Tuesday 16 July 2019

Review: Let's stop treating world leaders like celebrities

Philip Boucher Hayes
Philip Boucher Hayes

Eilis O'Hanlon

Where to begin to describe Hillary Clinton's appearance on Monday's Ryan Tubridy Show on RTE Radio One? The Late Late Show host was not given an interview so much as granted an audience, and dutifully played his allotted role by tossing the softest of questions at the former First Lady.

Hillary came across well - and why wouldn't she, given the advantage of going unchallenged? Listeners were impressed by the "much warmer" woman on display than they'd seen during her unsuccessful campaign to be US President, leading Tubridy to conclude that "if the woman you heard just now… had run [in 2016], I think the chances of her being in the White House would probably be considerably enhanced, but for whatever reason they seem to have sent out a different candidate to the person you've been listening to".

He then recommended two books to listeners which provide a deeper insight into what went wrong with her campaign. But why didn't he raise these issues with her when he had the chance, rather than just asking anodyne personal questions?

Hillary Clinton is not a celebrity, and it's not Ryan Tubridy's job to be her friend.

Over on Marty In The Morning, the eponymous Mr Whelan was once again treating loyal listeners of Lyric FM to the familiar experience of tuning in midway through a programme, only to hear a piece of music such as Carly Simon's 1986 hit Coming Around Again, then checking the dial to make sure they're in the right place.

The reason for the music choice, apparently, was that it was Carly's 73rd birthday, and it would have been the late George Michael's 55th, so naturally A Different Corner was featured as well. I'm probably resigned to it now, but does anyone else ever find themselves missing RTE's old classical music station, FM3?

Roving reporter Paddy O'Gorman went along to the beach at Donabate, Co Dublin, to interview people out enjoying the heatwave for Tuesday's Today With Sean O'Rourke. The dominant sentiment: "You can't beat Ireland on a sunny day."

"You never heard a truer word," agreed O'Rourke, and it was good to hear some positivity about the weather when the previous day had concentrated more on the problems associated with the heat. Paddy, though, is Irish radio's poet laureate of misery, and it's always a bit odd to hear his interviewees sounding so happy.

Thankfully, Liveline was on hand to raise temperatures for a different reason, by interviewing a man who'd got hold of 692 tickets for the Pope's upcoming mass at Phoenix Park, intending either to burn them in protest at the Catholic church or simply stop others from attending.

"Tawdry... tacky... petty... spiteful" was the verdict of the first caller who had a chance to respond. "I can't believe that a grown man would stoop so low." But the next caller urged him not to bother arguing with the ticket-hogger, as there was no point. "Don't say that," interjected presenter Philip Boucher Hayes (right), "there'll be no phone-in show." There's a man who knows on which side his bread is buttered.

Sunday Independent

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