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I love the EU and its institutions!  They are so, sooooooooooooo “democratic” that each time they take a decision I tell myself “thanks God I stopped believing all this nonsense

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By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog The recent air strikes on the Taliban positions in Afghanistan is an open breach of the Peace Treaty signed between the Taliban and

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by Naresh Jotwani for the Saker Blog Washington Post recently ran an article with headline which contained the two phrases “civilized nations” and “deter Beijing and Moscow” (see a review

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Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Youth power – Don’t ask – Take

offsite link When the establishment betrays the people?s trust Anthony

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offsite link Declining standards in Irish journalism Anthony

offsite link Mainstream media: Failing to speak truth to power Anthony

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By Anthony Sheridan Irish Examiner journalist Aoife Moore is not happy.  The young people of Ireland are suffering because they don?t have a seat at the table [of power] she thundered in a recent article. Focusing mainly on the youth wings of political parties Moore tells us the young are bullied, harassed, their complaints go … Continue reading "Youth power – Don’t ask – Take"

By Anthony Sheridan

Irish Examiner journalist Aoife Moore is not happy.  The young people of Ireland are suffering because they don?t have a seat at the table [of power] she thundered in a recent article.

Focusing mainly on the youth wings of political parties Moore tells us the young are bullied, harassed, their complaints go unanswered, they?re not viewed as important, all of which is driving them away from politics.

Nothing will change, she asserts, until the grown-ups give the young a seat at the table of power.

This bizarre idea that young adults are children waiting for the ?grown-ups? to hand them power portrays a serious lack of understanding about the role young people play in politics.

Instead of whinging about being ignored by those at the table of power the young should be upending that table and forcibly taking their rightful place in the governance of the country.

Young people should be organised and focused in challenging the ?grown-ups?, they should give no quarter in their determination to gain power and implement their policies.

The regular injection of political radicalism by the young is one of the mainstays of a healthy democracy.

Sadly, such political radicalism has never taken root in Ireland and forced emigration is the principal reason.  The primitive economic strategy of boom and bust has always suited the ruling establishment.  In boom times friends are looked after, when bust inevitably follows ordinary citizens are made to pay and forced emigration is just one of the costs.

Banishing young people to the four corners of the world removes political radicalism from the body politic thus eliminating any threat to the stale but very comfortable political establishment. 

This is why successive Irish governments, unlike most other governments in the world, have staunchly refused to grant a vote to emigrants. Out of sight, out of mind and forever out of power has always been the self-interested strategy of the ruling political class when it comes to young people.

Those who remain behind are usually politically apathetic or become members of youth wings of the establishment parties.  Within these ultra-conservative entities the young morph into clones of their ?grown-ups?. They are quickly indoctrinated into the ways of political gombeenism which includes stamping out any sign of political radicalism ? and so, the rotten establishment wheel continues to spin.

But change is coming as we?ve seen from recent elections but it?s not coming from the lost youth in the establishment parties that Ms Moore is so concerned about.  It?s coming from outside the ruling political class, from an increasingly radicalised electorate determined to create a decent country not just for the young but for all citizens.

Copy to:

Aoife Moore

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan The political establishment that has [mis]ruled Ireland since independence is on the verge of extinction. For clarity, here?s a good definition of the term ?establishment?. The ruling class or authority group in a society; especially, an entrenched authority dedicated to preserving the status quo. An establishment?s greatest resource is the people over … Continue reading "When the establishment betrays the people?s trust"

By Anthony Sheridan

The political establishment that has [mis]ruled Ireland since independence is on the verge of extinction.

For clarity, here?s a good definition of the term ?establishment?.

The ruling class or authority group in a society; especially, an entrenched authority dedicated to preserving the status quo.

An establishment?s greatest resource is the people over whom it exercises power.  Its success depends on the people?s willingness to tolerate its behaviour.

When an establishment betrays the people?s trust one of two things will happen.  The ruling elite will attempt to preserve its power by becoming ever more oppressive, even to the point of violence, or the people will bring it down and replace it with a new establishment that will return the balance between rulers and the ruled.

For example, abuse of power and an abject failure to respond to the needs of ordinary people trigged the French revolution in 1789.  The revolution marked the beginning of the end of the divine right of kings to rule and the eventual emergence of the middle class political establishment we see in France today.

In addition to getting rid of corrupt regimes revolutions also serve to enlighten citizens to the fact that it is they, and not the ruling elite, who are the rightful owners of political power. They become aware that power flows from the bottom up, that those at the top exercise power solely on sufferance from the people. This sense of people power is as strong in France today as it was in 1789. 

Unfortunately, the opposite is the case in Ireland. This is because there has never been a political revolution in our country and as a consequence there has never been a change in the mindset that sees power as belonging to the powerful. 

We had a rebellion in 1916 that ultimately persuaded the British establishment, who were distracted by the brutality of WWI, that a degree of independence for Ireland within the Commonwealth was better than more war and rising criticism from the international community.

This resulted in the relatively smooth replacement of an oppressive, self-serving colonial establishment with an equally oppressive, self-serving home-grown version. 

This home-grown establishment immediately set about creating a political regime that ensured the subservient mindset instilled in the population over centuries of colonialism lived on as a powerful means of political manipulation.

They created a system of gombeen clientelism where crumbs were handed out in payment for votes.  Citizens were led to believe that the natural order of power in a democracy was a top down system, where the ruling establishment knew best.  

This is why, unlike functional democracies, Ireland never benefitted from the healthy tension between a Left/Right political system.  There was never any real political opposition in our parliament. We never witnessed political parties seriously competing with each other to promote and implement their own political ideologies for the greater good of the country.

All we got was a political ruling elite, principally made up of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, masquerading as separate political parties. They are, and always have been, one political class with one overriding ambition ? to exploit the people and resources of Ireland for their own benefit.  The only competition they engaged in over the decades was in the Tweedledee Tweedledum race for government where the opportunities for self-enrichment are most plentiful.

As the political establishment became weaker in recent years smaller parties such as the Progressive Democrats, Labour and, currently the Greens were recruited to support the ruling political class.

The abandonment of most, if not all, of the ideals and policies of these smaller parties was the price demanded and received in exchange for admission to the exclusive ruling elite club.

The British left-wing journalist, Owen Jones, provides the best definition of this particular type of establishment:

The establishment represents an attempt on behalf of powerful groups to “manage” democracy, to make sure that it does not threaten their own interests.

But the century long manipulation of the people and contempt for democracy by this political regime is rapidly coming to an end.  Irish citizens are beginning to realise that it is they who are the rightful owners of power and not the ruling political establishment.

It is crystal clear from recent elections and polls that the people are rejecting the old regime and are demanding real change in how the country is governed. That this demand for change is being ignored not just by the political centre but also by mainstream media demonstrates just how out of touch the establishment is with this revolutionary redirection in Irish political history.

The consensus among the ruling regime is that housing, health and the economy are the reasons for their continuing loss of power, that if these problems are fixed they will survive ? it is a vain hope.

While these problems are obviously of huge concern to the electorate they take second place to the demand for radical political change.  People have come to realise that the old regime must be abolished and replaced with a genuinely democratic system. This change of mindset in the electorate is not a temporary phenomenon, it?s permanent ? the old corrupt regime is finished.

The dramatic and historic rise in support for Sinn Fein is the most visible sign of this new emerging political landscape.  But that party should take note.  If it fails to radically overhaul how the state is governed, if it fails to abolish the old establishment and create a genuinely democratic balance between rulers and the ruled then it too will be rejected by the power of the newly enlightened electorate.

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Any rational person listening to Sarah McInerney?s interview of Eoghan Harris could be forgiven for thinking that he suffers from an illness known as Delusional Disorder. People suffering from this mental illness are incapable of telling what?s real from what?s imagined.  In this context it is pointless responding directly to his ramblings … Continue reading "The day Eoghan Harris went bad"

By Anthony Sheridan

Any rational person listening to Sarah McInerney?s interview of Eoghan Harris could be forgiven for thinking that he suffers from an illness known as Delusional Disorder. People suffering from this mental illness are incapable of telling what?s real from what?s imagined. 

In this context it is pointless responding directly to his ramblings with any seriousness.  However, the failure of the establishment media to unequivocally condemn the behaviour of Harris and his collaborators is another story altogether.

Take communications guru Terry Prone for example.  Writing in the Irish Examiner she was in no doubt where the blame lay.

In 50 years, nobody stopped Eoghan Harris. That’s our shame, not his.

This bizarre attempt to exonerate a favoured son of the establishment by blaming everybody, except him, suggests that Prone may also be experiencing a touch of Delusional Disorder. 

But for the record and for Ms. Prone?s information somebody did notice the moment when Harris went off the rails as a journalist.  Here?s an article I wrote six years ago in response to Harris? refusal to criticise Denis O?Brien, the then owner of Independent Newspapers, during the Siteserv scandal. 

Eoghan Harris: A ?journalist? with little integrity

16 June 2015

In response to the ongoing Siteserv scandal Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris has effectively admitted that he?s a coward and a man/journalist of little integrity.

On prudent reflection, I decided to take the advice of the Kerry sage, Tommy the ?Kaiser? Fitzgerald: Don?t say anything, and don?t write anything, because when you put the black on the white, you are fucked boy.

What a sad end for a man who, wielding a razor sharp brain, used to tear strips from the hypocritical, arrogant and corrupt gangsters who misrule our country.

Now he?s a fully signed up toady of the rotten culture he once so brilliantly challenged. Whatever dulled his rapier like pen over the years has also dulled his mind to a state of stupidity where he effectively admits that he?s an intellectual slave to Denis O?Brien.

At least his many colleagues at ?Independent? Newspapers, also toadies to the master, make some effort, no matter how pathetic, at journalistic integrity.

The rest of Harris? article accurately reflects the only ?talent? he still possesses ? chief cheerleader for the establishment?s anti-Sinn Fein propaganda campaign. He begins this section of his article with the words:

Let me turn to a safer topic.

Propaganda is, of course, always a safe topic for a journalist because there?s no need for truth or honesty but how sad to witness any journalist actually write, in black and white, the words

?Let me turn to a safer topic?.

Copy to:

Terry Prone

Eoghan Harris

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan In 2018 Stephen Donnelly Fianna Fail TD was refused permission to erect a fence around his home.  In 2021 a fence was erected around his home at taxpayer?s expense.    Just two things changed between 2018 and 2021- Donnelly became the Minister for Health and sometime between the end of January and … Continue reading "Declining standards in Irish journalism"

By Anthony Sheridan

In 2018 Stephen Donnelly Fianna Fail TD was refused permission to erect a fence around his home.  In 2021 a fence was erected around his home at taxpayer?s expense.   

Just two things changed between 2018 and 2021- Donnelly became the Minister for Health and sometime between the end of January and early Feb this year, a number of incidents were alleged to have occurred at the Minister?s home. 

But this article is not about the Minister or the alleged incidents. It?s about declining standards in Irish mainstream journalism. These declining standards are clearly evident in how this particular story was reported.

The story broke on 20 Feb last when Irish Examiner journalists Paul Hosford and Aoife Moore reported they had received an anonymous tipoff that a security fence had been erected outside the Minister?s home as a result of the incidents.

An unidentified source said the fence was erected after items were thrown at windows and left on the minister?s doorstep.

An unidentified spokesperson for the Minister declined to comment except to say the fence was for security reasons.

The story was accompanied by an outraged [anonymous] editorial condemning the alleged attack on the minister?s home.

So, what have we so far?

An anonymous tipoff followed by an unidentified source, followed by an unidentified spokesperson alleging, without providing any evidence, that at some point in the recent past, persons unknown threw items at the windows of the Minister?s home and left items on his doorstep.

In other words, what we have so far is ? hearsay

Later that day Ms Moore was interviewed by Damien O?Reilly on RTEs Brendan O?Connor Show where RTE had upped the language surrounding the story from ?incidents? to ?an attack? on the minister?s home.   

Unfortunately, Ms Moore did not provide any additional information but did expand on what she did not know ? some examples.

Is there any evidence that this is related to his work?

It appears it is but we can?t go into detail.

Do we know what was thrown at the house?

We don?t know.

Did it involve an individual, a group, was it over a prolonged period?

We don?t know. The advisor didn?t really want to go into it in any more detail.  I think they would rather if the story was a private family matter.

So here we have a journalist reporting an [alleged] attack on a government minister and happily accepting that such a serious event can be treated as a private family matter.

Ms. Moore was however very supportive and even emotional on behalf of the minister.

He has three young children?and obviously he?s up in Dublin for a lot of the time?and of course he?d be really concerned about his children and his wife.  It?s just really rotten to be honest. I think everyone is really disgusted that politicians can?t go to work without having to worry about the safety of their families.

Staying with the emotional angle O?Reilly/RTE linked this alleged attack with the perfectly legitimate, peaceful protests held outside the then Minister for Health Simon Harris? home in 2019. 

Ms. Moore was also happy to go along with this unprofessional linking of two completely different stories. 

He had a very young baby at the time, his wife and daughter were at home, it was very scary.

O?Reilly concluded the interview with a strong note of outrage:

Who would want to go into politics when you hear stories like that?

That appeared to be the end of the story but then, curiously, a full seven weeks later, on April 9, the story was resurrected when Newstalk journalist Ciara Kelly interviewed Minister Donnelly in his constituency in Greystones Co Wicklow. 

Listening to the interview it was clear Ms. Kelly is a great admirer of the minister, excitedly telling listeners that both of them were locals and even attended the same school. 

The form of the interview was very similar to that on RTE between journalist Aoife Moore and journalist Damien O?Reilly.  Very friendly, no challenging questions and buckets of sympathy for the minister for the alleged attack on his home.

Does it frighten you that your family is being swept up into all of this?

Obviously, but I don?t want to get into it too much details for reasons you?ll understand. 

If Ms. Kelly did understand why a government minister would want to keep the details of an alleged attack on his home secret, she wasn?t telling her listeners.  Just as journalist Aoife Moore was happy to accept that such an attack could be treated as a private family matter.

Ms. Kelly?s co-presenter Shane Coleman concluded the piece in a similar manner as Damien O?Reilly did on RTE by angrily asking:

Why would anyone go into politics and subject themselves to such abuse.

So here we have five journalists reporting a story as fact without any real evidence.  Apparently cooperating with anonymous sources and the minister to keep details of the story secret and expressing strong support and sympathy for the minister?s unsubstantiated claims. 

This is not journalism, it’s hearsay bordering on false reporting.  Journalists cannot retain credibility when they publish stories without corroborating evidence. 

Respect for their profession is also seriously damaged when they take sides, particularly when they take the side of a government minister who stands to gain from such media support.

Copy to:

Aoife Moore: Irish Examiner journalist

Paul Hosford: Irish Examiner journalist

Damien O?Reilly: RTE journalist

Ciara Kelly: Newstalk journalist

Shane Coleman: Newstalk journalist

Stephen Donnelly: Minister for Health

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan A deep and disturbing malaise has taken hold of journalism right across mainstream media.  The infection stems from the decades long close and  inappropriate association of journalists with the rotten centre of Irish politics principally composed of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour. For a long time the sickness was hardly noticeable … Continue reading "Mainstream media: Failing to speak truth to power"

By Anthony Sheridan

A deep and disturbing malaise has taken hold of journalism right across mainstream media.  The infection stems from the decades long close and  inappropriate association of journalists with the rotten centre of Irish politics principally composed of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour.

For a long time the sickness was hardly noticeable but the brutal austerity implemented by the political centre in response to the 2008 economic collapse opened the eyes of many Irish citizens.  And not just to how power was wielded in the interests of the powerful, but how mainstream media provided unquestioning support for the actions of the political establishment.

The unhealthy relationship between mainstream media and the ruling political class has become so close that the journalists themselves seem to be genuinely unaware of it.

A recent political podcast by the Irish Times, in which readers were invited to submit questions to journalists, provides a startling example of how mainstream journalism has become a parody of what good journalism should be all about.

I submitted the following question to the podcast which was selected for discussion:

Why is the link between the rise of Sinn Fein and the ongoing disintegration of the political centre ignored by mainstream media? 

Almost all comment and analysis surrounding this historic development focuses on attacking Sinn Fein on behalf of and in defence of the political centre. 

There is virtually no analysis or comment as to why this is happening.

Harry McGee, the Irish Times political correspondent, responded but failed to adequately address the question.  Instead, he unwittingly revealed the true nature of the tainted relationship between mainstream journalism and the political establishment.  

We?re working in an environment that is like a big boarding school and the thing is, you do forge relationships with politicians.  And journalists depend on politicians especially when they?re looking to get stories in advance.  And that makes it slightly problematic when it comes to criticising politicians – suddenly you have to pounce and bite the hand that feeds. 

Effectively, McGee is making the shocking admission that Irish mainstream journalists do not observe one of the central principles of international journalism – the obligation to speak truth to power.  

He is candidly admitting that mainstream journalists do not come down hard on establishment politicians because they depend on them for stories.

It is, of course, true that journalists line up like ducks in a pond to be fed tit bits by politicians in return for favourable reportage but it is rare to witness a journalist actually admit to this reality.

McGee went on to deny that there was any concerted attack on Sinn Fein feebly claiming that the problem lay with Sinn Fein?s reluctance to make itself accessible to media.

It?s not so much that there?s any attempt to attack Sinn Fein.  I think there?s just been a difficulty of getting access to Sinn Fein but that has become less of a difficulty in recent years.

The notion that Sinn Fein is shy about engaging with media is almost as ridiculous as claiming that there?s no concerted campaign against the rise of that party.

So here?s the truth that McGee and his colleagues in mainstream media are so fearful of confronting.

The political centre is on a death spiral after decades of corruption, incompetence and arrogance wrapped in a blanket of delusion that they have a divine right to rule. 

This is not opinion, it?s fact.  Labour are in the waiting room to extinction, Fine Gael effectively lost the last three elections and Fianna Fail are struggling to remain relevant as the the party begins to tear itself asunder in an internal civil war.

All of this has come about for one simple but powerful reason ? the Irish electorate, in election after election, has rejected the old corrupt regime and is demanding radical change.

But this ongoing revolutionary shift across the entire political landscape is practically ignored by mainstream media.  Instead, in an increasingly desperate effort to defend and preserve the old regime, we see an avalanche of ?end of civilisation? type articles and broadcasts warning of the dangers of populism, Trumpism, the so-called evils of social media and increasingly bizarre anti-Sinn Fein propaganda.

The sickness that has resulted in mainstream media abandoning its obligation to speak truth to power is best summed up by McGee?s mindset:

?We fear criticising politicians in case they stop giving us stories?

This dangerous mindset is in stark contrast to the highest principles of the profession as expressed by the French philosopher Michel Foucault:

Only the courageous may pursue the truth-to-power course as they risk losing their friends, their liberty, even their lives.

Copy to:

Irish Times

Harry McGee

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Recently, militant Catholic David Quinn blocked me on Twitter. Mr. Quinn was defending the reputation of the Catholic Church[CC].  Here?s my ‘offending’ tweet: Wrong.  The CC is global and Ireland was a particularly good breeding ground for brutal priests and nuns who obeyed orders without question. I?m an atheist so it might … Continue reading "David Quinn’s selective tolerance"

By Anthony Sheridan

Recently, militant Catholic David Quinn blocked me on Twitter. Mr. Quinn was defending the reputation of the Catholic Church[CC].

 Here?s my ‘offending’ tweet:

Wrong.  The CC is global and Ireland was a particularly good breeding ground for brutal priests and nuns who obeyed orders without question.

I?m an atheist so it might be thought a block was to be expected but in fact myself and Quinn have engaged in various twitter discussions over a number of years without a block in sight. 

His decision to block me is all the more puzzling because just nine days later he wrote an article in the Sunday Times extolling his virtues of tolerance. 

He was writing about a matter of which both of us are in full agreement, the hilariously stupid decision of the Trinity College Historical Society to cancel an invitation to atheist Richard Dawkins to speak at the college.

Quinn strongly believes, as I do, that Dawkins should not have been banned, that free speech, no matter how controversial, is paramount.

To demonstrate his unlimited respect for free speech Quinn quoted some views held by Dawkins. 

That raising a child as a Catholic can be compared to sexual abuse.

That the Catholic Church is a disgusting institution. 

That the god of the Old Testament is a genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Obviously, Quinn does not agree with these views but, because of his [apparent] respect for freedom of speech he?s prepared to defend Dawkins? right to express them.

The decision by the Trinity Historical Society to cancel Dawkins? speech was, according to Quinn:

Another example of cancel culture, which seeks to deprive people of platforms when their views are deemed offensive to certain groups.

So why, I ask, did Quinn ?cancel culture? me from his twitter link for making a relatively benign [and truthful] comment?

Hypocrisy, I suspect, is the answer.  In public Quinn pretends to be a hero of tolerance while in private he deletes those who challenge his beliefs, just as his Catholic Church has been doing for centuries.

Copy to:

David Quinn

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Ok, let?s get the obvious truth out in the open – Seamus Woulfe is a dud judge.  He?s not fit to judge a dog show never mind sit in judgement in the highest court in the land.  [With sincere apologies to all dog show judges.]  We only have to look at some … Continue reading "A Woulfe in judges clothing"

By Anthony Sheridan

Ok, let?s get the obvious truth out in the open – Seamus Woulfe is a dud judge.  He?s not fit to judge a dog show never mind sit in judgement in the highest court in the land.  [With sincere apologies to all dog show judges.] 

We only have to look at some of his judgements surrounding Golfgate to see how unfit he is to hold such a high position.  As a Supreme Court judge he felt it was acceptable to:

Party with politicians.

Break Covid 19 rules he had helped draw up.

Blame everybody else for the consequences of his bad judgements.

Furthermore, it is clear that his overweening arrogance has completely blinded him to the core reality surrounding his behaviour ? the obvious requirement for his immediate resignation.

In addition to all this he has completely misread the clear signals encouraging him to take the honourable course of falling on his sword.

The first signal came from retired Supreme Court judge Susan Denham?s report when she found it would be unjust and disproportionate to call for his resignation.  The key words here are ?to call for?.  Anyone not overwhelmed by their own self importance would have clearly understood the subtle message ? wield the sword yourself.

Clearly, Judge Woulfe does not do subtlety so a second signal was necessary.

This occurred when the Judicial Council released the entire transcript of Woulfe?s first interview with Ms. justice Denham.  This unprecedented public washing of judicial dirty laundry had the entire country cringing in embarrassment at the bizarre and abject excuses proffered by justice Woulfe. 

Everybody, that is, except Woulfe himself.  He seems to be genuinely puzzled by the angry response of politicians, colleagues in the judiciary and the general public.

It was time to call in the heavy gang, so to speak.  Three senior judges met with Mr. Justice Woulfe to discuss how the matter could be resolved.  It has been reported that the meeting did not go well, that Woulfe was shocked by the proposals they were offering to resolve the matter.

Did not go well, is, without doubt, the understatement of the year. 

It is highly likely that the judges [metaphorically of course] took Woulfe by the throat, pinned him up against a wall and shouted in his face:

Resign you fool before you do any more damage to our reputation.

But still, the thickness of his skull prevented  the message from getting through.  Instead of recognising the brutal fact that his Supreme Court career is over, Woulfe decided to call in sick.

There is now no way back for justice Woulfe nor, indeed, the judiciary. All the dirty laundry is out there.  If he is not removed or forced to resign the reputational damage to the judiciary will be enormous and permanent.

And Mr. Justice Woulfe will not primarily be responsible for that damage. His complete lack of understanding of the responsibilities and propriety expected of a Supreme Court judge has earned him a gold plated fools pass.

No, responsibility lies with the judiciary and the mainstream political parties who, over the decades, formed a relationship so close it left no room for the accountbility that is the norm in other jurisdictions.

It was inevitable, sooner or later, that a Woulfe in judges clothing would gain entry and wreak the havoc we are now witnessing.

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan 23 Sep 2020 Sarah McInerney is one of RTEs top news and current affairs broadcasters.  As such she is required to exercise strict impartiality on all matters controversial but particularly in relation to political issues. The general public should not be able to tell the personal views of broadcasters such as McInerney.  … Continue reading "Sarah McInerney and political impartiality"

By Anthony Sheridan

23 Sep 2020

Sarah McInerney is one of RTEs top news and current affairs broadcasters.  As such she is required to exercise strict impartiality on all matters controversial but particularly in relation to political issues.

The general public should not be able to tell the personal views of broadcasters such as McInerney.  So my question is, why is she allowed to express strong personal political opinions in her column in the Sunday Times? 

Just last Sunday, for example, she expressed the opinion that the Taoiseach?s debilitating amiability is a liability in government

Martin has been too nice for too long; she thundered before going on to say that his softly, softly approach to challenges from his Parliamentary Party and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar was not good for Fianna Fail.

Her final paragraph could have come from the mouth of the Taoiseach?s most worried advisor:

You have to play the political game, no matter how distasteful it may be. If Martin wants to survive two years as Taoiseach, with his party still intact, it?s time for a mini makeover. No more Mr Nice Guy.

RTEs guidelines on impartiality are crystal clear: [Section 8.4 Impartiality]

Our audiences should not be able to tell from our output the personal views of our journalists or news and current affairs presenters on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or on ?controversial subjects? in any other area.

And, more precisely:

?may not express personal views in RTÉ output, online or elsewhere, [my underline] and must be careful in their use of social media to avoid any perception of partiality.

Everyone who read the article now knows that McInerney is concerned about Michael Martin?s performance as Taoiseach and the continuing drop in support for Fianna Fail.

This is damaging to her credibility as a news and current affairs broadcaster.  Any robust questioning of opposition TDs will be seen as support for Fianna Fail.  Any perceived soft interview with Fianna Fail TDs or ministers will be seen in a similar light.

As one of the most popular and admired news broadcasters in the country McInerney has the potential to wield enormous political influence. 

She should not be allowed to do so.  Time RTE management had a word in her ear.

Copy to:

Sarah McInerney

RTE management

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan In an interview with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald on RTEs This Week programme, David McCullagh quizzed her about the use of the word ?collusion? in the Dail during nominations for a new Taoiseach. You said the Government parties colluded in frustrating the voice of change, in what way was it collusion? McDonald … Continue reading "Did RTE journalists collude against Sinn Fein?"

By Anthony Sheridan

In an interview with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald on RTEs This Week programme, David McCullagh quizzed her about the use of the word ?collusion? in the Dail during nominations for a new Taoiseach.

You said the Government parties colluded in frustrating the voice of change, in what way was it collusion?

McDonald confirmed her belief that there was collusion between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael but she didn?t get much further before being interrupted by McCullah who declared triumphantly that he had looked up the word in the Oxford English dictionary.

Secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy in order to deceive others.

This type of ?journalism? is bizarre and disturbing.  McCullagh/RTE picked out one word, from one person in one political party and went to the bother of researching the exact meaning of that word with the obvious intention of embarrassing the leader of that party.

McDonald made the reasonable and correct argument that the word ?collusion? has a far wider application in the English language.

But McCullagh was determined in his attack:

Some people would see the use of the word as almost Trumpian.

McDonald, rightly, berated him:

Don?t be ridiculous.

The grilling was continued the next day on Today with Sarah McInerney.

Speaking with Sinn Fein?s Louise O?Reilly McInerney demanded to know why McDonald had used the ?collusion ? word.

As with Mary Lou McDonald, O?Reilly didn?t get far in her reply before being interrupted by McInerney who expressed her personal opinion that the word was used deliberatly by Sinn Fein.

The use of the word and this impression being given, deliberately, I think by Sinn Fein that the two parties were plotting.

O?Reilly, stating the obvious fact that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael did work together to keep Sinn Fein out was again interrupted by McInerney in her eagerness to support the establishment parties.

How do you know that, I mean they would say they came together because their party policies were more aligned than they were with yours.

As McDonald said, the word ?collusion? has a broad application in language but if we take McCullagh?s strict definition and apply it to his and McInerney?s behaviour we can see that the definition fits perfectly.

Secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy in order to deceive others.

Any objective observer could be forgiven for concluding that this was a [non] story generated behind closed doors by RTE journalists with the intention of deceiving listeners into believing that Mary Lou McDonald had done something wrong.

This is not journalism, it?s not professional reporting or analysis. It appears to be the deliberate targeting of a political party that poses a challenge to the fading power of the ruling political class.

Copy to:

David McCullagh

Sarah McInerney

Anthony
By Anthony Sheridan Irish Examiner journalist Michael Clifford believes there is an organised social media campaign by some in politics to discredit mainstream media. Increasingly in some quarters of politics, social media is used to attempt to systemically discredit the media. This is designed to encourage the public to ignore anything negative that appears in … Continue reading "Irish Examiner bias"

By Anthony Sheridan

Irish Examiner journalist Michael Clifford believes there is an organised social media campaign by some in politics to discredit mainstream media.

Increasingly in some quarters of politics, social media is used to attempt to systemically discredit the media. This is designed to encourage the public to ignore anything negative that appears in the media about a particular politician or party.

This attack on the media, according to Clifford, encourages people to ignore facts and blame the messenger.  And, he warns, the tactic is undermining the media?s role in holding power to account.

Specifically, Clifford is writing about Sinn Fein supporters who allege that mainstream media is biased against the party.  He goes on to accuse those supporters of using the bias claim to discredit negative scrutiny of Sinn Fein.

Michael Clifford is wrong, as wrong as only an establishment journalist can be when faced with the uncomfortable truth of rampant mainstream media bias. 

There are any number of examples of this bias not just against Sinn Fein but against any person or organisation, such as the water protesters, who threaten the power of the ruling political establishment.

The following is just one example from Clifford’s newspaper, The Irish Examiner.

A few weeks ago the leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan used the ?N? word during a speech in the Dail.  Ryan was referring to an article in the Irish Times by the writer Sean Gallen in which he described how racist abuse during his childhood affected his whole life.

Here?s how the political editor of the Irish Examiner, Daniel McConnell, responded: 

Daniel McConnell: Questionable rush to condemn Eamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan is not racist.

The reaction to {Ryan} was astonishing and, in places, downright nasty.

On social media, the great online sewer, he was slammed.

Was Ryan wrong to use it as opposed to saying ?the N-word? or some other variation when making his point?

Or was he justified in saying it within the context of highlighting the abuse suffered by Gallen?

The rush to condemn did on one level smack of the disturbing pattern of the left to preach to everyone as to what speech is acceptable and which is not.

The moral high priests and priestesses who seem to go out their way to take offence do little to progress the cause of inclusivity or equality.

Four years ago, in May 2016, the then leader of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams also used the ?N? word in the exact same manner as Ryan.  That is, he used the word in the context of the suffering of the nationalist population of Northern Ireland under British/Unionist rule, just as Ryan used it to highlight the abuse suffered by Gallen. 

The bias of the Irish Examiner is exposed for all to see when the favourable [and justified] defence of Ryan is contrasted against the damning judgement of Adams by an anonymous Irish Examiner journalist, hiding behind an editorial, for the very same thing.

[I have underlined what I consider to be the contradictions between the two responses]

While Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has defended using a racist word for a black person in a tweet, his judgement must be called into question.

As leader of a political party, he has a duty to guard against making gratuitously offensive references.

Whether he likes it or not, his Sunday night use of the six-letter N-word is the kind of word that is synonymous with the attitude towards black people in America?s deep south. Whether used unwittingly or not, it a deeply offensive term.

It is simply not good enough to tell his followers on the social media platform Twitter that he was watching a Quentin Tarantino film, Django Unchained, comparing the struggle against slavery in the US to the struggle by Irish nationalists.

If it had been a film about US president Barack Obama, he would hardly have used such a racist term. So why did he use it? Having drawn criticism on both social media and the Washington Times, that is the right question which Mr Adams must ask himself.

The bias and hypocrisy of Irish Examiner journalists to the two incidents is clear to anybody with an ounce of objectivity.

Mr. Clifford tells us that the so-called tactic by ?some quarters of politics? on social media to discredit mainstream media is undermining the media?s role in holding power to account.

There?s no need of such a conspiracy. A declining standard of professionalism coupled with an obvious bias against those who challenge the ruling political establishment are doing more than enough to undermine trust in and credibility of mainstream media.

Copy to:

Michael Clifford

Daniel McConnell

Public Inquiry >>

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