RTE Political Coverage

MINISTER

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WestOfCentre said:
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.
i don't know about Kenny having been in FG but he sure as hell strikes me as being a great pal of mad MacDowell! And he does go easy on FF. eg having Sam "Sneaky" Smyth on fairly often!
 


MINISTER

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Re: Pro-government bias is endemic in Irish mainstream media

Miriam Cotton said:
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!
Take another example like Prome Time. Prime time have highlighted the controversial 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. (Didn't her brother run unsuccessfully for FF in the locals?)
 

ditchhurler

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It's really a question of ' all in the eye of the beholder'. All the posters who feel there is a pro- FF bias not surprisingly are not supporters of the party and vice versa. It would be welcome if there was some truly impartial analysis of the media coverage in this forthcoming election. But who genuinly has no agenda at all?
 

The Analyser

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Another example: A FG front bencher appeared on a certain radio show a while back. A FF politician 'called in' to challenge his statement. All very well, except the FF politician revealed to his FG colleague in the Dáil bar later that actually the show had called him to get him on to answer the FGer.

When a month later the same FF politician appeared on the show, no-one in RTÉ called any opposition politician to invite them on. When FG and Labour supporters called in while the FFer was on air, none was put on. The press offices inquired of the show "why did you tip a FFer to appear when a FGer was on, but not tip off any opposition party when the FFer was on?" the show categorically denied it had tipped off anyone in FF. The FFer needless to say would not go on the record to state officially that he had been contacted - though he was open about it privately, and it is an open secret that that show calls people all the time and then pretends they called it - so RTÉ stood firm - "we contacted nobody, so issue closed." At that stage, FG, Labour, the Greens, SF and everyone else just rolled their eyes and groaned. They are used to that sort of thing all the time.

If they do contact a FFer, and FF's guy refused to come on, it rarely is mentioned. If an allegation is made against FG/Labour/Greens/SF, and the parties or their candidates do not put up a spokesman, RTÉ will say "[FG/Labour/whomever] refused to supply a spokesman". The parties are used to that all the time. At this stage they just shrug their shoulders. It is part of the course with RTÉ these days. The government has the licence fee. RTÉ has to be nice to it or else the next increase in the fee will not happen. FF have let RTÉ know that the fee is 'being examined'. Result: RTÉ brownnoses FF, and is more than happy to pee all over other parties. :roll:
 

The Analyser

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Re: Pro-government bias is endemic in Irish mainstream media

MINISTER said:
Miriam Cotton said:
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!
Take another example like Prome Time. Prime time have highlighted the controversial 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. (Didn't her brother run unsuccessfully for FF in the locals?)
Whether her brother ran or not would not be an issue. Ryan Tubridy's family are all heavily FF. Yet Ryan is scrupulously impartial. Miriam is a dreadful interviewer, absolutely awful. How on earth does RTÉ think she is so good? The government pulled a classic trick a decade ago. They refused to go on Prime Time, Morning Ireland, etc. Now they agree to go on, and RTÉ are so thankful that its interviewers run away from touch questioning in case FF might start boycotting it again. It was a clever strategy in Aras de Valera and the press office that, as was their aim, "put RTÉ in its place". RTÉ runs away from tough interviewing of the government. And where it does ask awkward questions, when the FF press office complains RTÉ usually responds with a "oops. Sorry. We were unfair to Minister [x]. It won't happen again." And usually it doesn't.

(But then, remember Hall's Pictorial Weekly? It was vicious and very very funny about the National Coalition, but in all sides' viewpoint did that government immense damage. Within one year of FF being re-elected, the programme was pulled. Frank Hall was well known to be a FF supporter and activist. (Though even they could not save him when he succeeded Gay Byrne as presenter of the Late Late in 1968 and bombed so badly that RTÉ had to lure Byrne back from BBC2 for the following season to replace Hall. Hall, curiously, is rarely mentioned as the second presenter of the LLS. Most people just know of Byrne and Kenny.)
 
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At the end of the day RTE is dependent on at least a third of it's revenue from the licence fee, which is controlled by the Government.

So to make it entirely independent, a new independent Commission needs to be estabished to control the level of the fee and also to appoint suitable INDEPENDENT candidates to the RTE Authority.
 
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My main criticism of journalists is that many of them play the tunes called by politicains because they are not up to speed/adequately briefed on issues that they are covering.

Stamp Duty is discussed but not the jump in site costs as a result of the currupt land rezoning system that creates an artificial scarcity of land. First Time Buyers are offered inducements on stamp duty but nobody mentions the VAT of 13.5% on new housing units; It is 0% in UK.

McDowell was interviewed about the wheeze on old age pensions but he wasn't asked about the scandal that the majority of workers in the private sector have no occupational pensions? Any possible link between the two and pensioner poverty?

Micheal Martin and others refer to the 86,000 jobs that were created last year but there is no breakdown given or queried - 53,000 in public sector and construction and only 7% in the tradeable goods/services sector - 2,913 permanent full-time jobs in foreign-owned companies, and 3,014 in Irish-owned companies - at a time when the global economy is experiencing the longest sustained period of economic growth since the late 1960's.

There are other examples and so far, the campaign has been about tax cuts rather than the choices that will have to be made when the economy slows down next year and beyond.
 

covert

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I can't believe no-one has mentioned the most obvious example of RTE's political bias - the near hilarious fawning over SF, particularly from their, I mean RTE's northern correspondent Tommy Gorman. Even look at their website the other day - SF nominate their minister's to power-sharing, we got name and details of ministries, but nothing on SDLP or other members.

The decision to include Gerry Adams - never a candidate for anything in this State - in the pre-election debate rather than the laughable O'Caolain, their "leader in the Dail" is another example of their desperation to play SF's game.

As for wider political bias, I'm not sure it's bias as such, but their interviewers are very, very weak when it comes to making political leaders accountable. Where is our Paxman?
 
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At the end of the day RTE is a semi-STATE body. Yet as you rightly point out it wishes to have a person who holds no politial position in this State on during the GE debate. This is an attack on the democratic institutions of the State.
 

MINISTER

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covert said:
I can't believe no-one has mentioned the most obvious example of RTE's political bias - the near hilarious fawning over SF, particularly from their, I mean RTE's northern correspondent Tommy Gorman. Even look at their website the other day - SF nominate their minister's to power-sharing, we got name and details of ministries, but nothing on SDLP or other members.

The decision to include Gerry Adams - never a candidate for anything in this State - in the pre-election debate rather than the laughable O'Caolain, their "leader in the Dail" is another example of their desperation to play SF's game.

As for wider political bias, I'm not sure it's bias as such, but their interviewers are very, very weak when it comes to making political leaders accountable. Where is our Paxman?
As a Public Service RTE should be holding politicians accountable as well as RTE themselves being accountable. But they don't and are not.

Maybe there is another topic in though on Political Appointments and the way FF/PD have gerrymandered their own people on to baoards etc - rem the Bert when he said he appointed people to State Jobs because they are his friends. I was listening to Anton Savage on the Last Word on wednesday and he was interviewing a Paula clancy? from TASC or TASCnet who said the govt. has 5000, yes 5000, posts it fills politically. She also said that in the UK people are employed in the equivalent positions on merit.

So RTE is probably biased from the top down because of Politcal appointees and patronage.
 

TheIrishRover

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FF have always had their embedded journos in RTE but Miriam takes the biscuit at the best of times with her fawning over FF-PD members. What is really unbelieveable is that during Bertiegate that Bert came out with this gem that I appointed Joe Burke to the Dublin Port Authorithy because he was my friend. What the hell in any other country they would have called for his head its unbelievable I give people cushy positions because they are my friends. Whats all this rubbish about transparency and living in a meritocracy. If anyone here has a sense of what a democracy is FF have to be taken out on one fact only the people who gave Bertie money are the effective real cabinet, the Drumcondra mafia dictate the show and that is in no way healthy that a group of gougers and chancers operating on a strongest will survive principle dictates the way this country is run.

The Independent and Sir Tony are afraid that the Rainbow are on the way up as they cant defend the indefensible i.e FF-PD.
 

MINISTER

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RTE and political appointments

More pro-government embedded journos in RTE! This is about PD candidate in Kildare.

It also highlights the political patronage of state board appointments of which there are 400 + to be made by this shower brfore end of Dail.

Married to RTÉ agriculture correspondent, Joe O'Brien, and mother of two daughters, Ms Mullins was awarded a national Person of the Year award for her work with Positive Action in 1997. She was appointed to an expert group in the Department of Health by then minister for health, Brian Cowen, in September 1997. In 2004 she was appointed to the board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board.
 

Corcaigh33

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Head above the parapet again I know, but you guys must be watching a different RTE and reading a different O'Reilly Rag to me (having said that, being honest I do try and avoid it if I can).

Montrose has always been FG-PD in its leanings, always. Pat Kenny might as well have a Vote FG sticker on him every time he's on air or on the telly. John Bowman, probably PD-ish, but could never be described as pro-FF. Tubridy doesn't count - his programme could hardly be termed serious discourse.

The O'Reilly Rag is anti-FF to the core, just look at some of their journalists, CCOB being an obvious example.

As for the red-tops, obviously red-tops judge which way the wind is blowing and banner headline accordingly. They do it in England all the time. Guarantee if the rainbow looks like its on a winner within 2-3 weeks of the election you'll see the usual alliterative banners in the Oirish's telling everyone to vote for change.
 

The Analyser

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Corcaigh33 said:
Montrose has always been FG-PD in its leanings, always.
What on earth gives you that impression?

* In the 1960s then Telifís Éireann helped deliver the presidency to de Valera by refusing to report on his Fine Gael opponent, Tom O'Higgins.

* In the 1970s the main satirical programme on RTÉ, Hall's Pictorial Weekly, was viewed by all sides as blatantly biased towards FF, characturing a coalition Finance minister as "Richie Ruin". When the coalition lost the election RTÉ dropped the show, as Hall refused to be as critical of FF as he was of FG. (FF rewarded him by appointing him to the plum job of film censor, where is infamously banned The Life of Brian!)

* In the 1980s it demonised John Bruton with viciously personalised attacks, and was closely aligned with the Workers' Party.

* In the 1990s it gave Bertie free reign on the airwaves when he wanted it, never mentioned it when he refused to come to programmes critical of him, and in 2002, launched an unprecedented attack on Michael Noonan in a fictionalised drama series that broke RTÉ's own guidelines on coverage in the lead-up to elections.

Your idea that RTÉ is biased towards FG and the PDs is so preposterous it is hilarious. Nothing could be further from the truth.
 

Corcaigh33

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The Analyser said:
Corcaigh33 said:
Montrose has always been FG-PD in its leanings, always.
What on earth gives you that impression?

* In the 1960s then Telifís Éireann helped deliver the presidency to de Valera by refusing to report on his Fine Gael opponent, Tom O'Higgins.

* In the 1970s the main satirical programme on RTÉ, Hall's Pictorial Weekly, was viewed by all sides as blatantly biased towards FF, characturing a coalition Finance minister as "Richie Ruin". When the coalition lost the election RTÉ dropped the show, as Hall refused to be as critical of FF as he was of FG. (FF rewarded him by appointing him to the plum job of film censor, where is infamously banned The Life of Brian!)

* In the 1980s it demonised John Bruton with viciously personalised attacks, and was closely aligned with the Workers' Party.

* In the 1990s it gave Bertie free reign on the airwaves when he wanted it, never mentioned it when he refused to come to programmes critical of him, and in 2002, launched an unprecedented attack on Michael Noonan in a fictionalised drama series that broke RTÉ's own guidelines on coverage in the lead-up to elections.

Your idea that RTÉ is biased towards FG and the PDs is so preposterous it is hilarious. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Noonan drama is a fair point yes I grant you that. But anytime I watch Q&A or Prime Time, which is almost whenever they are on, I am not seeing a pro-FF or pro-SF editorial line anywhere. Especially on Q&A.

I think Montrose may be pro-"the government of the day" for selfish reasons to do with the television license and possibly follows the prevailing political wind to keep its audience in a shameful sop to popularism, but I still believe at its heart Montrose is very anti-FF/SF.

I am thinking the ambush set for Gerry Adams with Hugh Leonard on the Late Late show. I am thinking the Presidential Election election coverage that gifted the presidency to Mary Robinson. I am thinking the "liberal agenda promotion - dawn of the new age" hysteria that followed the following GE that swept Labour to power.

I suppose at the end of the day what I want is a trully unbiased national broadcaster in the same way I would like a trully unbiased national print media. I think the nation needs it - any democracy needs it - but I think given the tremendous state of flux Ireland has been in over the last generation we need it now more than ever to serve as a mirror to ourselves and help us decide where we want to go . You think it's biased towards FF - I think it's biased to FG-PD thinking. Even if one of us is right - it's still wrong.
 

Respvblica

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Corcaigh33 said:
The Analyser said:
Corcaigh33 said:
Montrose has always been FG-PD in its leanings, always.
What on earth gives you that impression?

* In the 1960s then Telifís Éireann helped deliver the presidency to de Valera by refusing to report on his Fine Gael opponent, Tom O'Higgins.

* In the 1970s the main satirical programme on RTÉ, Hall's Pictorial Weekly, was viewed by all sides as blatantly biased towards FF, characturing a coalition Finance minister as "Richie Ruin". When the coalition lost the election RTÉ dropped the show, as Hall refused to be as critical of FF as he was of FG. (FF rewarded him by appointing him to the plum job of film censor, where is infamously banned The Life of Brian!)

* In the 1980s it demonised John Bruton with viciously personalised attacks, and was closely aligned with the Workers' Party.

* In the 1990s it gave Bertie free reign on the airwaves when he wanted it, never mentioned it when he refused to come to programmes critical of him, and in 2002, launched an unprecedented attack on Michael Noonan in a fictionalised drama series that broke RTÉ's own guidelines on coverage in the lead-up to elections.

Your idea that RTÉ is biased towards FG and the PDs is so preposterous it is hilarious. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Noonan drama is a fair point yes I grant you that. But anytime I watch Q&A or Prime Time, which is almost whenever they are on, I am not seeing a pro-FF or pro-SF editorial line anywhere. Especially on Q&A.

I think Montrose may be pro-"the government of the day" for selfish reasons to do with the television license and possibly follows the prevailing political wind to keep its audience in a shameful sop to popularism, but I still believe at its heart Montrose is very anti-FF/SF.

I am thinking the ambush set for Gerry Adams with Hugh Leonard on the Late Late show. I am thinking the Presidential Election election coverage that gifted the presidency to Mary Robinson. I am thinking the "liberal agenda promotion - dawn of the new age" hysteria that followed the following GE that swept Labour to power.

I suppose at the end of the day what I want is a trully unbiased national broadcaster in the same way I would like a trully unbiased national print media. I think the nation needs it - any democracy needs it - but I think given the tremendous state of flux Ireland has been in over the last generation we need it now more than ever to serve as a mirror to ourselves and help us decide where we want to go . You think it's biased towards FF - I think it's biased to FG-PD thinking. Even if one of us is right - it's still wrong.
One thing I hate about Q&A is when someone in the audience questions a minister, Bowman usually makes a comment after the person has had their say, to the effect that "And your from Fine Gael " implying "ah yeah you would say that".
 

President Bartlet

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It will be interesting to see if RTE give equal coverage to the main parties come the campaign proper
 

DerekOwens

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Respvblica said:
One thing I hate about Q&A is when someone in the audience questions a minister, Bowman usually makes a comment after the person has had their say, to the effect that "And your from Fine Gael " implying "ah yeah you would say that".
TBH I think that's fair enough. Like, people at home have a right to know if the person who's taking a particular line is predisposed to one particular party.

Sometimes he's pretty ignorant about it; but usually when the person in question is launching into a party-political rant.
 

croppyboy

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MINISTER said:
Miriam O'callaghan (her brother is a failed FF candidate in Dublin)
Not quite a failed candidate. He is a dail candidate in the coming general election.
 

MINISTER

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croppyboy said:
MINISTER said:
Miriam O'callaghan (her brother is a failed FF candidate in Dublin)
Not quite a failed candidate. He is a dail candidate in the coming general election.
What is RTE protocol on a presenter covering the election when they have a close relative seeking election. Why I ask is that on the PD new candidate thread a poster wondered if Joe O'Brien would be precluded from reporting as his wife is the candidate for Kildare Sth(?).
 


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