Tag Archives: Anthony Sheridan

From top: A demonstration on North Frederick Street following the forced removal of housing activists from a vacant property on the street last week; Marian Finucane; Anthony Sheridan.

When RTÉ 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 on RTÉ Radio One, 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.”

Marian 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 balaclavas in the Basque country or dealing with the Real IRA or whatever. We don’t expect to see gardai in balaclavas policing genuine protests about housing.”

Another panelist: “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 another panelist changed the subject by referring to a protest Ms Finucane had participated in 48 years ago. Ms Finucane, seemingly 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.

Possibly 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 RTÉ’s collaboration in this type of warped current affairs analysis.

But RTÉ 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.

RTÉ news bias – Destroying credibility (Anthony Sheridan, Public Inquiry)

Meanwhile…

Hmm.

Previously: Garda Sources Say

Meanwhile…

There you go now.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald (left) and President Michael D Higgins

Anthony Sheridan writes:

Sinn Féin’s decision to field a candidate to challenge the current President has wrecked the cosy arrangement between Fianna Fáil, 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 Féin 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,

RTÉ. Sinn Féin 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 Fáil, 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 Féin’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 Féin 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 Féin 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, RTÉ.

Why the establishment media is silent on O Cuiv’s rebellion (Anthony Sheridan, Public Enquiry)

Previously: Anthony Sheridan: Citizens Are Not ‘Customers’ Of The State

Rollingnews

At your service: Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection Regina Doherty and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

The people of Ireland should know that Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party have removed the status of citizenship from them and replaced it with the inferior status of ‘customer’.

The process was initiated in 1997 and has been refined and expanded upon ever since. Ministers and civil servants no longer address citizens as citizens but as customers.

For example, during a recent interview on RTÉ Radio 1’s ‘Today with Sean O’Rourke’, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty referred to old age pensioners as ‘customers’.

Thinking that this may have been a ministerial slip of the tongue I had a look at Ms. Doherty’s department website and found that the status of citizenship had indeed been removed and substituted with the lesser title of ‘customer’

A quick search across other departments confirmed that this is official policy. Here for example is an extract from the Department of the Taoiseach:

Our Commitment to our Customers

The Department of the Taoiseach is committed to providing a professional, efficient and courteous service to all our customers…We will treat all our customers equally and make every effort to ensure that the services we provide reflect your needs and expectations.

This is a deeply disturbing development as it strikes at the very core of the democratic relationship between citizen and state.

It strongly implies that ministers and state officials have taken ownership of the power, wealth and resources of the state. That they, and not the citizenry are – The State.

It implies that [now former] citizens are mere ‘customers’ that must comply with laid down conditions if they wish to ‘do business’ with the new owners of the state.

This quote, taken from the Dept. of Public Expenditure and Reform, makes it crystal clear that it is the department that is the provider of goods and services and the citizen is the customer:

Deliver quality services with courtesy, sensitivity and the minimum delay, fostering a climate of mutual respect between provider and customer.

The development further implies that ministers and civil servants no longer see themselves as (civil/public) servants, elected and employed to serve people and country but rather as wielders of state power over and superior to the power of the people.

I spoke about the issue with a senior official in the Dept. of the Taoiseach who was genuinely surprised that I thought the matter was of any importance.

Here’s why I believe the issue is of crucial importance:

Democracy literally means ‘rule by the people’. Not by politicians or civil servants but by the citizenry. In representative democracies certain elected citizens are temporarily appointed to govern on behalf of the people.

They are granted state power by the people to govern on behalf of the people but the possession of that power does not raise their status above that of any other citizen.

It does not create a relationship whereby the politician is master and the citizen is a customer.

Similarly, many citizens are employed to serve the State on behalf of the people across a wide range of government departments but no individual civil servant possesses a status or a power above that of any other citizen, they remain servants to the democracy of the people.

This policy of downgrading the sacrosanct status of citizenship by replacing it with the inferior and cheap status of ‘customer’ is obnoxious to the very meaning of democracy.

Customer means:

A person who buys goods or services from a shop or business.

In the world of trade this is a perfectly legitimate definition. An individual becomes a customer when they decide to purchase goods or services from the owner of a business.

In a functional democracy citizens do not purchase goods or services from politicians or state officials operating under the illusion that they own these goods and services.

Citizens avail of goods and services that they (the citizens) have provided for the greater good of all the people.

It is the function of politicians and officials to serve the people by organising and dispensing these goods and services according to need.

They do so as fellow and equal citizens, not as overseers doing business with customers.

Citizenship means:

A person recognised under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation.

It’s unlikely that this removal of the status of citizenship is a deliberate conspiracy to weaken democracy but that is exactly what it will do. Once a concept is accepted by an authority it quickly becomes the norm.

That’s why the official I spoke to at the Dept. of the Taoiseach was so puzzled by my concerns.

She has already accepted those who deal with her department are not citizens but customers and therefore should be dealt with as such.

Similarly with Minister Doherty. She obviously feels totally at ease in referring to citizens as customers. But by so doing she is over-turning the centuries long democratic principle that politicians and state officials are servants to the people and not, as the term ‘customer’ suggests, masters over the citizenry.

But even more crucially the Minister has lost sight of the most important democratic principle of all – that citizens ARE the state and therefore can never be customers to it.

Citizenship Status Has Been Removed From The irish People (Anthony Sheridan, Public Enquiry)

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

ferriter

Historian Diarmaid Ferriter

Anthony Sheridan writes:

This article is dedicated to the millions of Irish citizens who have suffered and continue to suffer because of the absolute refusal of Irish journalists and commentators to call a spade a spade.

The spade in this instance is the disease of political corruption and how that disease has infected every aspect of how our country is governed.

The commentator in this instance is historian Diarmaid Ferriter.

Mr Ferriter is a highly regarded academic, a man who is steeped in the study and history of Irish politics, a man who regularly frequents the airwaves and print media delivering his opinion and analysis on current and past events and in particular on current and past political events.

Because individuals like Mr Ferriter are highly respected they have a profound influence on how people think, how they form their opinions, how they understand what’s happening in politics and in the country in general.

When such influential individuals fail to understand the reality of how our country is (mis) governed they do serious damage to any hope of rectifying the situation. They become, in effect, part of the problem.

Political corruption is the most serious problem facing our country today. Political corruption lies at the core of almost all that is rotten in our country. Political corruption should be front and centre in the minds of every single journalist and commentator who writes or speaks about what is happening in our country today.

And yet, the word ‘corruption’ is rarely uttered or written, the term ‘political corruption’ is avoided like the plague by mainstream media and political commentators. Political corruption is never, ever the subject of a major, stand-alone documentary by any media outlet.

Mr Ferriter provides us with the most recent example of this depressing fear of calling a spade a spade. In a 900-word article in the irish Times on the subject of political corruption he manages to avoid using the word even once.

Even the headline avoids the reality. Cute Hoorism Has Cast A Long Shadow’

Cute hoorism is not proper English; it is a meaningless term in the broader world. It is strictly an Irish term with just one function – to avoid calling a spade a spade.

It serves just one psychological function for those in denial – If I don’t write or utter the term ‘political corruption’ then I don’t have to acknowledge its existence and therefore I don’t have to identify those responsible for the disease.

Opinion makers and in particular academic opinion makers should use proper, accurate and powerful words to drill right down to the heart of very serious problems such as political corruption.

Mr Ferriter’s headline should read: ‘Political Corruption Has Cast A Long Shadow’

In common with most other commentators Mr Ferriter knows there is something very seriously wrong with Irish politics but is not prepared to state the brutal truth – our political system is intrinsically corrupt, it is beyond repair, it is the principal reason our country has morphed into the status of failed state.

Instead of identifying and criticising those responsible, the ruling political elite principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour, Mr Ferriter, in common with many other deniers, blames the ordinary people of Ireland.

“They (the people) were only too happy to embrace the abolition of rates that finished off all pretence of autonomous local government, enhanced an unhealthy concentration of power at the centre and had serious consequences for the funding of local services.”

He goes on to confirm his total misunderstanding of today’s political realities by completely misreading the reasons for the rise of the water protest movement.

While acknowledging that the rebellion against Irish Water was justified he asserts that the issues that triggered the protest were – charges, pollution, fairness and conservation.

Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong again.

Political corruption and betrayal was and still is the overwhelming reason for the rebellion against water charges. A significant and growing percentage of the population have lost faith in the political system and by extension, state authority.

Quoting Arthur Griffith, Mr Ferriter writes of individuals, operating in an imaginary Ireland, disparaging those making serious efforts to resolve serious national problems.

“Pious patriots praised an imaginary medieval Ireland and then wondered why Ireland was decaying around them but were determined to preserve their picturesque ignorance.”

Mr Ferriter is writing about himself. He operates in an imaginary Ireland that still believes the old corrupt political regime is fit for purpose, that it works for the good of the people and the country.

That is why he cannot bring himself to utter the dreadful ‘corruption’ word, it would mean acknowledging and therefore having to deal with the brutal reality of a hopelessly corrupt political system.

Here’s my interpretation of the above quote as it applies to Mr Ferriter and other commentators who cannot or will not acknowledge the brutal reality of our corrupt political system.

Delusional commentators praise and defend an imaginary democracy and endlessly wonder why that democracy continues to decay around them. In order to preserve their picturesque ignorance they insist on only writing and speaking in the language of cute hoorism.

Diarmaid Ferriter: Denial and the language of cute hoorism (Anthony Sheridan, Public Enquiry)

Diarmaid Ferriter: cute hoorism has cast a long shadow (irish Times, April 15)

image

Sinead Cusack and her son Richard Boyd Barrett during Bloomsday 2016

 

On Saturday.

On RTÉ’s Marian Finucane show, Ms Finucane interviewed actress Sinead Cusack who is also People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett’s mother.

After Ms Cusack gave birth to Mr Boyd Barrett in 1967, he was adopted by Valerie and David Boyd Barrett in Dun Laoghaire. Ms Cusack and Mr Boyd Barrett were reunited some years later.

During the interview..

Marian Finucane: “Well, I mean, it’s well known now, that your son is People Before Profit and all of that. And you found him years…”

Sinead Cusack: “My son is not just People Before Profit. My son is Richard.”

Finucane: [laughs] Well, your son, Richard, of People Before Profit is where he would be known mostly by our audience. What age were you when you became pregnant?”

Cusack: “19.”

Listen back in full here

Earlier: Taking The Michael

Top pic: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Meanwhile…

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The panel of the Marian Finucane show on September 4: Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness; Suzanne Kelly, a tax lawyer; Patsy McGarry, religious affairs correspondent at The Irish Times; Professor of Modern History  Diarmuid Ferriter; and Senator Michael McDowell

Anthony Sheridan of Public Inquiry writes:

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 Fáil 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

Formal complaint against RTE for bias (Public Inquiry)