Sunday 25 February 2018

RTE's Dobson cleared over 'idiots' jibe

RTE newsreader Bryan Dobson: cleared of seven complaints
RTE newsreader Bryan Dobson: cleared of seven complaints
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

RTE newsreader Bryan Dobson has been cleared of seven complaints made after he referred to a group of protesters as "idiots" live on television.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's (BAI) compliance committee said that the presenter "could have handled the situation in a better manner".

However, it judged that he was expressing his frustration at having to cut an interview short and wasn't trying to cause offence.

The incident occurred on November 27 last year when Dobson was interviewing economic analyst Ronan Lyons about property prices.

Anti-bailout protesters, holding a mask of Taoiseach Enda Kenny's face and placards reading 'Burn the bonds, not the billions', interrupted the segment.

Growing increasingly irritated, Dobson ended the interview, saying: "I'm going to stop that there because the idiots behind you are a bit of a distraction.

"We'll try and get rid of those and come back to you."

Seven viewers complained to the BAI. It decided that Dobson's use of the term "idiots" was not in reference to the protesters' message but an expression of the news anchor's irritation.

"The committee was of the opinion that the term used arose out of frustration at the distraction that he reasonably believed the protesters were causing," the statement read.

The BAI concluded that Dobson was not commenting on the individuals' anti-bailout protest as the interview "was unrelated to their message".

Irish Independent

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