There's a trend I've long noted and once posted about here:
It's become more and more obvious over time - that is, the tendency to constantly impinge the integrity of RTE on as many issues as possible. The Kevin Reynolds debacle started it alongside the reaction to the Gallagher tweet story. To most genuinely non-biased observers, RTE made an honest mistake, and thatís about that, but because they're public sector, their mistakes get publically examined, reports published and they get dragged in front of Oireachtas committees and made apologise - possibly compromising their ability to defend a court action. They don't get the protections the likes of the indo, Times and others get when they mess up (so many libels to choose from...).
But the frenzy continues. The Jim Sheridan story was not, as reported, Pat Rabbitte slams Sheridan, it was a kick RTE story. The article is here: RTE probe after 'deplorable' tweet attack on senator - National News - Independent.ie. Basically, in the opening line it says:
So Rabbitte describe 'a series of tweets' as deplorable and offensive. And they were. I'm no Mullen fan, but it got very, very nasty. But, that isn't the story...COMMUNICATIONS Minister Pat Rabbitte has described a series of offensive tweets posted about Senator Ronan Mullen as "deplorable" and "offensive".
Now, to the reader, the subtle implication, and the story that hit twitter is Rabbitte savages RTE producer. As you can see, he did no such thing. He criticised a series of tweets. Sheridan replied to a jokey Christ allegory, made his own one ("He'd be back in three days ... But we could have at least one great weekend without him appearing on TV or radio.") and that would have been that.The tweets, many of which were written by musical director of 'The Late Late Show', Jim Sheridan, contained words and images mocking Mr Mullen.
Instead, other posters went to town and the thread became really ugly. Sheridan only posted twice more in it, both times to asked he be removed from such nastiness and basically telling them to cop on. But the Indo spun it into Comms Minister lashes RTE for staffs behaviour.
Still talking about the thread of tweets, not Sheridan. But here is the kicker....But last night, Mr Rabbitte described the tweets as "dreadful and offensive" and said he could not see any humour in them. "I deplore this kind of communication from any source," he added.
David Quinn tweeted it as:Mr Mullen said it was of concern that "such virulent nastiness" would come from someone within RTE.The 'probe' was the title of the article, but what RTE were actually quoted as saying was...RTE probe after 'deplorable' tweet attack on Ronan Mullen... Notably no tweets from anyone at RTE attacking pro-choicers. Is this now a probe? A company talking to its employee after an issue is raised is a 'probe'? Quinn has a tendency to play the RTE card anytime he's slated, an RTE freelancer Pat O'Mahony apologised in Dec 2012 for hot tempered comments he made about Quinn, but Quinn made a lot of the RTE connection - somehow forgetting Iona colleagues were practically camping in the RTE canteen for weeks around the Savita story.A spokesperson for RTE said: "We are discussing the tweets with him in relation to our social media guidelines."
For years now RTE have been lambasted for being in hock to parties, be it too soft on FF (Tubridy/Joe Duffy's Bertie Ahern lov.. erm... Liveline), too harsh on FF (George Lee joining FG erupted that nest), being too soft/hard on SF (Adams/McGuinness) or now, giving Labour a soft ride.
Right wingers constantly bemoan it for having a 'left wing Liberal agenda', and left wingers bemoan it for not exposing the truth, as they see it, from their side (say, not identifying contributors as Iona Institute members).
Whatís not in question is that after a few mistakes, RTE is being critically mauled by the private press with an un reserved glee. Newstalk are the main culprits. One wonders the reasons why?
Part of it is no doubt attacking a competitor for their failings, and RTE has been seen as holier than thou, it is 'relatively' sheltered from the advertising & subscription crisis now facing other media. It's a smaller pie and RTE have a lot of it.
Some of it is jealousy, both corporate and journalistic, of the t&c's RTE's employee's enjoy. It is probably still considered the pinnacle of a career in journalism to work with RTE, with few figures in the country having the standing of seasoned journalists like O'Callaghan, Bowman, Davin-Power and co enjoying a credibility few in print or commentary can enjoy.
Some of it is thinking RTE simply trying to get more sympathy for a position, by claiming bias by the giant in the room.
But what's not in question is that every micro-episode that someone connected with RTE is involved in, is being used as a vehicle to chip away at RTE's credibility. Maybe it's time RTE stuck back and began reporting on the dificulties of other media groups.