I wrote the other day about the disgraceful bias shown by RTE presenter Sean O’Rourke during a discussion between Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy and Suzanne Lynch, Irish Times European Correspondent in Athens.
It is clear to even the most uninformed observer that O’Rourke supports the Government/establishment side in the ongoing Water Tax war.
O’Rourke doesn’t seem the least bothered about his unprofessional behaviour and, it also seems, RTE management have no problem with his bullyboy tactics when interviewing those who are opposed to his obvious pro-establishment opinions.
He puts great effort into steering discussion in favour of his own political opinion and, when necessary, he uses the tactic of interrupting those opposed to his views in support of those who are of the same mind as his.
His bullyboy tactics against Paul Murphy were again used in a ‘discussion’ between Labour Senator Mary Moran and Cllr. Michael O’Brien of the Anti-Austerity Alliance.
O’Rourke made it very difficult for Cllr. O’Brien to discuss the reason for the protest. Neither was Senator Moran interested in discussing the substantial issue, she simply kept expressing outrage at what she perceived was an attack on democracy and agreeing with Sean O’Rourke as he attacked the protester’s ‘thuggery’.
Here’s the relevant section of the discussion which centred on the throwing of a cone at a Guard.
Cllr. O’Brien: I don’t stand over the throwing of objects whatsoever but, there’s another side to this…
…interrupted by Sean O’Rourke.
O’Rourke: You don’t stand over it. Would you care to put it a little bit more strongly, maybe think about condemning it?
This is bullying. In O’Rourke’s poliltical opinion Cllr O’Brien was not strong enough in his reaction to the alleged incident.
Cllr. O’Brien: I’m opposed to the throwing of objects. The point I was going to make Sean was the Guards drew batons on people and I saw people from the community I represent with injuries inflicted upon them by the Guards.
Later when O’Brien was getting the better of Senator Moran, O’Rourke again interrupted, changing the direction of the discussion.
O’Rourke: What do you say to Alan Shatter the former Justice Minister, a representative of the people of Dublin South saying that he had abusive insults hurled at him, his car was thumped and kicked by some protesters, it was a clear example of thuggery.
Senator Moran: It was, absolutely.
O’Rourke is clealy showing bias here. He begins with a quesiton and ends by expressing his own strong political opinion. Senator Moran was clearly delighted with O’Rourke’s strong support.
O’Rourke: Do you condemn thuggery or do you accept that it was thuggery?
Cllr. O’Brien attempts to make his point but again O’Rourke interrupts.
O’Rourke: Are you saying you do not condemn the violent actions of some people who showed up last evening?
Cllr. O’Brien: Yes, I am opposed to the throwing of objects, spitting…
…interrupted again by O’Rourke.
O’Rourke: Do you condemn them?
Cllr. O’Brien: Yeah, I’m opposed to that.
O’Rourke: There’s a difference between being opposed to something and condemning it?
Cllr. O’Brien: Well, I do condemn the throwing of objects and conduct of that fashion.
As Cllr. O’Brien tries again to discuss the reason for the protest he is, yet again, interrupted by O’Rourke.
O’Rourke: Were you not in a position last night to appeal to people to restrain themselves, to cooperate with the Gardai?
Cllr. O’Brien explained that protesters were asked by organisers not to allow themselves be provoked by Gardai because a violent response would be used by media to discredit water protesters.
And of course, that’s exactly what Sean O’Rourke and RTE were doing. It’s odd that RTE management don’t seem to be aware of the massive damage such bias is doing to the station’s credibility.