RTEs Mary Wilson: A woman with some brain…

 

buy-politicianBy Anthony Sheridan

RTEs Mary Wilson was having great difficulty extracting from Fianna Fail’s Barry Cowen exactly what his party’s position was on water charges. Eventually, he said:

We made a submission to the expert commission saying that the existing regime in relation to water charges…blah, blah, blah…has to be abolished.

So far so good but Michael Martin sticks his head out his bedroom window every morning and, depending on which way the political wind is blowing, adopts Fianna Fail’s stance on water charges for that day.

Probably realising that he had made a mistake in giving a straight answer Cowen quickly reverted to traditional gombeen talk:

We have to have an open and frank debate from this commission to the committee in order to allow the committee make recommendations to the Dail to allow an informed decision be taken thereafter about how water services are paid for into the future.

Wilson’s reply was astonishing:

That’s perfectly clear.

Feck, I thought, that woman must have some brain.

Irish journalism: Suffering from a serious malaise

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By Anthony Sheridan

 

A well-informed, objective media is one of the cornerstones of a healthy democracy. Journalists in a healthy democracy do not just report news and current affairs; they also have a duty to be rigidly impartial in their analysis of events.

Disturbingly, Irish journalism comes nowhere near the standards necessary to robustly challenge the State and its agents particularly when it comes to political corruption.

The recent publication of Hell at the Gates by journalists John Lee and Daniel McConnell is just the latest example of the disquietingly close and frequently grovelling relationship between the media and those who wield power within the Irish political system.

John Lee, writing about an interview he conducted with former Taoiseach Brian Cowen as part of his research for the book provides us with a good example of this cringing, extremely deferential type of journalism.

The (Irish Mail on Sunday) article is not available online so I have reproduced it in full below.

The headline gives a good indication of the tone of the article:

An astute, self-aware, intelligent man

Before making further comment on the article I want to express my opinion of Brian Cowen, an opinion that I believe is held by the majority of Irish people.

At best, Cowen is a political idiot. I do not say this as an insult (although it obviously is); I say it because it’s a simple fact. Cowen is nothing more than your typical Fianna Fail backwoodsman, gombeen politician who never had to do anything courageous or visionary to reach the apex of political power.

As a privileged member of one of the many political family dynasties that have plagued Irish politics since independence he was effectively handed power following the death of his father.

He was literally enthroned as Taoiseach by the disgraced Bertie Ahern who was forced to resign after his true pedigree was exposed at a tribunal.

But when Cowen, for the first and only occasion in his mediocre career, was called upon to show courage and vision in leading the nation he failed miserably.

As one editorial put it:

The worst Taoiseach in the history of the State.

And yet a stranger reading John Lee’s article could easily conclude that Brian Cowen was a politically intelligent, insightful and courageous man whose overriding mission in life was to promote the best interests of the Irish people.

A stranger reading the article would not see what most Irish people see.

That Cowen is a loyal member of the most corrupt political party in Ireland, the party that promotes the interests of property developers, bankers and other members of the golden circle that feed off the wealth of the Irish people.

A stranger reading the article would not see that Cowen is a loyal member of the party principally responsible for the economic disaster of 2008 that destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens.

However, a stranger who informed himself of Irish history over the past several decades would immediately recognise the rampaging elephant in the room – which is:

The Irish political system is seriously corrupt. In reaction to this political corruption a significant percentage of Irish citizens have rejected the legitimacy of the State and are in open rebellion.

A disturbingly large proportion of Irish journalists are either blissfully unaware of this dramatic shift in the political landscape or are willing collaborators in defence of the corrupt system.

Either way Irish journalism is suffering from a serious malaise that is not only bad for the profession but is having a very serious negative impact on Ireland and its people.

Copy to:

John Lee

Daniel McConnell

 

John Lee’s article – judge for yourself:

When Brian Cowen agreed to meet me for an interview for the book my colleague Daniel McConnell and I were writing, I didn’t really expect him to give anything away.

We sat on straight-back chairs at a table in a quiet corner of the Tullamore Court Hotel. I drank tea he drank mineral water. We discussed family (his brother Barry Cowen had been pivotal in securing the interview for me), mutual friends in politics, and a shared interest in golf.

When the iPhone recorder went on, he was ready. What followed was an insightful, forthright and considered summing up of his years at the top of Irish politics.

It’s said of Lyndon Johnson, that he was at his best with an audience of one. I think this applies to Cowen. He uses your first name, looks you in the eye, is exceptionally articulate and sharp. In the fog of war that engulfed Ireland during his years at the top, much of this was forgotten. Yet he understands why that is.

He spoke about how he felt the day he became Taoiseach, the enjoyment of appointing a cabinet and the brief summer of calm before all hell broke loose.

Bright man that he is, he knew there were claims about him that he had to confront. As the interview progressed I merely pointed to where we were in the chronology, and without pause he would take on the issues that he has been given so much time to think about over those preceding four years. He happily accepted he had made a mistake in not addressing the nation.

When we got to the incident at the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway in 2010, dubbed Garglegate, Mr. Cowen was also ready. He’s been crucified for it, and knew exactly what had happened – and was happy to tell his version of it, which was by no means self-serving. I had been at the Ardilaun too, and the press only asked questions about the previous night’s social session because Simon Coveney had tweeted critical remarks about Mr. Cowen’s performance on Morning Ireland.

Mr. Cowen blames Coveney for that debacle. But he proceeded for almost 10 minutes (a long time in an interview like this) to discuss his PR failures.

He revealed himself to an astute, self-aware and intelligent man.

The great pity is, perhaps, that when he was in charge he couldn’t find a way to reveal more of this side of himself to the Irish public.

 

Brian Cowen: A political idiot

By Anthony Sheridan

tricks-and-treachery

 

 

The almost complete lack of understanding of the reality of Irish politics by Irish journalists never ceases to amaze me.

Here’s Irish Independent journalist Gerard O’Regan’s take on the drinking habits of former Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Cowen, according to O’Regan, decided to give two fingers to those who suggested he should have been more careful of his public image.

Cowen is not and never has been somebody who rebels against the expectations of society. He’s a chronically conservative Fianna Fail backwoodsman with no notion whatsoever of how to behave while holding high office. In other words, Cowen is a political idiot.

O’Regan goes on to expresses sympathy for Cowen’s political downfall as if the former Taoiseach was an innocent victim of events totally outside of his control. As if the corrupt Fianna Fail party was not the principal reason for the catastrophic events inflicted on the Irish people in 2008.

A political career which was brutally cut off mid-stream, owing to a confluence of unforeseen and almost unimaginable events.

A vicious recession, banks on the point of collapse, the arrival of the so-called Troika in Dublin, and the imposition of draconian bailout terms for the Irish economy by Brussels bureaucrats, saw Mr Cowen depart the political centre stage.

The message here is – Cowen could have been a great Taoiseach if only all those nasty people in Brussels and other completely unforeseen events hadn’t conspired to bring his career to a tragic end.

Here’s the truth:

Cowen is a political idiot. He was a disgrace and an embarrassment as Taoiseach. He was reared in the arrogant, we have a divine right to rule, mindset of the most corrupt political party in Irish history.

He’s one of those people who thrive as an obedient, unthinking foot soldier but immediately morphs into a political imbecile when promoted to high office. People of such low level intelligence frequently take to drink as a crutch for their failings.

Well-informed, objective journalism is one of the most crucial pillars of a healthy democracy.

Disturbingly, such high quality journalism is practically non-existent in Ireland.

Copy to:

Gerard O’Regan

 

 

 

Hell at the Gates: A propaganda exercise

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

The first step in rewriting the history of Ireland’s political and economic collapse has been taken with the publication of Hell at the Gates by journalists Daniel McConnell and John Lee.

John Lee is political editor at the Mail on Sunday.  Daniel McConnell is political editor of the Irish Examiner.

If we are to judge by the long extracts from the book (6, 472 words) published in the Irish Examiner the rewriting has just one aim – to create a lie that the corrupt political system that destroyed our country is completely innocent of any blame for the catastrophe.

An editorial in the same issue backs up the book’s rewriting of history by attacking ordinary citizens for having the gall to demand a restoration of their pay scales that were so ruthlessly cut by the corrupt ruling elite.

Our enthusiastic, lemming-like demands for the restoration of indulgences funded by borrowing that led to the loss of our economic sovereignty less than a decade ago.

So according to this writer (I wonder who?) corrupt politicians, bankers, property developers and so-called regulators had nothing to do with the country’s downfall, it was all down to the peasants losing the run of themselves.

At first impression this book appears to be nothing more than a disgraceful propaganda exercise.

I will be analysing the publication in greater detail in the near future.

 

Breaking: New minister for investigative judges to be appointed

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

Letter in today’s Irish Times regarding the latest Garda scandal.

 

Sir,

Surely the time has now come to appoint a minister for investigative judges. The said minister would be responsible for keeping us informed of the progress being made by the growing legions of such judges and, crucially, would create yet another firewall for politicians to hide behind.

Otherwise the consequences could be an extremely serious outbreak of democratic accountability.

Yours etc,

Anthony Sheridan

Cobh, Co Cork.

Michael O’Regan: A ‘surface’ journalist

 

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

The following comments by Irish Times journalist Michael O’Regan confirms that he has no understanding whatsoever about what motivates those involved in the water protest movement.

The whole water charges thing will fade away. I can totally understand how people took to the streets after the way Irish Water was set up, the salaries and bonuses and the rest.

I can’t understand, today, how people are marching on water charges when you have this dreadful situation relating to homelessness and to health. The water charges should be way down the agenda now and health and homelessness should take precedence.

In common with most establishment journalists O’Regan only sees events on the surface. He seems to be completely ignorant of what’s going on underneath particularly since the economic collapse of 2008.

I say ‘underneath’ to emphasis O’Regan’s ignorance because what’s happening is not just right in front of his face but right in the face of this state.

What’s happening is nothing less than a rebellion against the state triggered by decades of political corruption. A significant and growing number of citizens have rejected the legitimacy and authority of the state.

The water protest movement is the cutting edge of that rebellion and O’Regan’s ‘The whole water thing will fade away” and “I can’t understand…” mindset accurately reflects the disturbing denial factor that pervades the establishment media.

Sooner rather than later, O’Regan and his comfortable colleagues will wake up to the realisation that the country they see as a stable, well run democracy is in the process of being dismantled and consigned to the dustbin of history.

Copy to:

Michael O’Regan

 

 

 

Brendan Howlin: A political leprechaun

 

 
the-problem-with-political-jokes-tinyBy Anthony Sheridan

Former Labour Party leader and current EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Columbia Eamon Gilmore said the shock defeat of a referendum to endorse the peace deal between FARC rebels and the Columbian government must be respected.

The current leader of the Labour Party Brendan Howlin has arrogantly told the British people they must hold a second referendum because their decision to leave the EU is not in line with interests of the Irish ruling elite.

He said many British people were unaware of the hurt the decision to leave the EU had caused in Ireland.

The British people cannot yet understand the consequences of what they have done.

When it does become clear, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that the British people be asked to confirm their decision. That based on that agreement, the people should once more have their say, in a further referendum.

A second referendum campaign, he said, would not see the level of distortion that he said characterised the first.

In a nutshell this arrogant twat is saying:

Because, in his opinion, the British people didn’t know what they were doing, because the referendum campaign was distorted and because the result doesn’t suit the Irish ruling class they should vote again and hopefully get it right the second time around.

This is the long-standing anti-democratic attitude of all Irish gombeen politicians that Irish citizens have been subjected to for decades.

In their arrogant stupidity Irish politicians like Gilmore and Howlin are all for the democratic process on the strict condition that it doesn’t interfere with their own interests.

So the Columbian result is fine, very democratic and must be respected because the result does not impinge on the interests of the Irish political class.

But the British result is deemed to be undemocratic, the British people are deemed to be ignorant. They were misled, they must vote again – until they get it right.

This is the same pygmy political attitude Howlin adopted in the leadership contest for his own party. He didn’t want to risk a humiliating third rejection by his beloved party so he insisted that the democratic system be replaced with a dictatorial coronation.

I never cease to be amazed by the level of tolerance displayed by the British people when gombeen Irish politicians like Howlin and Kenny go over to berate and insult their democratic system.

I can only guess that those attending the British Labour Party conference where Howlin spoke assumed he was a performing Irish leprechaun hired to provide some light entertainment.

Copy to:

Gilmore

Howlin

Irish Labour Party

British Labour Party

Irish media should be fighting gagging law

 

d01

By Anthony Sheridan

I have submitted a complaint to Newstalk management against presenter George Hook for breach of Section 42 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 (See complaint below).

This is my second complaint in recent times against Mr. Hook for breach of this particular code.  This complaint is under investigation by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and I am hopeful that a decision will be forthcoming soon.

In June 2014 I outlined my reasons for making such complaints against Mr. Hook and other broadcasters.  Here’s some of what I wrote:

The actual opinion expressed by Mr. Hook is of little importance.

What is of huge importance is to witness the implementation of a draconian, anti-democratic law specifically designed to repress what, in functional democracies, is the norm – the free expression of opinion.

Of even greater importance is the disturbing reality that this oppressive law was introduced and is being enforced with hardly a whimper from the media.

Before commenting further on the media reaction I am going to express my opinion as why this law has been introduced.

It was not introduced to protect the sensitive ears of Irish citizens from the personal opinions of broadcasters such as George Hook. It was not introduced to protect listeners from being led astray by broadcasters and it was not introduced as a result of any public demand.

It was introduced to stop outright or at least have a severe chilling effect on the media questioning of powerful people and in particular powerful politicians.

The legislation is, I believe, principally aimed at RTE because of its powerful position in the media and because of its vulnerability to political manipulation.

 

Complaint submitted to Newstalk on 29 Sep 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to lodge a formal complaint against George Hook, the presenter of the Newstalk radio programme High Noon for breach of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, which came into effect on 1 July 2013 under Section 42 of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

On 28 September last Mr. Hook made the following comments in response to the wearing of T-shirts in Dail Eireann by a number of politicians.

Well, in the Dail you had six Left wing TDs wearing T-shirts.  The Anti Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit TDs wore ‘Repeal’ T-shirts on the issue of the amendment of the Constitution.

This has nothing to do with the repeal in my mind.  They could have been wearing T-shirts for free to air, for rugby, for free childcare.

The point is that once again this group of Lefties have no respect for our Constitution, have no respect for our traditions, have no respect for our history in the Dail because nobody but nobody in Dail Eireann is allowed wear an emblem.

That’s the way it is, you can’t do that.  As was pointed out to these Lefties, children who came into the public gallery were wearing T-shirts and they were asked to remove the T-shirts before they were allowed into the public gallery.

Everybody else conforms except these six loonies.  And what’s even more annoying about it is, unless they are clamped down and strongly clamped down by the appropriate committee on performance then what’s next?  Water, vivisection, it could be anything.

Everybody now with a half-baked idea that they’re upset about will be able to come into the Dail and wear a T-shirt or carry a flag or whatever.

And I have to say that Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd-Barrett, Gino Kenny, Brid Smith and Mick Barry are a disgrace to the position they hold as elected members of Dail Eireann.

It is clear that Mr. Hook is expressing very strong personal and partisan views and is therefore in breach of section 4.22 of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Current Affairs.

I include the relevant section of the Act below for your convenience.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

4.22. It is an important part of the role of a presenter of a current affairs programme to ensure that the audience has access to a wide variety of views on the subject of the programme or item; to facilitate the expression of contributors‘ opinions – sometimes by forceful questioning; and to reflect the views of those who cannot, or choose not to, participate in content. This being so, a presenter and/or a reporter on a current affairs programme shall not express his or her own views on matters that are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate such that a partisan position is advocated.

Copy to:

Newstalk

BAI

 

 

Formal complaint against RTE for bias

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to lodge a formal complaint against RTE for breach of its Public Service Statement 2015.

My complaint centres on the biased panel selection on the Marian Finucane Show as broadcast on Sunday 4 September last.

Specifically, my complaint concerns the unbalanced and unchallenged views expressed during the discussion surrounding the Apple tax scandal.

The panel members were as follows:

Michael McDowell: Independent Senator and former Tanaiste and Minister for Justice.

Suzanne Kelly: Tax lawyer.

John McGuinness: Fianna Fail TD

Patsy McGarry: Irish Times Religious Affairs Correspondent.

Diarmuid Ferriter: Professor of Modern History at UCD.

It is reasonable to describe all the panel members and the presenter, Ms Finucane, as individuals with conservative views that are mainly in line with the governing establishment.

It is also reasonable to describe the two politicians on the panel as public representatives with strong and uncompromising views on the political outlook of those who oppose the Government’s response to the Apple tax scandal.

Left wing political parties such as Sinn Fein, Anti-Austerity Alliance, People Before Profit and others who represent a significant percentage of the population were, by their exclusion, prevented from expressing a contrary view.

This is in breach of RTEs Public Service Statement 2015.

I quote:

Ensuring its treatment of current affairs and matters of public controversy, in addition to being impartial and objective, is fair to all interests.

It is also clear that RTE management is very well aware of the major changes taking place within Irish society.

I quote:

RTÉ today sits within a society, economy and media environment that is changing; and changing rapidly. Recent years have shaken public confidence in institutions and traditional authority.

Despite this awareness, or perhaps because of it, RTE management seems to be abandoning its objectivity and professionalism in favour of taking the side of State/Government.

The apparent packing of a discussion panel in favour of one side of the debate is also in breach of RTEs duty in law to be impartial.

I quote:

RTÉ has a duty in law to be accurate, fair and impartial, and to remain independent from all state, political and commercial influences.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

 

Water protester convicted on trumped up charge

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

This week witnessed one of the most disgraceful acts of political oppression this country has ever seen.

Water protester Derek Byrne was found guilty and fined €300 for shouting abuse at another citizen.

The only reason Mr. Byrne was convicted was because his insults were directed at a member of the ruling elite – The president, Michael D Higgins.

Mr. Byrne did not directly address Higgins; he was not even in his presence at the time. The insults were merely directed at the president’s car as it sped past a group of protesters.

Mr. Byrne was convicted on a trumped up charge for political reasons, to send a message to all those uppity peasants out there that the state will not tolerate any challenge to its power.

But in a way it was a victory for those of us who reject that corrupt power because the weaker a corrupt state becomes the more oppressive its forces become in response to those who challenge its power.

Increased oppression is an indication of failing power.