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Sunday 18 February 2018

Michael O'Doherty: Why the 'secret RTE producer' is really a simple rat

Photo: Getty Stock
Photo: Getty Stock
Michael O'Doherty

Michael O'Doherty

Regular readers of this column will know I'm no great fan of RTE management. So you'd have thought that I'd be a fan of the recent "secret RTE producer" Twitter account, purporting to belong to a disgruntled member of its staff, which has been in the news all week for its relentless attack on his or her employers. But you'd be wrong.

To begin with, most of the "revelations" are about as shocking as a weather forecast that announces the sun will rise in the east.

"People start leaving at 5.30, and by six the place is nearly deserted." Really? Who would have guessed?

"Staff get paid overtime for working evenings and weekends." Again, a blinding revelation.

"There are lovely presenters, and horrible presenters. Sometimes the nice ones are bad presenters." Well, blow me over, who would have thought it?

Such is the patently obvious nature of most of the "revelations" that one wonders whether the author is actually an RTE employee at all.

Most of the information could easily have been compiled by anyone after a few hours searching online for well-documented gripes about the national broadcaster.

It wouldn't surprise me that, after all the drama about witch-hunts to find the identify of the mole, it just turns out to be another pathetic internet troll working from their bedsit.

This outcome would, to be honest, be more satisfying for the person in question, because for all their insistence that they are exposing RTE's practices for legitimate reasons, there's more than a whiff of hypocrisy here.

In one series of tweets, the individual deals with the redundancy package recently offered to many staff, suggesting that it's flawed because the dead wood at whom it is primarily aimed are so well paid and under-worked by RTE that it will be impossible for them to find as attractive a job elsewhere, and it's only those close to retirement who will be happy to take the lump sum and leave.

Curiously, in response to the question of whether the "secret RTE producer" themselves is going to take redundancy, they answer a categorical "no".

Without expanding on any reasons why, one can only assume it's for those reasons that it chastises others for not wishing to leave.

One would have thought that if the producer is so contemptuous of their employers and so unhappy in their work, as he or she claims, then they would simply resign.

But for all their high- handed talk about wanting to expose a rotten culture within RTE, and so many staff being on the gravy train, they seem happy to be a passenger on that very same train for as long as RTE keeps paying them.

Whistleblowers are principled people who expose wrongdoing and take personal risks in so doing.

It's very different from anonymously trolling your employer while continuing to take its money.

The "secret RTE producer" is not a whistleblower. The "secret RTE producer" is simply a rat.


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