Sunday 25 February 2018

Rudeness and disrespect are taking the place of robust political debate on our airwaves

Cynicism wins out in the art of the impossible

Tánaiste Joan Burton
Tánaiste Joan Burton
Minister of State Dara Murphy
Claire Byrne, along with Sean O'Rourke and Brian Dobson, maintains a professional neutrality at the same time as being a forensic interviewer
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

The Government parties probably hoped for a bounce in popularity in the wake of the launch of the €27bn capital spending programme this week. What a change from the empty coffers of the last six years when budgets were tight and the cupboard was bare as far as spending was concerned. One might have expected that some modicum of welcome would be forthcoming in public discourse and media commentary.

On the contrary, RTÉ, the State public service broadcaster, served up a steady diet of cynicism about the motivation of the launch of the plan, linking it to the forthcoming General Election. On the day of the launch, each Government minister interviewed was accused of base political motives and "electioneering". Scant attention was given to the content.

Why do so many RTÉ journalists seem to feel they have to assault Government ministers at every opportunity? The politicians don't even get to finish their sentences as these verbal muggings are broadcast to hapless listeners. No consideration is given to the notion that people would actually like to hear what ministers have to say, uninterrupted, particularly when major expenditure is being announced on projects of enormous public importance. We are not particularly interested in hearing forceful and frequently rude assertions of journalists, who have already decided what the public view is.

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