously remains a red line.  I’m just asking you.  The DUP position on marriage equality, is that now also a red line for Sinn Fein?

McDonald:  I’m not even describing them as red lines, these are issues that need to be resolved.  I don’t think you need to dramatise it Miriam…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  Well we need a resolution, I’m trying to work out where a compromise can come.  

McDonald:  Well I was about to share my idea with you if you will allow me.  The fact that marriage equality, equal language rights, the Stormont House apparatus, that those matters need to be resolved is not new to anybody.  My god we’ve talked about these issues for months and months and months and we did land on a compromise.  We landed on a compromise and unfortunately the DUP couldn’t bring it over the line.  Those issues still need to be resolved before Lyra was murdered, before Fr. Magill spoke it was my view in any event that the DUP aren’t prepared to lift these issues and resolve these issues with us.  The governments now need to step in, they need to meet urgently.  I believe in the…INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan: No, no, let me come back. Fr. Magill spoke…

McDonald tries to continue with her point but is…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  Ok, let me come back on that.  He wasn’t speaking to the Governments, he was speaking to the politicians.  We all know that the DUP grassroots could not accept that compromise in February 2018.  What I’m trying to work out is that if you do go back even into parallel talks with the DUP will you accept that an Irish languange stand alone act even incorporated within other acts is not going to be acceptable and can you shift on that?

McDonald:  Well if you’re asking me are we going to capitulate on behalf of citizens in the North to people who wish to hold back progress in every form, to people who do not wish to make room for others in an open democratic society then the answer to that is no Miriam.  We will not capitulate on that and I would suggest to you this business of parallel processes doesn’t actually meet the challenge as articulated by Fr. Magill because the challenge is, was and remains to talk certainly…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:   So am I hearing ‘Sinn Fein’ says NO?

McDonald:  No, you’re not hearing that, we’re not the nay sayers.  We’re the people that landed on the accommodation…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  But that didn’t work at the end of the day.

McDonald:  Perhaps I’m not making myself adequately clear. Our review is not NO, our review is absolutely YES.  We need the institutions up but I am a realist…our aim is not just to tick boxes…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  OK, so just let me back in there Mary Lou McDonald.

McDonald manages to continue but is again…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  I hear that, let me come back in.  This is why I’m asking this question.  You just said you have a deeper responsibility for resolving these issues. Post that very moving ceremony yesterday, post the murder of Lyra McKee, Fr. Magill was almost pleading that all sides shifts position.  I am hearing from you if I’m correct Mary Lou McDonald that you have not shifted your position one iota.

McDonald:  No, what you heard yesterday was a call that has been made consistently right across the North in particular which is to get power-sharing back…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  That’s not what I asked you [McDonald managed to keep going]

McDonald: …and what we have said consistently…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  But you haven’t shifted at all.

McDonald:  Miriam, you’re not asking us to shift, you’re asking us…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  But Fr. Magill was asking people to compromise.

McDonald:  Sorry, I don’t think you should put words into Fr. Magill’s mouth.  That’s not what he said.  He said that we need progress…he said we need to rid ourselves of the dysfunctional pieces that haven’t worked…

INTERRUPTED

O’Callaghan:  He said, Mary Lou McDonald, why did it take the murder of a 29 year old woman for the Northern Irish politicians to meet and talk to each other.

McDonald: Well, the reality is that for just about a year there hasn’t been a substantive engagement.

Educating Marian Finucane

By Anthony Sheridan

Marian Finucane does not know the difference between the following sentences.

The Great War

We had a great time on holiday.

In fairness, people do sometimes get confused between these two meanings of the word ‘great’ but if you’re chairing a discussion on one of the most important events in world history the very least listeners can expect is that you understand the basics.

Here’s Finucane introducing a discussion on Armistice Day, the day that marked the end of the First World War:

So Myles, tell us how the First World War ended. I, as you know, hate [with strong emphasis] when it’s called the great war. I think it was just the annihilation of millions of young boys and men and I can’t see the glory in it.

Clearly, Finucane mistakenly thinks that the ‘great’ in the Great War means great as in – ‘We had a great time on holidays’ or, ‘wasn’t it a great war, such fun and glory’. She’s outraged and puzzled as to why anybody would refer to the brutal death of millions as ‘great’.

She seems to be completely ignorant of the fact that the ‘great’ in the Great War means that the war was one of the largest, most brutal conflicts, up to that point, in world history. A conflict that witnessed the introduction of new forms of war technology such as chemical, air and tank warfare. A war that changed the course of history, that led to the collapse of empires, triggered a series of revolutions and led to the emergence of several new countries such as Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Finucane was addressing her question to Myles Dungan who, in addition to being an RTE broadcaster, is also an historian.

He didn’t seem to notice Finucane’s confused thinking but, really, he should have a quiet word in her ear. Her ignorance is not very professional.

Copy to:

Marian Finucane

Myles Dungan

 

 

 

RTE news bias – Destroying credibility

 

By Anthony Sheridan

When RTE was a national broadcaster the station provided a reasonably balanced news output. In recent years, however, since the station began to serve government rather than citizens, news manipulation has taken precedence over factual reporting and professional analysis.

On yesterday’s Marian Finucane Show, for example, listeners were subjected to an intelligence insulting, extremely short, cartoon-like discussion on the disturbing events that occurred on North Frederick street during the week involving Gardai and housing protesters

Panelist: In fairness, Josephine Feehily and Drew Harris came out and said, no, that shouldn’t have happened.

Finucane: And yet and yet and yet..its tough on gardai. I thought it looked… I mean I was astonished at how it had come about.

Panelist: Look, there is an issue around social media , there’s no doubt about that, but look, we expect to see people in balaclava’s in the Basque country or dealing with the Real IRA or whatever. We don’t expect to see Gardai in balaclava’s policing genuine protests about housing.

I think the public were very, very upset about it and I’m thinking of something Theo Dorgan said once ‘I thought I was born into a republic’ and you see these private balaclava-clad guards arriving in a van.

But protesting has changed, I think the Gardai are very measured in the way they handle the physical and verbal abuse they get.

Then a panelist changed the subject by referring to a protest Finucane had participated in 48 years ago. Finucane, delighted at the diversion, went on to reminisce about another protest she attended in the last century – and that was it.

That was the sum total analysis of the disgraceful and disturbing events in North Frederick street where the Gardai behaved more like second-rate nightclub bouncers than a professional police force.

Clearly under pressure by her producer to keep discussion of this embarrassing Government/Gardai scandal to an absolute minimum Finucane, in a fluster, did as she was instructed.

Mmm…well…ah…I mean..we’ll move on very quickly. I think that deserves more conversation but I’m just watching my clock here and….

Watching her clock??? The discussion was taking place just half way through a two hour long show and this major public interest story gets a grand total of 1 minute 56 seconds coverage.

This is not news analysis, it’s blatant news manipulation. No doubt, Fine Gael and the Gardai are delighted with RTEs collaboration in this type of warped current affairs analysis.

But RTE cannot escape the fact that, day by day, its reputation as a professional and balanced current affairs outlet is reaching the same zero credibility rating as that of our police force.

Copy to:

Marian Finucane Show

RTE News and Current Affairs

Why the establishment media is silent on O Cuiv’s rebellion

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Sinn Fein’s decision to field a candidate to challenge the current President has wrecked the cosy arrangement between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour to keep their man in the office.

But consider what would have happened if the following scenario had evolved. Imagine if Sinn Fein had decided to support the conservative centre and then, dramatically, a leading member of the party broke ranks and attempted to force the leadership to change its decision by putting himself forward as an independent candidate.

Here’s exactly what would have happened:

There would have been an immediate wall to wall, seven days a week attack on the party by the establishment media led by the government broadcaster, RTE.

Sinn Fein members from Mary Lou McDonald down to local councillors would be relentlessly paraded, harassed and questioned across the establishment media for reactions and explanations.

So here’s my question:

Why is the establishment media completely silent on the dramatic decision by Éamon Ó Cuív to challenge his party’s presidential election strategy by putting himself forward as an independent candidate which, by extension, constitutes a direct and very serious challenge to Michael Martin’s leadership?

Here’s the answer:

The establishment media does not serve the interests of Ireland or its people. Their loyalty lies entirely with the ruling political class made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

The undemocratic attempt by these three parties to keep their man in the Park received strong and widespread support from the establishment media. Across radio, television and print the people were arrogantly told that they would not be getting an election, that it would be too expensive, that it would distract from Brexit and sure wasn’t ‘Michael’ doing a great job anyway.

But Sinn Fein’s strategy put a stop to all that patronising, insulting guff. Now, the establishment media has just one aim – to protect the interests of the corrupt centre of Irish politics by preventing a powerful outside force such as Sinn Fein from occupying what the ruling political class have always considered to be their personal fiefdom in the Phoenix Park.

To that end, the Irish people are about to witness the biggest, most ruthless anti-Sinn Fein propaganda campaign ever mounted by the establishment media. The campaign will, as always, be led by the cheerleader of the establishment media – the government broadcaster, RTE.

Copy to:

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour Party, Sinn Fein

RTE/Media

Éamon Ó Cuív

RTE presenter accidentally tells the truth

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Sinn Fein held their Ard Fheis last weekend amid an increasingly tense pre election atmosphere.   And because Sinn Fein poses the greatest threat to the corrupt centre of politics, the Government broadcaster RTE, was put on full propaganda alert to badmouth the party.

However, not all of the station’s presenters were paying full attention as the following hilarious incident demonstrates.

Brendan O’Conner, standing in for Marian Finucane, had just launched the standard RTE attack on Sinn Fein when one of the panelist’s, Norah Casey, strayed from the propaganda line and began to speak in high praise of Mary lou McDonald’s inspiring leadership.

O’Connor, probably dreaming about his Sunday dinner, initially didn’t seem to notice that the discussion was drifting away from the Government propaganda line. But the monitoring producer did notice and must have screamed something like the following into O’Connor’s earpiece:

Brendan, for fuck sake, wake up. That woman is praising McDonald and Sinn Fein, put a stop to it.

Confused and flustered, O’Connor struggled to get the propaganda line back on course:

Ok…eh…but now, given that this is..eh extraordinarily…for the first time, turning into a kind of love-in of Sinn Fein.

Can Mary Lou be a feminist icon given the quite recent history of Sinn Fein/IRA and the treatment of women and everything. Are people going to forget that quickly?

Laughing, Casey teased O’Connor over his confusion:

I knew I’d wake you up Brendan

While this was an amusing little incident it is noteworthy that O’Connor, in his confusion, accidentally spoke the truth:

Extraordinarily and for the first time [my emphasis] this is turning into a love-in for Sinn Fein.

And, as listeners know very well by now, it is only by accident that Sinn Fein and other anti-establishment parties will ever get a fair hearing from RTE.

Copy to:

RTE/Brendan O’Connor

RTE journalist Claire Byrne brings Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell to heel

 

By Anthony Sheridan

RTE journalist and Bertie Ahern admirer Claire Byrne found herself having to deal with a very nasty situation at the weekend. The incident was so serious, so obnoxious that she felt compelled to give it top priority on her weekly current affairs show, Saturday with Claire Byrne.

Never mind war, famine, political crisis or international terrorism, this was a matter so serious that the politicians on the panel were pressurised by Byrne into giving an immediate judgement on the matter despite the fact that they had no prior knowledge of what had occurred.

And what was the dreadful incident?

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell posted a satirical critique of three Fianna Fail members of the Cowen family on his Facebook page.

Farrell posted a mock up poster from the movie Back to the Future, with a picture of Barry Cowen and Michael Martin (not a member of the Cowen family) accompanied by a legitimate critique of the political policies of Ber, Brian and Barry Cowen   over the past number of decades.

Probably because of her admiration for former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern Claire Byrne was outraged by this ‘attack’ on an ‘innocent’ Fianna Fail family.

She first addressed her outrage at Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty.

Byrne: And what he’s saying in each of those instances is that the Cowen family and Fianna Fail put the interests of Fianna Fail before the interests of the country. It is below the belt stuff, isn’t it Regina, it’s pretty nasty?

What!!! A Fine Gael politician makes the political point that three Fianna Fail politicians, who coincidently happen to be members of the same family, put the interests of their party before the interests of the country.

I challenge Claire Byrne to state exactly what is wrong with that opinion. What exactly is nasty, below the belt or indeed untrue about Farrell’s very funny, 100% legitimate piece of political satire?

It really is worth looking at this broadcast in detail because it’s a good example of how far the establishment media and in particular journalists in RTE have become politicised in favour of the ruling political elite.

Byrne begins by pressurising Fine Gael TD and Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty into expressing outrage over the incident despite the fact that Doherty had no knowledge whatsoever of what had occurred.

Byrne:   It is below the belt stuff Regina isn’t it, it’s pretty nasty?

Doherty: (Making an immediate, uninformed judgement).

I didn’t see it until you put it in front of me a second ago. I had to double look at it to see was it a joke or somebody else. It’s not something that I could ever subscribe to. When you actually have to revert to being personal between two politicians or two political parties, I think you’ve lost the argument, I think it’s a pity.

Clearly Doherty was afraid to challenge Byrne’s outrage so she submissively fell into line.

But Byrne was not happy with that, she wanted more.

Byrne: So will you be speaking to Alan Farrell in your role as Chief Whip about that?

Doherty, probably fearing she might be seen as disloyal to a fellow member of the political elite, reassured Byrne of her willingness to deal with Farrell’s ‘pretty nasty’ behaviour.

Doherty:  I’m not happy about it but I’ve just seen it now and I’ll talk to him later on maybe.

Byrne then turned to Fianna Fail TD Jim Callaghan who also had no knowledge whatsoever of the incident but was more than willing to fall in line with Byrne’s outrage.

Byrne: Jim have you seen this?

Callaghan: No, I haven’t.

Byrne: Here I’ll just give you a copy of it there.

Callaghan: (instantly and without reading the article) I don’t like the idea of politicians referring to the families of other politicians.

He (Farrell) shouldn’t be making personal attacks on people’s family and it’s something I’d never do and I don’t think he should do it.

Later on in the programme former Environment Minister and Labour Party TD Alan Kelly also criticised Farrell’s post, saying it was “downright stupid”.

So let’s clarify where these politicians and this RTE/Fianna Fail supporting journalist stand on the issue of political critique/satire.

They believe that it is unacceptable for any politician (in this case, Alan Farrell FG) to criticise another politician (Barry Cowen FF) by referring to other members of that politician’s family who are or were politicians (Ber and Brian Cowen FF).

So, for example, the actions and policies of Brian Cowen, without doubt the most incompetent Taoiseach in Irish history, cannot be referred to in a critque of his politician brother Barry because they’re family.

Similarily, the actions and policies of the criminal Fianna Fail politician Charles Haughey can never be used in a critique of his son Sean Haughey, because they’re family.

And so on across the many, many Irish political dynasties that have done so much damage to Ireland and its people over the decades.

This, of course, is an idiotically bizarre idea because such references, such critiques are routine and totally legitimate.

So here’s the nasty truth…

Alan Farrel committed, or was perceived to have committed, the most heinious crime any Irish establishment politican can commit – he publicily mocked a fellow member of the ruling political elite.

The exchange of jibes and insults within the confines of Leinster house is fine, all politicians know it’s just a cynical game. But to publicly lampoon a fellow member of the ruling elite, particularly on a hated social media platform like Facebook, is unforgivable.

That’s probably why RTE journalist Claire Byrne was so angry, that’s probably why she used her immensely powerful media platform to bring Farrell to heel.

And it worked.

Within minutes of Byrne’s strong disapporval at this insult to her beloved Fianna Fail, the cowardly Alan Farrell removed the offending article from his Facebook page.

A disturbing example of the power of the establishment media.

 

Copy to:

Claire Byrne

Alan Farrell

Regina Doherty

Jim Callaghan

Alan Kelly

RTE complaints

RTE News and Current Affairs

Fianna Fail

Fine Gael

Formal complaint against RTE for bias

 

media-bias-in-action

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: A mouthpiece for a corrupt regime?

 

vote_no_to_rte_bias_and_groupthink_by_christiantruthteller-d8qk1f5

By Anthony Sheridan

There is no evidence or even a claim that the murdered MP Jo Cox was the subject of abuse on social media. The only mention I am aware of is that she received ‘malicious communication of a sexual nature’ at her parliamentary office. This could have been by phone, letter, email, in person or social media.

But this lack of evidence has not stopped many Irish politicians and mainstream media jumping on the hypocrisy wagon to cynically exploit Ms. Cox’s brutal murder.

One particularly disgraceful example of this exploitation of a murder to promote an obvious agenda occurred on RTEs The Week in Politics.

The panel, as usual, was heavily weighed in favour of the government/establishment.

Representing the establishment view was Dara Murphy Fine Gael and Thomas Byrne Fianna Fail. Journalist Elaine Byrne and the presenter of the show, Aine Lawlor, represented mainstream media.

Against this stacked panel was Mick Barry of AAA/PBP, representing left wing politics and the anti-establishment view.

The bizarre line of questions put to Mr. Barry clearly exposed the biased agenda of RTE and is worth analysing to demonstrate that truth.

Aine Lawlor: Staying with the Irish response to immigration, we have a short clip of the controversial UKIP poster that attracted a lot of attention shortly before Jo Cox was murdered.

Viewers were shown a news clip of a British right wing politician promoting a right wing poster in favour of Brexit shortly before a right wing extremist murdered Jo Cox then, bizarrely; Lawlor put the following question to left wing politician Mick Barry.

Why is the politics of fear travelling particularly, as it seems, with a lot of working class voters, Labour voters, left wing voters in Britain?

Mr. Barry, while in the process of condemning extreme right wing politics in Britain and America, was interrupted by Lawlor.

But you know here in the past turbulent, painful years there were many people on the far Left who did target politicians personally. Do you regret that, I know there’s a lot of anger out there but has there been too much personalised anti politicians campaigning?

So Lawlor moved from discussing extreme right wing politics in the UK and the right wing murder of Jo Cox to asking Barry to express regret for the angry reaction of Irish citizens to the wholesale destruction of their lives by mainstream politicians.

The Fianna Fail politician on the panel, whose party was principally responsible for the catastrophe, was not asked to express any regret for his party’s actions. Neither was the right wing Fine Gael politician whose party ruthlessly continued and added to the suffering of Irish citizens.

This biased strategy of showing a news clip and then demanding a condemnation or an expression of regret has become common practice within RTE current affairs and seems to target only Sinn Fein and left wing politicians.

Clearly puzzled by Lawlor’s line of questioning Barry asked her what she was referring to.

I’m referring to a number of incidents which I think everybody else on the panel would… I’m not going to single out specific incidents because I don’t want to get into the ins and outs.

I’m talking about the way politicians were harassed at their homes, I’m talking about the online abuse that they got, I’m talking about a level of protest that has been endured by politicians here and certain politicians in Britain. You’re condemning it on the far right, I’m simply asking do you regret and deplore it on the far left as well.

Lawlor’s comment ‘I think everybody else on the panel would…’ suggests she was about to declare that everybody else on the panel agrees with her comments and her line of questioning.

The Fianna Fail and Fine Gael politicians were then allowed to join the attack on the so-called far left with little interference from Lawlor and again were not asked to condemn or express regret for the catastrophic damage their respective parties have inflicted on Ireland and its people.

When they finished their hypocritical and largely inaccurate comments Lawlor once again attacked Barry and left wing politics.

You’ve heard the two politicians beside you saying there are issues with some people on the Left and the way they have been harassing politicians – do you deplore that kind of individual harassment?

Keep in mind that the issue under discussion was the activities of UK right wing politicians and the murder of MP Jo Cox by a right wing extremist.

Here are some facts:

Ireland suffered more than any other country in the world as a result of the global economic collapse in 2008. The reason Ireland suffered so much is that, over decades, our corrupt political system created an environment of zero regulation that allowed bankers, property developers, lawyers and other elites to do as they pleased.

The response of the Irish people to the catastrophe visited upon them by corrupt politicians was the most peaceful, most responsible in the world – without exception.

RTE, while always conservative, was once a relatively professional and well balanced broadcaster.

Since 2008, and particularly since a significant percentage of Irish citizens began to rebel against political corruption, the broadcaster has become little more than a mouthpiece for the corrupt political regime.

Copy to:

RTE/Aine Lawlor

Dara Murphy

Thomas Byrne

Elaine Byrne

All political parties

Political lies cause suffering and death. Enda Kenny is a political liar

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Political lies cause suffering and death. Enda Kenny is a political liar.

War is the most obvious and most deadly consequence of political lying. Over the centuries, countless millions have died because politicians lied when they should have told the truth.

But war is not the only cause of death as a result of political lies. There was a massive increase in the suicide rate following the economic collapse in 2008 (Recession directly to blame for up to 566 suicides).

These desperate people died, at least in part, because our politicians lied to them.

In Ireland, alone among Western democracies, political lying has become a fully accepted part of political discourse. It is also common right throughout the civil and public service.

Political lying has become part of Irish political culture principally because lying politicians are rarely challenged by the media.

Here’s Pat Rabbitte casually demonstrating this truth when asked about election promises regarding child benefit:

Sean O’Rourke:

You didn’t go into all that detail before the general election, you kept it really simple – Protect child benefit, vote Labour?

Rabbitte:

Well, I mean, isn’t that what you tend to do during an election?

The criminal politician Haughey lied right through his decades long career, including lying under oath at various tribunals and investigations. Despite the enormous damage done to Ireland and its people by this criminal’s lying he was, largely, fawned upon by large segments of the media and members of the establishment.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern almost certainly lied under oath at the Mahon Tribunal. My assertion that lying is the accepted norm in Irish political and administrative goverance is confirmed by the disgraceful fact that no action has been (or ever will be) taken against Ahern by any state authority.

Political lying is the principal cause of the catastrophic economic collapse of 2008 that resulted in thousands of suicides, massive emigration and the horrific destruction of the wealth, hopes and ambitions of hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens.

And yet, a disturbingly large section of the media and most of the establishment appear to be more than happy to live in comfortable denial amidst the wreckage and suffering caused by political lying.

The following is just a sample of various journalists, commentators and politicians who, for whatever reason, cannot or will not make the obvious link between political lying and the infliction of great hardship.

Caroline O’Doherty: Irish Examiner:

Kenny’s lie was:

A fisherman’s tale.

O’Doherty then went to use most of her article to advise Fine Gael on how best to present their (lying) leader to best advantage in the upcoming election campaign.

Caroline O’Doherty is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Editorial: Irish Examiner:

Kenny was, while dishonest, just a Walter Mitty character using:

Folksy parables.

The editor warned that Kenny must act quickly if he wants to be re-elected and, as always, took the opportuntiy to take a swipe at Gerry Adams/Sinn Fein.

The editor of the Irish Examiner is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Eilis O’Hanlon: Sunday Independent:

Kenny ruined it by going a ‘a little bit too far’ in attempting to portray himself as the man who saved the country from anarchy and, predictably, O’Hanlon blamed the media:

So why the outcry last week? The media, having got bored with the feel-good narrative which the Government has been pushing since the Budget, saw a chance to put the Taoiseach on the back foot.

Eilis O’Hanlon is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Michael Lehane: Morning Ireland (RTE):

On being asked did the whole issue matter:

It doesn’t matter but there is a political vacuum there because the Dail isn’t sitting so the focus didn’t come off it (but) it has gone the distance now.

Michael Lehane is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Pat Rabbitte: Labour TD: (Speaking on RTE):

The Taoiseach makes the point, perhaps in a folksy, homespun way.

Pat Rabbitte is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Noel Whelan: Irish Times:

Mr. Whelan believes that Kenny is a storyteller whose utterance was no accident.

It was part of a cleverly designed but clumsily implemented strategy from Fine Gael to remind voters of how serious the crisis was so as to talk up its part in turning it around.

Noel Whelan is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Gerry Adams: Sinn Fein president:

Mr. Adams accused Kenny of being a spoof who tells tall tales. Mr. Adams said he was not accusing the Taoiseach of lying but of just getting carried away with himself.

Gerry Adams is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Fergus Finlay: Chief Executive of Barnardos and former Labour Party advisor: (Late Debate RTE):

Why are we getting our knickers in a knot about it? Mother of God, this kind of thing happens all the time. It’s a bit of craic, that’s all it is, a bit of political craic and I don’t see how it affects anything other than the gaiety of the nation for a week.

I think it shows that we don’t have a sense of humour. You know, let’s get a grip for heaven’s sake, it’s about nothing.

Fergus Finlay is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Gary Murphy: Professor of Political Science, DCU (Late Debate RTE).

The Taoiseach does have a habit of self-aggrandisement or over-egging situations. He’s guilty of guilding the lily so to speak.

Professor Murphy is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Catherine Halloran: Political Correspondent Irish Daily Star: (Ryan Tubridy Show, RTE):

I think it’s his folksy way of trying to relate to people.

It’s better than telling lies. At least we know he has his finger on the pulse he met the man or woman who told him this and I don’t doubt for a second that he has met those people, he’s a politician… The fact that Enda does take the time out to stop and talk to people and listen to their experiences means he’s in a position to make judgement on them.

Catherine Halloran is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Shaun Connolly: Irish Examiner:

Mr. Connolly believes Kenny was simply caught out telling an over-excited porkie. He was guilty of a slightly embarrassing, but ultimately harmless, comment.

Shaun Connolly is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Copy to:
Enda Kenny
All individuals quoted
All political parties
Government

RTE: A government propaganda puppet

This Week is one of RTEs flagship news and current affairs programmes. On its website the programme is described as:

A look at events making the news in the past week with Colm O’Mongain and Richard Crowley.

The words to note here are ‘current’ and ‘events making the news in the past week’.

One of the major stories that dominated the news last week was the very serious allegations made against NAMA by Mick Wallace TD. Not only has this story potentially very serious consequence for Irish citizens but it also involves the Government, law enforcement agencies and politicians from our nearest neighbour in the UK and a possible investigation by the corrupt practices investigations unit attached to the US Department of Justice.

In a functional democracy there is absolutely no way a national broadcaster would ignore this very serious event in one of its flagship news and current affairs programmes, it simply would not happen.

It is very reasonable for Irish citizens to conclude that RTE/This Week made a conscious decision not to cover this politically explosive scandal as a result of political and/or business pressure.

The producers of News and current affairs programmes can reasonably argue that they have to prioritise what they will cover according to the importance and immediacy of events, hence the blurb on This Week’s website, ‘A look at events making the news in the past week.’

The producers of yesterday’s programme obviously did not think the very serious allegations against NAMA, which are linked to the political, law enforcement, business and administrative sectors of our nearest neighbour, were important enough to cover on the show.

Again, the producers of This Week can reasonably argue that other stories were indeed more important and therefore it was reasonable to give them priority.

So let’s have a look at the stories that the producers thought were more important than the NAMA scandal.

First item: The Greek crisis. This is an immediate, important and ongoing story that requires deep analysis and reporting. It did not, however, warrant a full 45 minutes (out of less than 60 minutes) of reporting and analysis.

Second item: Reaction to reports on the future of IAGs Aer Lingus London slots.

This is not a major story and most certainly is not more important than the NAMA scandal. No independent producer would give priority to this story over the NAMA allegations.

Third item: The ongoing imprisonment of Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt. This is not a major story. Again, there is no possibility that a truly independent producer would give priority to this story and ignore a major national/international financial scandal that had just come to light.

There can be only three reasons for the omission of the NAMA story from the This Week programme.

One: Gross incompetence in that the producers are incapable of distinguishing between a major breaking news story and a relatively minor old story.

Two: The producers hold strong personal political/ideological views and make their decisions on that basis.

Three: The producers are under direct or indirect political/business pressure to ignore or at least minimise coverage of certain categories of news stories.

Personally, I believe the third reason is the truth but in the end it doesn’t matter in terms of RTEs credibility as an independent broadcaster.

The brutal reality is that RTE, for whatever reason, is rapidly evolving from being a professional, independent broadcaster into a propaganda puppet of the State and other interested parties.