RTE in grip of peace process consensus?

Finucane’s abduction prompts Eoghan Harris to question why RTE chose to drop any mention of the matter during the week, and focus instead on the apparent escape of the Colombia Three.Harris, who might share Anthony McIntyre’s self description as a hostile witness when it comes to Sinn Fein, nevertheless raises some important questions about the nature of the national media, and how editorial decisions are arrived at:

How did RTE reach these two editorial conclusions: to play down the Oireachtas debate and to play up the Colombia Three? How was this done with no dissenting voices? Because if there were no dissenting voices to these two decisions, we must assume that RTE is no longer living in the same society as the rest of us.

He believes that RTE is captured by what he terms a “peace at any price canteen culture”, that has led several of its journalists into ‘delusions of grandeur”.

The money quote:

In that scenario, anyone who is sceptical of Sinn Fein-IRA’s bona fides can be depicted as either an enemy of peace, a blueshirt, a right-wing member of the PDs, or worst of all, a reader of the Sunday Independent.

Although he wasn’t entirely dismissive of broadcasters news values. He quoted several instances over the last week with evident warm approval:

Questions & Answers was a stunning programme – the product of a perfectly balanced panel. Eamon O Cuiv, showing the same steel as his grandfather, flatly told Mitchel McLaughlin – who was at his best too – that there could be no fudging on crime and the IRA. Later, on Five Seven Live, Olivia O’Leary laid bare the brutal truth that for Gerry Adams sovereignty lies not with the Irish Republic but with the IRA’s Army Council.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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