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Is there always a need for “Balance” ? December 13, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

I watched “The Crossing” on RTE last night , a powerful documentary on the LÉ Samuel Beckett’s deployment in the southern Mediterranean. On Screen we saw people rescued , drown, fail to be resuscitated , family members learn that other family members were dead. We also heard horror stories of the journey to the Libyan coast, rape, death and abuse by people traffickers.
An ad break later and we had “Claire Byrne Live”… members of the Defence Forces who had served on ships in the southern Mediterranean were introduced and interviewed. They told stories of their time aboard the Navy’s vessels ……. we were then introduced to Minister Paul Kehoe who echoed all our sentiments in praising the work of our Defence Forces and the work in this crisis….. and then we were introduced to actor Liam Cunningham and the ‘Journalist’ Ian O’Doherty.
O’Doherty was his usual objectionable self and after a few minutes I just had to turn off. Why though did they have him on? presumably he was on for “balance” but do we actually need this “balance” when discussing some issues? What topic is there that having “balance” would now be beyond the pale?
It’s one thing in a Referendum where RTE are obliged to have “balance” and certain people get their 15 minutes of fame, but there seems to be a growing trope of Irish Katie Hopkins impersonators only willing to appear on the airwaves to provide “balance” no matter how odious the subject or their views. I can’t believe these people are Ratings winners or am I alone in switching off?


1. dublinstreams - December 13, 2016

was Kehoe involved in the discussion?


2. Dermot O Connor - December 13, 2016

O ‘Doherty reminds me of the kind of person who pushed me to emigrate in 93. The fact that such a derivative third-rater could pass muster in national media speaks volumes for the scale of the D4 nepotist pandemic.

I could have stayed and have the likes of him lord it over me for the rest of my life, or emigrate. It wasn’t much of a choice.


3. LeftAtTheCross - December 13, 2016

“am I alone in switching off?”

Not at all. I’ve stopped watching RTE “current affairs” programming, or listening to any of the RTE Radio One current affairs or opinion presenters. Life is too short to listen to the Right wing ideological whitewashing. I get my news on-line from The Journal and from Russia Today, neither of which is obviously bias free but at least it’s less offensive than the D4 leafy suburb neoliberal apologists.


4. Tomboktu - December 13, 2016

O’Doherty wasn’t there for balance – he is the writing version of a ‘shock jock’ and he was there to provide a perverse form of entertainment.

Real balance might have had an expert in humanitarian law ask why we don’t allow people to fly to the EU and claim asylum. It might have had humanitarian lawyer argue that we need to recognise that we cannot fix all of the world’s problems and that the naval involvement is pretending we can. It certainly would have required somebody from a suitable campaigning organisation to examine why people leave African countries where there is no conflict for a better life in Europe, and the role that our trade deals have in depriving those countries of the best economic development their resources and labour could produce.

There are plenty of people with expertise who could have added light — not all of it that I would agree with — but a sub-Meyers hack who can’t even write string together as many paragraphs as Meyer can is not ‘balance’.

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5. Aonrud ⚘ - December 13, 2016

Aodhán Ó Riordáin has complained to RTÉ, according to Broadsheet: http://www.broadsheet.ie/2016/12/13/appalled-dumbfounded-outraged-and-livid/


6. GW - December 14, 2016

Sadly I’m not surprised.

The (mostly advertising-driven) media in Europe have been significantly complicit in creating a state of affairs where attacks on asylum seekers are commonplace don’t even rate a mention any more. These media have allowed racists and xenophobes to set their agenda.

I guess because it means clicks-throughs and increased viewing figures.

The consequence of allowing their agenda to be dictated, is that, for instance, that many media-fed citizens, wildly overestimate the number of Muslim citizens in a country. By factors of 3 – 7.

I’ll be interested in what, if any, response Aodhán Ó Riordáin gets.


dublinstreams - December 14, 2016

the BAI will say its fine and it will be seen an endorsement of this kind of TV


7. 6to5against - December 14, 2016

I am increasingly inclined to avoid current affairs programs altogether, largely because they are dominated by incessant verbal wrangling, shouting matches or the kind of clichéd posturing exemplified by O’Doherty. There is rarely even a pretence at trying to have a real conversation with an informed source.

Was it always this bad, and its only with age we begin to notice, or has it actually got worse over the decades?

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