Saturday 24 March 2018

Race revealed a multitude of ironies

It was the BBC, rather than RTE, who told us more about the presidential election, writes John-Paul McCarthy

IF RTE's Constant President profile of the departing McAleese family was constantly innocuous, then BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight analysis of the presidential election illuminated by contrast.

Spotlight's depiction of Martin McGuinness's career was unsteady and contradictory in places, but this served to enrich Declan Lawn's nuanced and sensitive programme. Spotlight invoked a range of experts to emphasise the fact that McGuinness did not leave the IRA in the Seventies, but the programme also adopted a bewildered tone on occasion when assessing the Republic's refusal to take McGuinness at face-value.

This unsteadiness in tone shaped its overall engagement with the political argument in the Republic. Spotlight did not seem sure who to talk to here, and in the end it opted for an awkward compromise.

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