Goodbye RTÉ



Scott De Buitléir

I’m very, very proud to have been able to present and produce what eventually became RTÉ’s sole programme for the Irish LGBT community [Cosmo on RTÉ Digital Radio]. Over six years is a long time to spend on a radio show, though, especially as a volunteer.

Recently, with the onset of the Marriage Equality Referendum on May 22, RTÉ has been keen to ensure that they cannot be seen as being biased towards either side of the issue. Running an LGBT radio show on the national broadcaster, therefore, has become close to impossible.

While RTÉ aims to maintain balance on the issue, I was left with avoiding the topic until closer to polling day, when we could’ve had a carefully-planned debate on the show.

Despite trying it for a short while, I eventually couldn’t bear denying that this plan meant missing out on reporting the various events, advocates and news of the Yes campaign – the campaign fighting for the rights of those who The Cosmo was aimed at.

Avoiding the issue until such a debate would’ve made a mockery of any LGBT programme, which is undoubtedly pro-equality by default. It would’ve also made a mockery of me personally, as an openly gay broadcaster, founder of an LGBT publication [EILE Magazine] and an advocate of equality for all.

As for a debate, well – let’s face it: RTÉ has already been broadcasting plenty of debates on the issue lately. Whether or not they have been balanced is a question for someone else to answer. Either way, my personal feeling is that certain No campaigners have been given far too much national media attention than they are due. I couldn’t bring myself to adding even more illogical hate speech to the airwaves.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to finish up my time with RTÉ Digital Radio.

Scott De Butléir, this afternoon.

Time To Move On (Scott De Buitléir)

Previously: Great, Scott

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77 thoughts on “Goodbye RTÉ

  1. newsjustin

    Fair enough. He couldn’t get beyond his personal views to do his job properly. That’s fair enough.

    Dil seems to be managing it over on Newstalk.

    1. Medium Sized C

      You just compared him to somebody in a different situation who doesn’t have the same restrictions imposed on her by her employer.

      And he is leaving because of the restrictions.
      That is a really stupid thing to say.

    2. Mrtits

      Newsjustin playing a blinder for YD today. On them referendum posts like a trap door spider. BOOOM!

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        +1 For someone who gives out about how regular these posts are, news is sure quick off the mark

        1. newsjustin

          I don’t think I do give out about them. Have I?

          I always think it’s fair game. BS have a standpoint on the subject, so they post lots of items on it. Fair enough in my book.

    3. Christopher

      His job? He wasn’t being paid, he volunteered- you should really read what you decide to comment on.

    4. Nice Anne (Dammit)

      Man stands up for his principles and some anon on the internet doesn’t like like.

      Says more about what an arse you are than anything about him.

  2. wearnicehats

    For every “Yes” thingy he wanted to punt could he not just have had a “no” one at the same time. Given that it’s a done deal and everyone who votes no is a deviant worthy of instant death then it wouldn’t have hurt his cause at all and he would have remained firmly unbiased and kept his job and been really cool too?

    1. ahjayzis

      He’s not just a gay guy presenting any old show, I’d agree with you if it was Derek Mooney on his old show – but it’s an LGBT-themed show. Why on earth should a show for the LGBT community have to give airtime to people campaigning against LGBT rights whenever they want to talk about LGBT rights? It’s Orwellian.

      RTE aren’t actually obliged to provide 50/50 balance within single episodes or even single shows – the no side could be given equal time elsewhere on the schedule – the digital schedule in this case – and no one would have a problem. Muzzling RTE’s only LGBT-aimed programme from even reporting events occuring during the biggest debate in gay rights in a generation is ridiculous overzealousness.

      It’d be like women’s hour…. you get the point.

      1. newsjustin

        You assume that the LGBT community wants zero debate on this referendum. That they are all of the one opinion on this matter. That’s not right.

        1. ahjayzis

          They’re 95% in favour, that’s about as ‘all in favour’ a large enough population will ever get to.

          5% of the audience does not merit 50% of airtime.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            They can have 5% of the time.

            Funny how you’re fully on the side of equality when it comes to this but less so when it comes to the actual SSM bit….

          2. newsjustin

            I’m voting Yes Don.

            Proposing that 5% of the population/listeners get 5% of the say/coverage is simply supporting the idea that the majority gets to say what the minority can/cannot do.

          3. Odis

            “5% of the audience does not merit 50% of airtime.” – Thats right if they want 50% of the broadcast they can always go to Broadsheet.

          4. ahjayzis

            My argument is to provide balance – elsewhere in the schedule, the regulations permit that. I strongly doubt the tiny, tiny demographic of gays opposing marriage equality are listening to much digital youth radio for some reason.

            But my point is Gay people will have months of constantly having this issue as a confrontational topic on every radio show on every channel, where their relationships, motivations, fitness to parent, equality, dignity as citizens is put up for debate and dissected, mainly by people with no dog in this fight.. It’s really, really unpleasant and not some sanitised exercise in pluralism for many.

            It’s not a whole lot to expect that the only LGBT oriented show in the country on a niche digital station not have to have John Waters on to discuss how seeking to have the same rights as our siblings is a ‘perversion of marriage’ or how Breda thinks we need to be loveless eunuchs, or David dogwhistling about ‘two men and a child’, and for RTE to provide balance elsewhere in the schedule. It’s really not.

          5. Jonotti

            Nobody listens to that show any way. It’s listenership ratings are beyond tiny.

          6. ahjayzis

            yeh newsjustin, dats what I want. gr8 readng comprehenshun hun, wel dun xxx

            Jog on troll.

          7. Joe the Lion

            @ ahjayzis – balance me hole ;)

            I get your point but in an LGBT show the idea that only the Yes side (or 95% of the time) could be represented is not correct – he could have hosted the show on the referendum and used that opportunity to for example deconstruct how to canvass to people on the fence or don’t knows, i.e. used his public platform but cleverly so as to not breach the rules. RTE would not have dared fire him after the Waters debacle. My two cents anyway.

          8. yrtnuocecnareviled

            Spot on, Ahjayziz.
            We have had months of poisonous bigots telling us that what children need is to be brought up with hate and shame.

          9. ahjayzis

            @Joe the Lion

            From my reading I think his problem wasn’t so much with hosting a 50/50 debate, but having to balance EVERYTHING ELSE. Like, could he plug or mention an event without mentioning an event from the other side? It’s basically a gagging clause.

            “Avoiding the issue until such a debate would’ve made a mockery of any LGBT programme, which is undoubtedly pro-equality by default. ”

            There’s his main point, the country’s only LGBT radio show would have to pretend the biggest issue in LGBT rights in a generation wasn’t happening until nigh on referendum day where he would hold a debate on it, OR, row in with the incessant dog-whistling debates on every other show with every episode being about how gay people may or may not be full citizens. I think I’d throw in the towel too, I mean what’s the show even for?

          10. Odis

            Who’s to say gays don’t enjoy RTE’s regular output, that straight people enjoy so much, you know The News, The Weather The Angelus, Person of Interest, etc.

      2. Jess

        No its like the way RTE air 12 years a slave right before they air Birth of a Nation. Balance you know.

        1. pedeyw

          Intolerance, rather then 12 years a slave. Let’s keep it within the same time period.

  3. Jane

    Good for him. It’s risible that he would not be able to discuss how the community his radio show was aimed at was campaigning for an issue of extreme importance to them.

    Also, does anyone know what First Families First mean? Is it anything to do with lifeboats and presidents?

    1. Caroline

      “First Families First explained that in the event of a marriage breaking down and one of the heterosexual parties becoming homosexual and marrying another homosexual, that new homosexual partner would have more rights to a child than its own biological parent.”

      Which is fine, but in my view it doesn’t go far enough. There is nothing here about the threat of Sea Dragons. If a Sea Dragon carries off the biological child of a biological human parent, then constitutionally speaking they have bagsied that child and, due to the constitutional inviolability of the Sea Dragon lair, there’s nothing the courts can do about it. Sea Dragons have a longstanding pact with Space Vampires, and I don’t think it’s scaremongering to suggest they will rely on that pact to exact terrible terrible revenge on us all.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Is there legislation for what happens to kids during the zombie apocalypse yet? I really feel this is more pressing than Space Vampires.

        1. Stewart Curry

          According to the bible, zombies can’t get married, and any previous marriages are null and void: “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” – Matthew 23:30

          Also, the undead by nature are not open to life, so they have no right to children. It’s not discrimination to treat them differently, equality doesn’t mean treating people the same way.

          1. Gav D

            “Not open to life” is the most dreadful zombi-ist nonsense I’ve ever heard. They prefer zombie-american. Check your privilege.

          2. pedeyw

            Could a zombie couple adopt a zombie child? Let’s assume the child’s parents are not undead, do they have custody over an undead child or would the zombie couple be free to adopt him/her/it?

          3. Nice Anne (Dammit)

            Ohhhh another sprouter of Bible-Zombie crud. Can you PLEASE just leave religion out of our life-challenged existence?

            It is bad enough that we are denied our basic civil rights in a country where you are only revered as a Zombie if your Da is God.

      2. Spaghetti Hoop

        Liveline already covered this – sandwiched between the Head Shops and the Property tax.

      3. Jane

        Well it’s good that there’s someone looking into all this for us – talk about unforseeen events!

        Why is the YES side covering all this up? It’s a clear and present danger.

    1. ESV

      That’s right, he is the son of Eamon De Buitlear because there are only two De Buitlears in the whole of Ireland, or two people called “Butler”.

          1. Jonotti

            it was a rhetorical point about nepotism in rte. abie philman bowen, the de butlers, etc.

  4. Clampers Outside!

    Fair play to him, to have imposed that rule on such a programme is pathetic !

    Are there any LGBT persons adding balance to Mass on Sunday on RTE 1… no? Then close the fupping thing down.

    1. newsjustin

      I’ve never heard any RTE transmitted Mass offer any opinion on a referendum. So the point is moot.

      He wanted to use his public service show to promote one side of a referendum debate and was upset when he wasn’t allowed. All under the simplistic assumptions that “ah sure all gay people want the same/will be voting yes anyway.”

      1. jonjo

        So youve watched mass on the telly?
        Thats lazier than watching the paddys day parade on tv.

  5. Owen C

    Serious question – Is there any religious-themed programmes on RTE? Have they managed to avoid the Gay Marriage Referendum debate? If “No”, then were they either (a) biased or (b) able to deal with it in an unbiased way? If “Yes”, how come they can do their job properly but he can’t?

      1. Mikeyfex

        It is what it is, boss. The two sides of any argument can be represented together with a bell curve with the same amount of bell-end on both sides of the vertical line that divides it up the middle.

    1. ahjayzis

      Doesn’t Eileen Dunne do one? the God Slot? Giggidy.

      Does it get mentioned during the various Christian masses they broadcast either I wonder or do they ask them to drop it from the sermon or wha? How do you balance that one like? I volunteer Panti doing a few readings from the book of Dolly.

      1. Owen C

        Interesting side note – had the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the front door last week. They call around every so often, very nice guy. Asked me if i was going to vote in the ref, how i was going to vote. Said he didn’t care which way i was voting, said it was my democratic choice, and then recited some verses from the bible which, in his view anyway, showed that Jesus always stayed out of political matters way back when, and the church should do likewise now. Was quite enlightening to hear that from him.

      2. newsjustin

        No. I’ve never heard any religious themed programme (or the masses/services they broadcast) mention SSM – or any other issue up for referendum.

    1. Jane

      One that deals with matters of interest to LGBT people, I think it’s fairly safe to assume.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        The broader question I guess is why, when citizens are to be treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation, do we box them up under labels and acronyms?

        1. Jane

          Well we aren’t all treated equally yet and we have to be able to name the people at whom the inequality is aimed to understand the nature of the inequality. Consider, for example, the case of people who reckon they don’t see colour. They possibly have good intentions and are trying to say (in a hapless manner) that they don’t discriminate against people on the basis of colour. But they’re also denying the experience of people of colour and removing one of the ways in which people who want to argue against discrimiation for specific reasons can identify the aspect of themselves which leads to the specific type of discrimination they experience.

  6. Karen

    I’ll be completely honest and say I think he’s missed a trick here. Some of the most persuasive arguments to undermine the NO campaign have actually been made by some of the crazies they’ve sent into battle on their behalf. Had he played his cards right and cherry picked those to represent the NO view he could’ve made some juicy headlines and internet soundbites to appall those on the fence , he knew no one actually listening to his show would’ve been swayed so there’d have been nothing to lose.

  7. Louise Hannon

    Putting a broadcaster of a specifically slanted show on notice that he cannot comment on what’s happening in the referendum which affects the broad topic of this programme puts the broadcaster in an impossible position. Newstalk with Dill never had that false politically correct restriction imposed. Thank goodness most people can see through this restriction at RTE for what it is, a method to muzzle one side of the debate. The sooner RTE is reformed the better.

  8. Patrick Piers

    Pretty sure that according to this post RTE never even sent Scott the email saying he could or couldnt discuss the referendum.

    The fact that he wasn’t even on their mailing list is significant here. A show which gets a listenership of just over a late night local radio show is probably not even on the management’s radar, never mind anyone else’s.

    This has also been planned in order to get Scott the maximum publicity:

    1. PPads

      He could have approached the subject in a way that pushed the buttons and got him kicked out without actually breaking this stupid rule. It was allegedly the threat of legal action which brought RTE to this point so maybe that is what was also needed in order to redress the balance Scott? Its called having balls.

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