Tag Archives: RTÉ Bias

RTE Director General Dee Forbes during an Oireachtas hearing last year

“RTÉ – and all Public Service Media organisations (PSMs) – prizes its independence, objectivity and impartiality. It’s in our DNA and, truthfully, it’s an established principle in Irish society.

Yes, we have the usual conversations about fairness and balance, from all sides, but I wouldn’t call it political pressure and I don’t think that is something that RTÉ is subjected to.

To be frank, the principles to which we have adhered for decades, and to which all PSMs adhere, are fundamentally designed to combat fake news anyway.

We have been battling fake news since our foundation and our very existence is a marker in the sand against disinformation.

This is why PSMs are a cornerstone of democracy, and anyone who thinks that’s just a soundbite should look now to Russia, to Poland, to Romania.

Societies can pivot very rapidly and without strong PSMs that pivot is all the easier.”

RTÉ DG Dee Forbes.

Also: Deesingenuous, Deeplorable and Deeply dippy if not positively Deemented.

Why public service media is “designed to combat fake news” (RTÉ)

From top: RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan; Mary Lou McDonald and Arlene Foster in Derry for the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee; 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 Féin represents the greatest threat to this exclusive political club and for that reason is frequently targetted by establishment media.

RTÉ 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 Lyra 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 Lyra McKee.

RTÉ 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 RTÉs 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 Féin [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 Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald was interrogated, bullied and insulted in a disgraceful display of bias by Miriam O’Callaghan/RTE on Today with Seán 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 Féin by the establishment media and that is the threat that Sinn Féin, 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 RTÉ 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.

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Venezuela president Nicolás Maduro

Putsch?

Pfft.

President Maduro stays in office despite large May day protests in Venezuela (EuroNews)

Meanwhile…

Alice writes:

Did you hear Sean O’Rourke Show [RTÉ Radio One] yesterday discussing Venezuela? The two panelists are well known to be pro-US. Not that Sean O’Rourke told the listeners. Rory Carroll (Guardian Ireland correspondent) is married to Ligimat Perez Garcia, who happens to be extremely anti-Maduro. Carroll himself wrote a book lamenting the fact that Chavez got elected. The other panelist Eileen Gavin works for Global Risk Consultancy Verisk Maplecroft (which is pretty much a neo-conservative consultancy agency).

Previously: Escalating

Pic: AFP

Good Lord.

Anyone?

Watch back here

From top: Seán O’Rourke; Former Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.

The former Tánaiste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, along with the fellow former Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, of Fianna Fáil, spoke to Mr O’Rourke ahead of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May facing a leadership vote of confidence later today.

While speaking to Mr O’Rourke, Ms Fitzgerald spoke about the difficulties of confidence motions; how a minister usually knows their department “inside out”; how a Tánaite must be prepared for difficult questions; and how she was “vindicated” by the Disclosures Tribunal.

On her resignation as minister in November 2017 and her political future, Ms Fitzgerald had the following exchange with Mr O’Rourke:

Seán O’Rourke: “You saw the rough and the smooth, particularly the rough side of it.”

Frances Fitzgerald: “I certainly did, as Michael Noonan said to me ‘you were cut off in full flight’..”

Ms Fitzgerald laughs

Fitzgerald: “….which is very true.”

O’Rourke: “And you resigned amid that controversy over the treatment of Maurice McCabe and the handling of the tribunal, sorry, not the tribunal, but the inquiry presided over by Mr Justice whose name I can’t quite remember.”

Fitzgerald: “O’Higgins. It was the commission that there was a query about which turned out not to be a proper query at all.”

O’Rourke: “[Justice] Charleton then ultimately, he effectively vindicated the way you’d handled that. But do you think you’ll see the Tánaiste’s office again or what are your hopes…”

Continue reading

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.

On his RTÉ Radio One show this morning, Seán O’Rourke managed to not ask Irish Independent editor Fionnan Sheahan about yesterday’s High Court decision yesterday to allow inspectors from the Office of the Director Corporate Enforcement into the paper’s parent company.

The bias.

It never stops.

Good times

Yesterday: An Inspector Calls