Tuesday, April 22, 2008

RTE's unbalanced coverage of Lisbon

Those of us that hoped that the broadcaster funded entirely by our hard-earned graft would accordingly demonstrate a balanced approach to coverage of the Lisbon Treaty would have reason for disappointment last Monday night. In spite of the spirit and perhaps the letter of the McKenna and Coughlan judgements, requiring equal funding and airtime of referenda yes and no campaigns, RTE continues to stack its panels overwhelmingly in favour of the yes sides. The panel on Questions and Answers last Monday consisted of Colm McCarthy, John McGuirk, Colm McEochaidh, Martin Cullen, and Joan Burton - that's 4 yeses, 1 no and 1 sceptical but on-the-fence (McCarthy). This is in spite of the consistent 30-54% no vote in European referenda since the 1980's. Those of us who have voted no down the years have reason for resentment at how your hard-earned money is funding arguments with which you do not agree.

RTE would probably argue that the referendum having not yet been called, that it's behaviour is in keeping with the letter of Coughlan and McKenna. Perhaps. But one has to doubt this was the case in referendum campaigns even proceeding from these historic Supreme Court rulings. The second Nice Referendum 2002 certainly springs to mind in that respect. In the final episode of the Late Late Show before that referendum, a similar panel configuration was on the show - 1 no (Justin Barrett - hardly representative) and 2 yeses (Adrian Langan of Labour and Lucinda Creighton of Young Fine Gael). The show then proceeded to show video of a Far Right conference allegedly attended by Barrett. The subliminal message the viewers were intended to get from this can only be speculated upon, but it seems rational to conclude it was not intended to do the no side any good - perhaps even to smear it with a "fascist" label that is an insult to the 4 in ten who have consistenly voted no since the 80's. That almost 4 out of ten saw through it and were not taken in by this partisan propaganda (which sadly did not include me), I salute you. You are a credit to the ability of the Irish people - shown again in last year's election - to see through a concerted media con-job intended to subvert democracy by using our hard-earned cash to promote one side over the other. Many of us - myself included - have had a strong case of "buyers' remorse" since then, and do not intend to be fooled this time.



Graham said...

When the political classes decide what they want, they invariably get it. I can't imagine RTE having any interest in opposing them!

Celtic donkey said...

While I don't agree with you on the Treaty itself, I must say I agree on the coverage and treatment of it.

At a meeting of the joint oireachtas committee recently I raised the issue of the Referendum Commission and the obligation to give both sides, but it was completely shot down as an issue by everyone there except the one (out of approximately 15 people)'no' speaker.

Unfortunately, though, it's very hard to get 'no' people who are in any way credible. The whole country thinks Patricia McKenna is loopy (and I'm someone who has voted green), while the right-wing 'no' side, ie Libertas, stinks of opportunism (except possibly Ganley, who appears to believe what he's saying). The no campaign is so fragmented, it's difficult to find the right person for any panel or article.

And, by the way, you have to wonder why the government are rolling out Roche and Cullen to defend this. Have they got a death wish?

FutureTaoiseach said...

CD, I agree with you on Cullen and Roche. People associate them with bungling over e-voting and the Electoral-Register. They are a liability to the chances of this treaty being passed.

kerdasi amaq said...

'Unfortunately,though,it's very hard to get 'NO' people who are in any way credible.'

Why are you quibbling over the people who are opposed to the Lisbon Treaty?

Either you are in favour of transferring the National Sovereignty of the Irish People to Europe(treason): or you are against it!(patriotism)