His Master’s Voice



From top” Ryan Tubridy; Dr Julien Mercille

Ryan Tubridy and other RTÉ stars are paid enormous salaries to defend the establishment and quell dissent.

Dr Julien Mercille writes:

Gemma O’Doherty, the investigative journalist fired by the Irish Independent for being too investigative, gave a recent speech about the state of journalism in Ireland.

She emphasised how the media has become numb and unwilling to challenge the establishment, declaring that “press freedom and the ability of the media to hold power to account is more compromised today than at any other time in the history of the state”.

We have just had yet another example of how the media represses voices of dissent and glorifies those who police the airwaves.

Indeed, comedian Oliver Callan was on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy  when he shook the comfy Irish establishment by daring to mention the “elephant in the room”, Denis O’Brien. He was referring to the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal and Siteserv among other things.

It is not so important what Oliver Callan said exactly. The crucial point is that as soon as he challenged politicians and powerful figures (he also criticised the Healy-Raes and Michael Lowry), Ryan Tubridy started interrupting him.

Tubridy said that Denis O’Brien was not there to defend himself, so that no mention should be made of him. He underlined how all what those individuals did was apparently “legitimate”, “very legitimate”, “just legitimate”, etc.

This is very revealing of the mindset in the media: we cannot talk critically on any news programme about anybody who is not also physically present on the same programme. This is precisely the type of convention that results in a media that challenges virtually nothing.

The event shows why Ryan Tubridy is paid so handsomely, half a million euros in 2014 and three-quarters of a million euros in 2012, when austerity was biting the rest of us.

It is to defend the establishment and provide them with a sympathetic public tribune on the radio and television to voice their ideas and interests.

Here is the latest list of salaries of RTÉ’s “top talent”:


But the media machine doesn’t stop there. Not only does it exclude dissenting voices, it also presents endless rosy accounts of those who police what may and may not be said.

For example, a few days after Tubridy interrupted Oliver Callan on his show, the weekend edition of the Irish Times featured, front page, a long piece about Tubridy and the Late Late Show.

Patrick Freyne, who wrote the article, followed The Late Late Show team for a full week as they prepared the show on which Oliver Callan would appear.

What does the piece reveal? The subtitle states:

“We went behind the scenes at one of the world’s longest-running chatshows to see how they choose guests, plan interviews, and squeeze celebrity, tragedy and line-dancing into a single two-hour programme”.

Cutting-edge investigative stuff indeed.

The piece is very long, 5,200 words. In it, we learn a lot of small details, such as the fact that Tubridy likes to choose his ties, what he eats for dinner, how long he sleeps before a show, etc.

There’s only one small paragraph about Oliver Callan mentioning Denis O’Brien on the show. It states that as Callan started talking about O’Brien and media timidity,

“Tubridy trie[d] to intervene for the sake of balance”.

Conclusion: thank God we have people like Tubridy to rectify the balance on television, i.e., to make sure no one talks about Denis O’Brien.

But what should be done to counter this state of affairs in the media? It’s very simple: build an alternative media. By that I mean a quality media that tells the truth and provides good stories about what matters.

The problem in Ireland is that there is virtually no alternative media. Many people don’t even know what the concept refers to.

Instead, we’ve adopted the “headless chicken” strategy. This consists in a few scattered people blogging here and there, but with no coordination whatsoever. Some of those blogs are excellent, but they’re isolated and it often takes time to learn they even exist.

Many people are also busy writing furiously on Facebook and Twitter and actually believe that this is what an “alternative media” is.

But it’s not. It’s very easy to tweet a million things and argue on Facebook and feel good about ourselves, but we’re not going to get very far with that. In fact, it distracts from the real work that must be done, whether it is to establish a good progressive quality news outlet or doing some activist projects or actually investigating something.

I would therefore argue that the more pressing task ahead is not so much to criticise the mainstream media, but to build alternative outlets.

Julien Mercille is a lecturer at University College Dublin. Follow him on Twitter: @JulienMercille

Related: More Pricks Than Kicks

185 thoughts on “His Master’s Voice

  1. Jimmy 2 tones

    He is just another horrible self serving creep. How people pay for TV licence for these hacks beggars belief. It’s corrupt to the core & they want you to pay them for it. Incredible.

  2. Tony

    A childish article Julien that is amateur and misleading. Tubs intervened so that RTE wouldn’t be done for libel. Any media has to stick to the laws. If Julien wants to research something and then report on it, he is welcome to it. But just calling for “an alternative media” without saying who would fund it, and who would do the actual spadework is so studenty as to be laughable.

    1. Jimmy 2 tones

      Utter rubbish, everyone can see RTE always have an agenda to protect the elite. This is just another example.

      1. Tony

        Everyone, always, protect and elite are rather general terms don’t you think? Are you one of Juliens students?

        1. Owen C

          RTE’s ‘handling’ of guests is a direct reaction to the Iona/Panti-Bliss issue when they had to pay out a fair chunk to people who weren’t there to defend themselves. Turbs has been managing controversial comments in the exact same way when John Connors was on and when the homeless lady Lyndsey Robinson. Its not just when [Redcacted] is involved. Its a clear response from RTE’s legal advisors. No conspiracy to protect the great and good, just a worry that Ireland’s libel laws are very strict.

          Re the Irish Times piece on the Late Late. Julien comments, cattishly:

          “Cutting-edge investigative stuff indeed.”

          He’s the fupping television correspondent. His job is to give a bit of easy-read-background to how the TV show is run etc. He’s not trying to do a Woodward and Bernstein copycat.

          1. Tony

            I agree with your piece, but RTE have been doing this for years. Its not just a reaction tot he Iona thing. In fairness Brendan O Connor should have intervened there. Print time investigates is the place for these kind of statements, or a current affairs show with rigour. Like your comment about the IT piece, the Late Late is not CSI and doesn’t have the resources to accurately investigate live comments. The BBC do the same thing and always have. Its the libel laws that are the issue.

          2. ahjayzis

            They didn’t ‘have to’ do anything. Their response to a solicitors letter was a cheque for tens of thousands of euro. And they’ve set a precedent that a gay person cannot identify what they believe to be anti-gay prejudice.

            New libel laws would be great.

            A national broadcaster with a fupping hint of a backbone would be better.

          3. Tony

            No they haven’t. Lots of gay people called loads of people prejudiced on media during that campaign, and the word homophobe was used like confetti, the difference is, those people were there to defend themselves. Its called fairness. Ask your teacher about it in civics class.

          4. Martina


            If RTE are being extra careful then how come Paul Williams was allowed to say whatever he wanted about SF just before the election on the show?

          5. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            How come the restrictions on what we hear can be put forward as an excuse for keeping the restrictions we have on what we hear?

            Did I miss a paragraph?

    2. Gorev Mahagut

      +1. The main problem with journalism in Ireland is the libel law.

      RTÉ is actually a public organisation. It’s ultimate responsibility is to the people, who pay for it. I find it strange that so many on the left endorse the right-wing ambition to fully privatise broadcast communications (like our government tried to do with the water suppy). Sure, we’ll all save €160 a year in the licence fee, but the Murdochs and O’Briens will be the real winners.

      1. J

        The main problem with journalism in Ireland is that it is littered with below par columnists that confuse gossip with social history. Jules is confusing Tub’s drivel and IT blather with serious , quality journalism. I would argue for a cull on all Johnnys, Endas and Juliennes whose parents coached them in the art of “having your say”.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Really? You regard a column from a university lecturer as journalism?

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            So why did you cite this column as an example of what is wrong as journalism if it isn’t journalism?

          2. Vote Rep #1

            He didn’t. He said that the column confusing Tub’s drivel and IT blather with serious , quality journalism, not that it was journalism.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            Nothing, he was halted before he could be libel, if he was going to at all, say anything that would be.

            I think the issue is Tubs’ jumping into ‘preventative’ mode before anything is said which is basically a gag on any discussion at all. The laws MUST change of we are to have a functioning independent media.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            So what was he saying that suggested he was about to say something libellous?

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          You did.
          “The main problem with journalism in Ireland is that it is littered with below par columnists that confuse gossip with social history. Jules is confusing….”

          Why? Why say columns like this are the problem with journalism if you don’t think it’s journalism? Seems pretty stupid.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            You said bad columns were a problem with Irish journalism and then immediately went on to criticise this column so you did say it. It’s ironic that you’re complaining about journalism while showing a really poor command of language.

    3. ahjayzis

      Libel is not ‘people talking about other people not in the room’.

      Despite what showering the IONA crowd in cash would have you believe.

      The millions of euro the state has written off to the direct benefit of DOB under a government with proven links to DOB as detailed in the report of a judicial tribunal is in the public interest and needs to be talked about.

      1. Tony

        Needs to be talked about accurately. That takes research and reporting. Not the shouty sh1te you are banging on with. Che Guevara poster?

        1. ahjayzis

          Do you agree that any reporting might be a tad constricted owing to the fact that the person concerned has been allowed dominate vast, vast swathes of the country’s media?

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            You did

            “Tubs intervened so that RTE wouldn’t be done for libel.”

            What was Callan saying that required Tubs to protect rte from libel law?

          2. ahjayzis

            You did, you plum;

            “Tubs intervened so that RTE wouldn’t be done for libel. Any media has to stick to the laws.”

          3. Tony

            To be seen to try and right the balance is an important part of any libel trial. Did the publisher make efforts to provide the other side. Tubs was just doing his job. Blame the law if you want, not the man. Thats no fun though is it- too complicated.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            So Callan was not saying anything remotely libellous and you were just caught out trolling? Quelle surprise.

          5. ivan

            I think there’s a sad, inevitable truth in this; Callan didn’t say anything libellous but RTE have been stung a few times and it’s easier to shunt the discussion away from iffy territory *before* anything libellous is said than to have to apologise/pony up after the fact.

            I’d say that it’s writ large on every other studio wall in Montrose for the benefit of their presenters – ‘DON’T MENTION REDACTED’.

            So yeah, even if your guest isn’t going to say anything libellous about one of the most litigious and sensitive press barons in the country, it’s safer to just shut the guest up, and not have your guest say *anything* about one of the most litigious and sensitive pres barons in the county.

            that’s one hell of an elephant in the room. As Clampers said, it’s the mindset of preventative mode that’s the problem.

    4. Tish Mahorey

      “Tubs intervened so that RTE wouldn’t be done for libel”

      There was nothing libelous being said.

      He intervened because he’s part of the clique.

    5. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

      complete and utter rubbish

      you are a piece of dried dog crap

    6. Tara

      There are no laws against asking questions and Dr. Mercile is qualified enough to ask questions which are set to stimulate debate rather than hand you directions. As an academic I’m sure he would be happy to supply you with references in any format you require. (Harvard perhaps?)
      RTE is the mouthpiece of too many Irish businessmen and our so-called media, similar to our joke of a government, should be called out for continuously shielding those who should be put under greater scrutiny. Ireland used to be somewhere where questioning the status quo was expected now there are more words redacted than printed and once-serious journalists are more like lackeys due to fear of libal. It’s beyond ridiculous.
      And ‘studenty’ isn’t a word.

        1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

          @ Broadsheet Spawned A Monster

          Somebody accused you of being me using a different name the other day.
          -You’ll never understand how that feels.
          -It hurts.

          (Tara is right, except when he/she spells ‘libel’, but you can overllook that.)

    7. Arthur O Hara


      Your’s is actually the childish article!

      Tubridy is a total disgrace, dual charactered overpaid individual totally unfit for purpose.

      Just yesterday morning he ended up talking on his RTE radio show to a lady in County Clare, whom he knew! She simply stated how she just saw a jet in the sea, being towed passed her seafront window and wanted to know what was going on. Tubridy passed it off as of no consequences wondering was it a tragedy that had occurred! This is where he really let himself down, in his narrow-minded twisted reality! He knew everything about what was happening, and if he fid not he should not be in the highly paid job he’s in! He should have stated what he knew but choose instead to even ignore hints from the lady who called him. When she tried to elaborate on what she knew about it he changed the subject to when they previously met. He totally failed in a balanced way to mention what was going on – something that has the entire population of Ireland and a much wider international community glued to social media, something that is absolutely and categorically newsworthy!

      Ryan Tubridy has the mistaken impression that most people of our sovereign nation are stupid and acts accordingly in not broadcasting news in a fair and balanced manner. If he is not prepared to do that and be honest with citizens who pay his wages he better seek a new job rapidly.

      Everybody knows that David McGowan a businessman in the west of Ireland is setting up a Quirky Nights Glamping village in Enniscrone and was transferring his Boring 767 from Shannon Airport by sea to Enniscrone, Co. Sligo.
      The whole world know about it but mainstream Irish media have, bar TodayFF decided to ignore this massive logistical undertaking.

      In displaying his dysfunctional, unethical qualities and an obvious psychological deficit he has on this occasion again decided unwisely to be deceitfully unbalanced in his profession in a most obvious way to any logical proactive positive thinker.

  3. Jake38

    A shorter version of this article might just be that RTE and the Irish Times are cr*p.

  4. Rugbyfan

    Finucane gets a good salary for Wheezing her way through a couple of hours over the weekend!
    Bobbo…..you get how much for reading the news?

    If that’s what has to be paid so be it, but seeing as their salaries have on the whole fallen over the years (Mr. Duffy excluded) would it be reasonable to expect the licence fee to fall?

  5. Funster Fionnanánn

    This is isn’t America. Free speech demonstrate exist. Grow up ye clowns.

      1. ahjayzis

        If you can’t say that you think someone is homophobic based on their actions / what they’ve devoted their lives to, without a barrage of solicitors letters, there’s no free speech.

        Free speech is the freedom to voice your opinion without being bankrupted.

        A billionaire recently stymied our entire print and broadcast media from reporting a speech made by an elected representative in our national parliament FFS.

        1. Tony

          There is also the right to ones name and reputation. Does that go out the window? If you are referring to the hysterical homophobic witch hunt that was going on, then its a very bad example as no-one could prove that the people being targeted were homophobes. RTE rightly paid out and would have to do so again. The shouty students that pass for commenters here need to grow up and live in the adult world.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            They wrongly paid out. Waters said hay people wanted to destroy marriage. Clearly he’s a homophobe. Anyway, what did Callan say that could be regarded as libel?

          2. ahjayzis

            Dedicating your career to opposing any extension of rights to gay people makes you homophobic. Do you similarly believe there is no way on earth to prove that the KKK might be a bit racist, apart from all that opposition to rights for black people? Honestly, what breathtaking cognitive dissonance.

            The right to a name and reputation should not preclude anyone else’s right to discuss public controversies. This state has shovelled millions at certain oligarchs, I have a right to ask under what circumstances and to want that investigated as the Moriarty Report shows FG have form in this.

            I’m sure you’d have been first on barricades to defend the good names and reputations of upstanding men like Haughey, Burke, Lowry, Lawlor.

            You’re a useful idiot for that kind of parasite.

          3. Tony

            See these are just comments by students (I presume you are both students). In court its a different matter. You need to actually prove stuff like (I know, quelle bore). That means grown up stuff like evidence, facts, figures, dates.

          4. ahjayzis

            Precisely. Chapter and verse of the quotes, columns and campaigns lead by those accused of homophobia would prove they were in fact, homophobic. But RTE hadn’t the stomach for it.

            Similarly, nothing Callan said isn’t already in the public domain.

            Again – where was the defamation?

          5. ahjayzis

            Not a student.

            But by that token I presume you’re a ruddy faced middle aged failure who inexplicably looks up to the worst examples of businessmen who’ve gained with no risk and dodgy deals – with some deluded notion that you are not in fact an under performing disappointment, but a temporarily embarrassed entrepreneur frustrated by fortune.

          6. Clampers Outside!

            “There is also the right to ones name and reputation.”

            Here lies the problem. The man does NOT have a good name and reputation. He destroyed that when he gave money to politicians for favours.

            Let him prove a good name if he wants to claim one. But to suggest he has is to deny the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal. He does not.

          7. ahjayzis

            Tony – he has no good name. You don’t have an unqualified right to one. And when a tribunal finds against you – you’ve lost it. Hope that helps, pet. x

          8. ahjayzis

            Tony, you’ve made a fool of yourself in this thread as a credulous and vacuous pawn of what you consider to be your betters.You haven’t made a single cogent point. Think it’s time you got off the pot.

          9. Owen C

            “Waters said gay people wanted to destroy marriage. Clearly he’s a homophobe.”

            No, that doesn’t make him a homophobe. It just makes him an idiot. He quite possibly is a homophobe, but you can’t prove it because of that. Just because YOU think something is so does not make it ok to spread such an opinion. You really need to take a read up of Ireland’s libel/slander/defamation laws.

          10. jeremy kyle

            How do you distinguish him being an idiot from him being a homophobe in this context?

          11. Owen C

            (a) its difficult.
            (b) calling him an idiot has less negative defamation implications than calling him a homophobe
            (c) option (a) is therefore the safer choice

          12. ahjayzis

            If someone says black people are out to fraudulently get council houses or something – black people specifically – it’s be totally beyond the pale to suggest that person is racist in their motivations then?

            So you can defame an entire subset of the population with impunity. But it’s defamation to suggest that you’ve targetted a specific subset of the population because you are prejudiced against them.

            I’m just making sure it’s not the case that it’s *JUST* gay people you’re allowed make sweeping, horrible statements about without being accused of harbouring a prejudice.

          13. MoyestWithExcitement

            “How do you distinguish him being an idiot from him being a homophobe in this context?”

            You don’t because homophobe I’d the only rational explanation for his motivation. I don’t think ‘he’s an idiot’ is a conclusion in very many legal cases.

          14. Owen C

            If you could prove the claim was completely irrational, then you’d be ok to say it. But if the ‘victim’ of the defamation could prove there was a reasonable (even if incorrect) basis for their views, then you can’t call them a racist.

            Like, re homophobe, all you need to do is create a reasonable basis for your views (same sex marriage will damage traditional marriage), and you can claim for defamation.

            It all comes down to down to whether you can prove the allegation and whether you offered a disclaimer or “it was clearly just a personal opinion” alongside the original claim

          15. Owen C

            @ Moyest

            can you prove he is a homophobe? Cause that’s definitely needed in most legal cases.

          16. ahjayzis

            But what about my right to express my legitimately held opinion? Remember the context was a personal interview with Rory O’Neill, his thoughts, his opinions. He said homophobes, O’Connor asked which homophobes.

            It’s my opinion that Iona members hold a prejudice against me, I can probably put together several hundred pages of articles and hours of video to justify that impression i have, and the fact that they exist as an organisation to limit my civic rights.

            There has to be a protection for my expressing my opinion without having access to the private thoughts of bigots. Panti was right – that’s Orwellian.

          17. Owen C

            And they have a right to their good name. So you are free to offer your opinion, but you would be forced to prove it if it interferes negatively with their right to their good name. I think we can all agree that “homophobe” (like racist, and when it comes to [Redacted} “corrupt”) has a significant negative meaning. I suppose the balance between right to opinion and right to a good name is a difficult one. Ireland has decided on a conservative approach to that. That may not be the best way, but, please, don’t describe it as orwellian in nature. Orwellian in nature would mean you couldn’t even critisise someone’s actions, which we are quite free to do here in Ireland. The problem ultimately comes down to the highly subjective definition of something like “homophobe”. It could in reality be exceptionally difficult to prove beyond doubt, absent unequivocal statements of hatred etc.

          18. ahjayzis

            I think it’s Orwellian that someone can suggest I’m a danger to children and I have to engage with them as if that was a valid point and basically argue that I’m not.

            When it’s pretty bloody clear that that is a slur that comes from prejudice – but that’s unsayable. That’s Orwellian in my book.

            Debasing a group of people? Go for it.
            Calling someone out on it? See you in court.

          19. ahjayzis

            “The idea of two men in shiny suits, there, standing on the church steps that’s satire of our civilisation, that’s what it is. And that’s what it’s intended to be.”

            “if two brothers applied to adopt a child, they’d be laughed out of court but the fact that they’re buggering each other would make a difference, would it?”

            “I don’t know about you but if was 17/18 and my child was stolen and they give him to two gay people I would make my own arrangements”

          20. MoyestWithExcitement

            “the fact that they’re buggering each other….don’t know about you but if was 17/18 and my child was stolen and they give him to two gay people I would make my own arrangements”

            But this doesn’t prove he dislikes gay people….apparently.

          21. ahjayzis

            I mean if it’s such a mental contortion to divine the prejudice how come this is so easy?

            “The idea of a black man and a white woman, there, standing on the church steps that’s satire of our civilisation, that’s what it is. And that’s what it’s intended to be.”

            “if a black man and a white woman applied to adopt a child, they’d be laughed out of court but the fact that they’re riding each other would make a difference, would it?”

            “I don’t know about you but if was 17/18 and my child was stolen and they give him to a black man and a white woman I would make my own arrangements”

          22. Owen C

            The problem here is that the claim is definitive in nature “XXX is a homophobe”, with definitive negative implications (ie any reasonable person would agree it is negative), but the actual word itself is highly subjective and so somewhat unprovable in most situations. Waters is not demanding that gays cant sit down on the bus. He’s arguing for a continuation of status quo’s, ie marriage and adoption. He think new ideas are terrible ideas, not that gay people are terrible people. While many people would reasonably view his opinions as homophobic, many other reasonable people would view them as backward and outdated and insulting. Hence the problem with using that particular word.

          23. Owen C


            “But this doesn’t prove he dislikes gay people….apparently.”

            Dislike, or irrational fear/hatred? Again, if we’re going to refer to particular terms, lets examine their actual definitions.

          24. MoyestWithExcitement

            “He think new ideas are terrible ideas, not that gay people are terrible people.”

            Ah. So this is about you disagreeing with the notion of him being a homophobe and you’ve dressed it up as some lecture about libel laws. Obviously.

          25. Owen C

            I’m repeating what he has said. If you can’t win a rather basic argument on here on libel laws, please for the love of God don’t do anything stupid on this issue in the real world. I think Waters comments are repugnant. I also would not be hugely confident about being able to prove he is a homophobe in a court of law. But yeah, its all about the hidden agendas with you.

          26. MoyestWithExcitement

            Of course and it’s always about “winning arguments” on the Internet with yourself.

          27. ahjayzis

            To quote Panti’s speech on it again;

            “People who have never experienced homophobia in their lives, people who have never checked themselves at a pedestrian crossing, have told me that unless I am being thrown in prison or herded onto a cattle train, then it is not homophobia”

            chimes pretty closely with;

            Waters is not demanding that gays cant sit down on the bus.

            Oh, well in that case!

            It’s bullshit. Presenting homophobia as some nebulous theory that can never be proved, like nailing jelly to a wall – when racism or misogyny are open and shut cases.

            The man’s talking about me in those comments. He’s never met me. That’s prejudice plain and simple.

          28. ahjayzis

            To quote Panti’s speech on it again;

            “People who have never experienced homophobia in their lives, people who have never checked themselves at a pedestrian crossing, have told me that unless I am being thrown in prison or herded onto a cattle train, then it is not homophobia”

            chimes pretty closely with;

            Waters is not demanding that gays cant sit down on the bus.

            Oh, well in that case!

            It’s bull. Presenting homophobia as some nebulous theory that can never be proved, like nailing jelly to a wall – when racism or misogyny are open and shut cases.

            The man’s talking about me in those comments. He’s never met me. That’s prejudice plain and simple.

          29. Owen C

            “racism or misogyny are open and shut cases”

            Eh, are they? Is Donald Trump a misogynist? Is Nigel Farage a racist? They quite possibly are, but again I think most people would be fairly careful about putting it down in print given how difficult it would be to prove it. You seem to be missing the point here – this isn’t about what we all think and know. Its about what we can prove fairly easily. Until Waters says something along the lines of “i hate gays” or “gays are terrible” or something nice and blunt like that, you’re going to find it difficult to defend a claim of defamation from him. Wish it away all you want, but there’s reality for ya.

          30. Nigel

            This is why you never hear these opinions expressed except in muttered whispers and hand-written notes passed from hand to hand.

          31. Tony

            Its all about you ahjayzis. Should we have different laws for libel when its about homophobia, or will you do with the same laws as everyone else? Whereas the law may be complex and an ass, the point is simple.

          32. Nigel

            Silly ahjayzis making the law about him. Tony likes his laws depersonalised and divorced from human consequence.

          33. Owen C

            You’ll all notice the original references to “clearly homophobic” have now moved to “disliking gays” and “prejudice”, neither of which come anywhere close to the definition of “homophobic”. Again, let me be clear, Waters is a s person with an incredibly backward view of modern society thoroughly at odds with the cosmopolitan, inclusive and secular trend quite evident in everyday life in this country, but Irish laws would seem to protect him from much of the claim of homophobia.

          34. ahjayzis

            And my point is that racism, homophobia, misogyny may not exist as real things under Irish law – but they do exist in real life. And a backward, repressive law doesn’t change that. Certain people are bigots, whether or not the law is written to defend individuals who condemn groups of people.

            We all have a constitutional right to free expression of our opinions and beliefs – and I believe these people are homophobic, misogynist, theocratic bigots. You can’t legislate that opinion away from me or tell me I’m incorrect when the evidence is plain to see, whether or not an Irish court is blind to anything but the telepathically read thoughts of the accused.

          35. Nigel

            Pretty sure saying someone dislikes gays or is prejudiced against gays or is homophobic are all part of the same rich tapestry. It would be quite difficult to be any one of those things without being all of the others too.

          36. Owen C

            “Can’t say on national TV” does not mean “legislate away your opinion”. You’re entitled to any opinion you want, as reasonable or crazy as you want it to be. Its when you put that opinion out into a public venue that you may be asked to prove it’s authenticity.

          37. ahjayzis


            Let’s not forget RTE threw as much money as they could at these people, as fast as they could.

            The case hasn’t actually been tested.

          38. Owen C

            Yes, which I’ve been at pains to point out: this is not cut and dried one way or the other. Its a subjective issue. RTE took action based on legal advice. Only one side of this debate has been using definitive terms such as “clearly homophobic”.

          39. ahjayzis

            His statements are objectively prejudiced against gay people if read by any reasonable person, I’m not being strident about that as a means of arguing.

            What the law says or does not say doesn’t change that fact.

            Again, contrast it with them being about couples of mixed race and show me a person who thinks they’re not racist.

            If what he said isn’t homophobic, then homophobia does not exist and any loose opinion on the ‘dangers’ of the thousands of gay people in the country, teachers, doctors, the guy on the street, is not out of the bounds of decency or fair play.

          40. Nigel

            What’s bizarre is the notion that there’s something, I dunno, unfair or out of order with describing the idea that gay people should not be allowed to marry or gay people should not be allowed to adopt as homophobic. That there’s some higher standard required, that homophobia as a phenomenon only exists at a particular level of hatred or virulence rather than simple, stubborn, everyday prejudice. Pointing out that something is homophobic draws worse ire than homophobia itself.

          41. ahjayzis


            Unless you’re ISIS throwing gays off buildings, it’s all just “the other side of the argument”.

          42. MoyestWithExcitement

            We had an article here on BS a few weeks ago about Irish rap starting to feature black people and the author was offended by the notion that there is racism in Ireland. Iirc, his line on that was along the lines of ‘maybe there’s some but it’s not as bad as….’ Feminists in the west are routinely told to their problems aren’t real problems because of how they’re treated in parts of Africa and the middle east. This isn’t unique to gay people. It’s about cognitive dissonance and some emotional issue on the part of the person who makes the claim as opposed to being about gay/black/female people. This is evidenced by the fact it’s often the same people who’ll speak against all 3.

          43. Tony

            The problem there was that anyone who was against gay marriage for any reason was labeled homophobic. The two are not the same thing. Unfortunately the victim screaming has gotten so loud now that everyone pussyfoots around without actually saying anything. Its much worse in the states and the UK, but we are getting close to the same liberal fanaticism here where anyone who has a differing opinion to the predominant secular/liberal one is immediately branded a mysoginist, racist, homophobe, transphobe or whatever. The no-platforming movement being a great example of the nuttiness of it all.

          44. Nigel

            Opposing gay marriage is fundamentally homophobic. It’s understandable that people get defensive about it, but imagine being on the receiving end of it for a moment. Accusing people of throwing the term around in a campaign between a homophobic idea and a non-homophobic idea is disingenuous at best.

          45. ahjayzis

            Tony you have every right to an opinion that you deserve more protection and rights from our country than I do as a fellow citizen of a supposed Republic.

            Unforch babes, that does not mean you’re deserving of any special respect or kid gloves because of them. I have every right to think you’re a small, grasping, mean-minded bigot opposing improvements to others lives at no cost to your own.

            It’s not a brave stance you take, it’s a cowardly one, as your life will change not one iota whatever way it goes.

          46. Tony

            So over 40% of Irish people are homophobic. Its basically a war-zone out there. No jobs, no publicity, no funding, no help, no legal protection. Eh? For real? Or are they just homophobic in your opinion.

          47. Tony

            Ahjaysis, at least you dont have a truckload of chips on your shoulder and you’re not bitter. Thats why you dont jump to nasty personal ad-hominem attacks at the first chance you get. Its why you can see other peoples perspective, and its why you come across as a well rounded happy person. xx

          48. ahjayzis


            Like I said, you don’t have to want to kill gays to be homophobic. It’s a spectrum. My granny loves me but she’s still pretty anti-gay. It’s a generational thing I suppose. I still love her and all.

            You’ve never met me, but you think I’m less than you, unworthy of the things you take for granted. You want me to pay the same taxes as you but receive less of the protections.

            Does it make more sense if I use the word prejudiced instead of homophobic?

            If you think I should be disadvantaged or treated less well than you based on one part of me, ignoring whether I’m a good brother, son, worker, member of the community, you’re discriminating against me based on that fact. And that’s a prejudice.

          49. Tony

            To be honest, I couldn’t give a tinkers toss if you are gay/straight or whatever. God bless your granny, the oul’ homophobic dear. Take a leaf from her buke.

          50. Nigel

            40%? You’re probably lowballing it, but sure. It’s a fallacy to assume that a phenomenon in decline will be evenly distributed as a phenomenon rather than on a spectrum, and really there’s no escaping the fact that if you voted no, you voted to extend a homophobic restriction on a social institution. You’re just uncomfortable with people telling you so, and resentful, and therefore dismissive of other people’s experiences. I’ve seen people respond similarly to women who talk about everyday harassment on the street. Doesn’t fit with your experience or your ideas, therefore can’t be happening, therefore the women are lying for some advantage, therefore…. and so on down that rabbit hole.

          51. Tony

            Whats the figure for racist mysoginists? Or just general pr1cks? Got that handy?

        2. Clampers Outside!

          Following the ideas in this thread, might I add another question….

          When Una Mullaly says… that all men are potential rapists she IS being a misandrist.

          When Una says… ‘ when I say “all men”, I mean only the “bad men” ‘ …….she IS most definitely being a fuppin’ obvious trolling misandrist.


  6. Steve

    I see the shinnerbots are computing away on this post… Care to defend commandant Gerry on the earlier post??

    Or is it better to ignore and hope it goes away :)

  7. Cillian Doyle

    This article is spot on! It’s high time the parties of the left with their failing newspapers (The Socialist, the Socialist Worker, etc) and the trade unions with theirs (Liberty, UniteWorks,etc) banded together to fund a proper one stop shop for left/progressive news and analysis. There’s an abundance of good writers here who would be delighted to work for such an outlet.

    We really need to get moving on this!

    1. DubLoony

      You are suggesting that they unite to achieve a common goal?

      That right there is the problem with the “Left” in this country.

  8. HappyDub

    Ever wondered why RTE wasn’t sold? Why it wasn’t ‘taken off the balance sheet’ a la Irish Water?
    Because it always was & will be a sympatethic mouthpiece for the government.

  9. Jesus Wept

    I have never paid for the license.The TV goes on once every 6 months for a dvd when we have time.RTE don’t supply anything I might view through my laptop although there is an argument to say that RTE pushed me to look elsewhere for information and or entertainment.I’m 43 now and can remember as early as 12 or 13 being dissapointed with RTE.My tuppence.

      1. Jesus Wept

        People will not die or find themselves on the Street without RTE.
        Your example is completely stupid.Do you really hold RTE in such high regard?
        I would doubt it based on your other contributions to Broadsheet.

  10. Joe cool

    Dobbo. 195k to read the news. He gets paid more than the (so) called leader of the country. He’s just shy of the president of the United States. To read the news. No wonder decension will never be allowed

  11. Tish Mahorey

    I stopped relying on Irish newspapers for actual news about 10 years ago. Even the Irish Times cannot be trusted anymore.

    We really do live in a Banana Republic. We’re a corrupt African country, except with white people and in Europe.

    1. scottser

      It’s too cold to grow bananas here. If we must be an organically named nation state then I move that we be a spud republic and our president be called ‘Mr Potato Head’.

    2. kellma

      There is a truth in what you say but I really do wonder if other countries (not just the African ones) are just as bad….. where there is power, there is corruption, hardly without exception.

    3. Rugbyfan

      Well the only pages to believed are those with the sports results………..then again!!!

  12. 15 cents

    ill never forget it, the audience applauding Callan and Tubridy actually trying to hush them down. He’s a spineless hack. However, ‘build another media’ .. yea, ok, ya heard him gang, lets get to work. I’ll youtube ‘how to make an alternative media’ theyn we’ll pool all our money together and build this damn thing amiright!! woo!

  13. Frilly Keane

    George Lee!:!:!::!::!
    are ya codding me

    For wha?

    Cheezuz t’nite
    where did I go wrong

    1. Tony

      I am here to point out the law rather than the guff. I expected Mercille to do it, but as usual he disappoints.

  14. Eoin

    I’d say ‘gatekeeping’ abilities must be a requirement for new RTE TV presenters. More important than personality anyway. I’d say Tubridys producer was screaming in his ear!! Anyway. Boycott the license fee! Why are we paying for this garbage? I watched a show on RTE the other day. Appeared to a be an RTE production through and through with an Irish presenter and all. Great historical show, very high production values. I was impressed with RTE. I was impressed with RTE until I realised it was a BBC documentary series originally and RTE had reshot the host sections with an Irish host. But the BBC doc had segments with the host interviewing experts. The RTE version cut those interviews and slotted solo talking segments…..with other experts. A second rate rehash of a quality BBC documentary, Irished up to look like RTE made it. Really poor.

      1. Bonkers

        yeah and population of Britain is 64m, Ireland 4.6m.

        RTE has nearly 2,000 staff producing drab content. Channel 4 has 200 staff producing content that consistently wins awards.

        1. Tony

          Channel 4 outsources its production. Like TG4. Channel 4 is watched by very few.

        2. Rugbyfan

          +160. I attempted to watch Republic of Telly last night. My ruptured knee ligament was funnier!

        3. rotide




  15. Reddy

    I think Julien nails it when he talks about the rather dispiriting prospect of people spewing into the various social media platforms and confusing them for a really existing alternative meeja.

    It’s a real narrowing of vision, but its also a consequence of people being completely torn apart from any memory of really existing alternative media here.

    As far people pissing and moaning about the mainstream media in Ireland, I guess its like the weather – part of our conversational flow.

    While I agree with any call that asks for people to “build alternative outlets” it’s not a great starting point if we’re going to just completely plead ignorant or outright dismiss the many many different experiences and vehicles that have popped up over the years, be that Indymedia to Dublin Community TV, or even the various alternative print projects, pirate radio , or the whole network of community radio stations across the country, who, despite what we may think, have worth while experiences to offer in building a future alternative media landscape. Even if you think they were shit, there’s real experiences to be learnt from.

    With that in mind, I always thought the purpose of radical writing was to push people into the arena of action and inspiration, so ear marking what outlets could look like, or at the very least acknowledging whats happened already, even if that’s to point out errors of judgment is a better starting point.

    Calls for people to just do something, anything – have a desperation to them that doesn’t suggest there’s much thought out coherency about the practicalities of building alternative media. It just leads to an all too familiar and unfortunate chorus of:


    Maybe if we all wrote letters to Santa Claus.


  16. rotide

    Good call Jules

    Shut RTE down and start an alternative media. Who’s good at media in this country? D O’Brien, he might be a good place to start.

    Seriously, glad i missed this today.

  17. some old queen

    I don’t blame Ryan for cashing his paycheck. He comes from a political background which means steer of it on screen. If you think he is a prick you should try arguing with his brother to get a public funded psychiatric appointment more than once a year.

  18. Gary

    The mere mention of one mans name inspires immediate fear and panic……now that’s power…Kim Jong Un style

  19. Truth in the News

    It was a pity when the Workers Party used to visit North Korea that they did not
    take a few of their friends in RTE with them and leave them there, all RTE has become over the years is mouthpiece for what ever crowd in power so they can hold on to their overpaid jobs and perks while at the same time tell us all that they are public service broadcaster……as with Irish Water abolish the licience fee
    How come they had no debate on huge salaries at Ornua and all the rest of them
    wasn’t it interesting that Joe Duffy had no phone in, how could he when he’s on
    over 400K himself.

  20. Andy

    Meh, more crap.

    This whole article is about begrudgery.

    It’s all fluff and bluster designed to let Julian tut tut over their salaries.

    If julien really wanted to fight the man, why doesn’t he start something himself. a blog maybe, have a go at redacted amd everyone else he loathes (I.e. people with money or assets), signing off his name, and let’s see what happens.

    Or, he can keep doing his cushy lecturing job in UCD, picking up his cheque and snipping at everyone from the sidelines with opinion pieces void of any research or objectivity.

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