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Complaint over coverage of Trump by RTÉ’s Joe Duffy is rejected by BAI

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Liveline's Joe Duffy. Pic:Mark Condren 8.5.2020

Liveline's Joe Duffy. Pic:Mark Condren 8.5.2020

Liveline's Joe Duffy. Pic:Mark Condren 8.5.2020

RTÉ’s Liveline was the subject of a complaint to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BA) after one listener alleged that presenter Joe Duffy had “criticised and denigrated President Trump”.

The person complained about the June 4 broadcast of the Radio 1 show, which featured an interview with former US Ambassador to the UN and member of the US Democratic Party Samantha Power.

He said that the segment amounted to a “party-political broadcast on behalf of the Democratic Party which lasted for 45 minutes without interruption.”

He also claimed that “the presenter criticised and denigrated President Trump by showing his obvious dislike of the president, bordering on hatred. The complainant states that he would not expect the presenter of Liveline to reveal his biased opinion during an interview.”

The listener said the only way to have balanced the interview was to have asked a Republic Party supporter onto the show and give them equal airtime to show their support for former US President Trump.

According to the latest decisions from the BAI, in its response RTÉ maintained it was not a party-political broadcaster but an interview with a well-known academic and former UN ambassador.

“The interview was in the context of the programme’s ongoing coverage of events occurring in the US at the time of broadcast, particularly with regard to the US President,” it stated.

“The programme included Irish and American contributors and callers both in support of, and against, the president, being featured on the programme. The broadcaster rejects the assertion that the presenter was biased in their handling of the interview.”

It added that regular listeners to the show are familiar with the presenter’s “robust and challenging style of interview.”

Considering the complaint, the Executive Complaints Forum was of the view that the interview did not constitute a party-political broadcast.

It said it was a wide-ranging talk which covered recent events in the US, including the death of George Floyd, the resulting protests and how those were handled by the US administration.

The forum added that a range of matters around the former US president were discussed “sometimes robustly” but this was in keeping with the presenter’s style which listeners would be familiar with.

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Rejecting the complaint, it did not find evidence to support the view that Duffy displayed bias or the programme was unfair, not objective or partial.

An item on Today FM’s ‘Dermot & Dave’ show was also the subject of a complaint after one listener claimed a jingle after the TV slot was sexist as it had a reference to ‘Put on the kettle.’

However the Forum did not consider that the broadcast infringed the

Code of Programme Standards in the manner described and rejected the

complaint.


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