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RTE Political Coverage


MINISTER

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Jun 6, 2004
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132
Am I the only person in Ireland who feels that the coverage of Southern Irish politics is extremely biased in favour of Fianna Fail and the PD's?

What makes me think this is I have yet to observe or hear a government spokesperson/minister being asked a hard question on RTE; or being pressed for an answer to the question asked rather than making a speech which is what they seem to be able to get away with now.

Also there is never a murmur when a government minister is "not available" whenever there is an opportunity for debate. Just listen to taoiseach Ahern who always seems to be reciting a rehearsed answer to pre interview submitted questions.

I would single out the following for pro government bias: All news presenters, all morning Ireland presenters. Also Sean O'Rourke, Mary Wilson, Miriam O'callaghan (her brother is a failed FF candidate in Dublin) Geraldine Harney (sister of Mary) and regular commentator Noel Whelan (another failed FF candidate!)

They seem to fawn over a government member and denigrate anyone who opposes FF/PD policy.

FF must be thrilled that they have all their people in place to help spin their message for the election.

Some bloody democracy. You will never see RTE refer to an independent think tank such as TASC (http://www.tascnet.ie) because their work highlights the governments lack of direction.

Also, when the government altered the Freedom of Information office and scope a few years ago there wasn't a murmur from RTE which was surprising as they are supposed to be the Public Service Broadcaster.

Thank heavens for Matt Coopers objectivity!
 

LowIQ

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Feb 9, 2005
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287
Just one of the many biases, I'm afraid. The licence fee needs to be abolished.
 

RobinsReturn

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Mar 12, 2007
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16
You certainly do have a point. I have begun to notice this over the past year or so and thought it was just me (I'm not a government supporter). Whatever about the political background of individual people (in fairness to RTE, anyone who is interested in politics comes with some kind of personal agenda/political background) their failure to ask tough questions and to give Ministers a hard time is getting increasinly frustrating for listeners. I find myself shouting questions at the radio sometimes and wonder why what seems obvious to me to challenge politicians on, the presenters just seem to move on. Since David Hanly left Morning Ireland, it's just not the same in terms of listeners being guaranteed that anyone going on there would get a hard grilling. Aine Lawlor is about the only one willing to really challenge people
 

MINISTER

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Jun 6, 2004
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132
RR,

Your reply has really reassured me as I was wondering was it just people in my immediate circle who had the same opinion as me vis RTE?

RTE really do let ministers woffle on without interruption. Imagine an unbiased Paxmanesque interviewer on RTE.

What really drove me mad was when Dobbo gave Ahern his showpiece when there were (and still are) so many obvious questions. eg. Was Ahern hiding his money so he would get away with paying less financial support to his ex wife?

I would love to see RTE acting to their public service remit and seeking answers to questions that the ordinary Joe would like to hear. The pro FF bias is shameful.

M
 

owenfeehan

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Jun 4, 2005
Messages
54
I agree with you both Minister and RobinsReturn and am glad to see I am not the only who gets fustrated at RTE's lack of independence and balance.
 

MINISTER

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Jun 6, 2004
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132
owenfeehan said:
I agree with you both Minister and RobinsReturn and am glad to see I am not the only who gets fustrated at RTE's lack of independence and balance.
Thanks OwenFeehan,
But why won't anyone challenge them on air. I am sure if others from the opposition side of the house made a concerted effort to remind RTE of their Public Service ethos they 1) would not have to fear not being let back on air again and 2) RTE wouldn't be long about changing their tune as the general viewer/listener would start to sit up and take notice if the message was being regularly repeated.

After all we pay our licence fee to the national broadcasting service and not to RTFF (Radio Telefis Fianna Fail) with its minority channell PD (Progressing Disaster)!
 

DSCH

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Feb 6, 2006
Messages
246
Things were much better when the stickies were running the show at Montrose.
 

Corcaigh33

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Joined
Oct 9, 2006
Messages
86
Here's the parapet - here's my head..........

RTE is PD country with a strong hint of Fine Gael - it has never ever been kind to Fianna Fáil, either that or we have been watching parallel universe versions of Q&A and Prime Time going all the way back to Today Tonight and Brian Farrell.

The print media are so far away from being pro-FF it is beyond belief. The only thing they are more anti than FF is Sinn Féin - have we spotted the trend yet??????

The O'Reilly Rag is a west-Brit paper, pure and simple - it can't apologise enough for having to print "The Irish ***" for a title every day. CCOB, RDE etc etc. Then you have FO'T and Kevin Myers, the proponents of national self-loathing par excellence. The Irish Times has joined the O'Reill Rag editorially of late which is to be lamented.

The Irish Examiner "the paper which doesn't tell you how to vote" as long as you vote FG in a Model T Ford "as long as it's black" routine. Then you have the red-tops, anything that calls itself " The Oirish" where the Irish part is our tv listings and some GAA coverage - in fairness you have to hand to them, the number of people who read their shite every day. No wonder we have "The Bill", Emmerdale, Eastenders on more often than they do across the water.

In short I cannot think of one paper since the Irish Press or Sunday Press that has been pro-Fianna Fáil.

As to the argument that the O'Reilly Rag has been consistently anti-opposition in the last while attacking Rabbitte and Kenny - I would contend they have in reality being doing the opposition's work by highlighting the government's weaknesses on their behalf - doing so by implying that Rabbitte and Kenny have failed to do it themselves.

Anyway, open season on me. It's clear I am in the minority on this one from the thread so far.
 

Mozalini

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Joined
Feb 25, 2007
Messages
28
You're an absoute idiot. I had to stop reading the Indo because of it's blatant pro-FF stance. It's only since the stamp duty debacle that it's changed it's spots.

It's nothing short of scurrilous when it comes to FG. It's very much anti-SF too.

For christ sake what other paper gives a free weekly political broadcast from a PD. I've yet to see O' Dea do anything but FG bash. FFS cop on to yourself.
 
W

WestOfCentre

Could someone please point out an episode of of Primetime investiagtes over the last few months that was in anyway Pro-government ?
 

MINISTER

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132
WestOfCentre said:
Could someone please point out an episode of of Primetime investiagtes over the last few months that was in anyway Pro-government ?

Prime time have highlighted the issues, yes, but they have never confronted a minister to acknowledge that they have a public duty and if nothing else an ethical responsibility, to take ownership of their brief in both the good and bad times. In the Mental Health programme Tim O'Malley loved the sound of his own importance so much that he waffled on about nothing for so long he began to forget himself and then appeared stupid. He was not asked tough questions.

No minister has ever been given a searching, difficult interview nor been pressed to give a relevant answer. Nor has P T ever highlighted the descisions of ministers that have had a negative effect on people and then pressed for an accurate answer. They just come out with the stock phraes "the minister was unavailable"! If there was a crisp bag opening on prime time you see the whole cabinet there!

Just look at Miriam O'Callaghan. I feel she positively grovels and fawns over a government spokesperson and attacks any one from the other side of the house.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Messages
61
Not one paper supporting FF.....come on.

Sure did'nt the Indo support FF/PD on the last two GE occasions. And as for the London tabloid trash. An analysis was done of the Murcoch papers with their political coverage leading up to the 2002 GE. 80% of it (pictures, column inches etc) was devoted to FF!! And the only papers to support FF in the locals and Europeans in 2004 were Murdochs. Hence the reason why the people of Ireland were not able to watch live coverage of the Ryder Cup (supposedly the greatest sporting event to ever come here) live on network televIsion.

As for 2007...expect the same from the Murcoch stable. O'Reilly might go neutral given that the outcome is hard to call. The Irish Times will likely supporting FG/LAB.
 

BarryW

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Sep 8, 2003
Messages
262
I've said it before on here, but I stopped listening to Mary Wilson after her bizarre coverage of the Moriarty Tribunal report. No criticism of current FF party figures was allowed.

The most amazing example was when Vincent Browne said that most of the blame re. Haughey lied with the media, who refused to ask the blindingly obvious questions about him in the 1980s - iun much the same way that they refuse to ask the blindingly obvious questions of Bertie Ahern now - ie. how on earth can he not have had a bank account while he was Minister for Finance?

About 5 seconds after Browne strayed into this territory, he was cut off by Wilson mid-sentence.
 

Miriam Cotton

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Nov 8, 2006
Messages
8
Pro-government bias is endemic in Irish mainstream media

Which is why I've set up a not-for-profit media monitoring project with colleague David Manning to highlight exactly this bias. The so-called fourth estate is functioning in Ireland like the public relations arm of the government and their backers in the business lobby. I'm not allowed to link to the website here but if anyone wants to know about it, send me a message.

One by one the best of the reporters and political analysts in Ireland are being picked off and/or marginalised. Eddie Holt has just been dropped by the Irish Times. Look what happened to Frank Connolly when he got up the nose of the oil and gas interests poised to relieve us of the natural resources which could have been the basis for a national transformation. That's what did for him. Eamon Dunphy too - love him or loathe him - the villification in the press is directly as a consequences of his readiness take the government on. These reporters are not perfect and it's not necessary to agree with everything they say and do in order to recognise what is being done to them. Nobody who is truly critical of government can hold onto high profile media roles. Kenny, Duffy et al - sure, they get a little 'cheeky' from time to time but they are very carefully on message most of the time. Duffy's savaging of Shell to Sea Campaigner Maura Harrington on Liveline was one of the worst things I've heard on radio. He lined up a pile of pro Shell 'witnesses', kept interrupting her - the sound qualit from supporters who phoned in was virtually inaudible. It was straightforward propaganda.

This phenomenon is well documented and there are sites like ours mushrooming in various countries - we've had a lot of support for our one from the very successful UK equivalent. They have succeeded in establishing a good dialgue with producers/reporters/presenters of Newsnight, The Guardian, The Independent etc etc. We really need to get that going here. The more people who take a critical look at how the media does what it does, the more likely we are to begin to see the sort of journalism that will put an end to feeling like you want to throw a brick through your telly, take an axe to the radio or rip your newspaper to shreds :?

As for the Irish Independent - anyone who can't see how profoundly biased it is in favour of Fianna Fail must truly need help - it's shameless!
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
7
RTE

RTE isn't biased towards FF, it is biased towards the government, that FF is a part of govt is a coincidence. But it is a sly bias. Many programs such as Prime time and certain radio programs are harsh on the government. It is freindly to FG. Least w forget it did do a series on FG "A family at war",(does anyone now where I could get that), to say, as Corcaigh33 saaid that RTE is favourable to the PD's is laughable. No media outlet is favourable to the PDs. for Those moaning about the Indo I have no sympathy. It is biased but clearly biased so it is not an issue. Before 1997 it was biased for FG.

RTE is biased because the govt has it by the balls financially. Just like theUK govt had BBC by the balls until Thatcher took it out of governmental hands...We all know how that ended up. If the same was to happen to RTE the old Ned Stapletonites would run things
 

Salthill

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Jun 19, 2006
Messages
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Can anyone point to some positive coverage of Bertie Ahern's Ard Fheis speech? I seem to have missed it in the mass of other pro-FF coverage in the papers in the last few weeks.
 

BarryW

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Sep 8, 2003
Messages
262
Salthill said:
Can anyone point to some positive coverage of Bertie Ahern's Ard Fheis speech? I seem to have missed it in the mass of other pro-FF coverage in the papers in the last few weeks.
In fairness, even the best of pro-FF spinners would have a difficult time finding a positive angle on such a load of waffle, back-slapping, U-turns, and irresponsible auction politics
 

The Analyser

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Jan 17, 2007
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Salthill said:
Can anyone point to some positive coverage of Bertie Ahern's Ard Fheis speech? I seem to have missed it in the mass of other pro-FF coverage in the papers in the last few weeks.
Only because he made such a bAlls of it that there was nothing positive that could be spun about it. No wonder a journalist I know overheard one of Bertie's minister say "Well, that's ****ing blown it now. Jesus Christ!" (The minister only stopped the journalist publishing it by agreeing to give a major exclusive story to the journalist during the campaign.)

Having an incumbent taoiseach, in a government that has failed to deliver a number of key policies (any sign of that link to the airport by 2007, anyone?), to stand up and list off new promises, was monumentally stupid. His mantra should have been "we can be trusted", not "we'll keep promising and promising and promising until we have bought your votes". He blew his own trump card: 'we are responsible'. He had the goals in front of him, the ball at his feet, and instead kicked it right into his own goals, while Seamus Brennan stood there speechless in shock.

If Ahern loses that election, historians may well regard that 20 minute speech as being the moment he blew it, his equivalent of Kinnock's whooping and celebrating too early, in 1992.
 

MINISTER

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132
BarryW said:
I've said it before on here, but I stopped listening to Mary Wilson after her bizarre coverage of the Moriarty Tribunal report. No criticism of current FF party figures was allowed.

The most amazing example was when Vincent Browne said that most of the blame re. Haughey lied with the media, who refused to ask the blindingly obvious questions about him in the 1980s - iun much the same way that they refuse to ask the blindingly obvious questions of Bertie Ahern now - ie. how on earth can he not have had a bank account while he was Minister for Finance?

About 5 seconds after Browne strayed into this territory, he was cut off by Wilson mid-sentence.
I have overheard it said that all belonging to Mary Wilson in Drangan, Co. Tipperary would lean to FF. Good enough explanation??
 
W

WestOfCentre

MINISTER said:
BarryW said:
I've said it before on here, but I stopped listening to Mary Wilson after her bizarre coverage of the Moriarty Tribunal report. No criticism of current FF party figures was allowed.

The most amazing example was when Vincent Browne said that most of the blame re. Haughey lied with the media, who refused to ask the blindingly obvious questions about him in the 1980s - iun much the same way that they refuse to ask the blindingly obvious questions of Bertie Ahern now - ie. how on earth can he not have had a bank account while he was Minister for Finance?

About 5 seconds after Browne strayed into this territory, he was cut off by Wilson mid-sentence.
I have overheard it said that all belonging to Mary Wilson in Drangan, Co. Tipperary would lean to FF. Good enough explanation??
And Pat Kenny was a member of FG at one stage was he not?

Yet many would have you believe he is now pro-FF.
 
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