RTE: Rewriting Truth Endlessly…?

AFTER Eoghan Harris’s criticism of RTE, another dissenting republican tears strips off a programme shown recently on RTE for perceived bias towards the IRA. Anthony McIntyre focuses on showing of Hidden History – Joe Cahill: IRA Man, which he describes as an “appalling hagiography”.

McIntyre writes:

Journalism should be, as Stephen Richter argued, about ‘having the guts to stand up to the “big guys,” not to go with the flow, but to challenge the powers that be – that’s the distinguishing criteria for journalists all over the democratic world.’ Not here, however, where the peace process has corrupted journalism and produced journalists against journalism. On occasion some have taken to describing their own colleagues as ‘JAPPs – Journalists Against The Peace Process.’ Others have admitted they would not report on events unhelpful to the peace process.

During the reign of Section 31 a self-flagellating few could be found demanding that they themselves be censored. They now worship at the peace process altar. The journalistic watchword has become ‘hush’ not ‘probe.’ Moral blackmail is now a virtue – speak up and we will endanger the peace process; and, as Eamonn McCann says, find ourselves ‘marked down as irresponsible, a danger both to ourselves and to society as a whole.’ Myths do not merely go unchallenged but are reproduced. Too many journalists behave as players, not reporters.

The peace process is a malignant virus infecting the processes of intellectual autonomy. Its stifling oppressiveness has forced investigative minds to wade through a quagmire of ethical dung, the obnoxious fumes of which they inhale and breath out again as news. Orwell argued that in a time of universal deceit the only revolutionary act is to tell the truth. Irish journalism will hardly be the vanguard of that revolution.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    One wonders if Harris will be happy with the moniker of dissenting republican.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Well, as SF and the IRA have claimed the ‘mainstream’ monicker, and ‘dissident’ seems to apply to RIRA and CIRA types, I thought ‘dissenting’ would be fair enough for democratic republican socialists (if that’s what they are).

    Anyway, there seems to be a theme in the Irish press this week, and it seems to be “Why don’t Irish reporters ask Sinn Fein reps tougher questions instead of simpering?”

    The Limerick Leader got in on the act too:

    “The repeal of Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act was supposed to herald the holding to account of Provos on air. They would be exposed, we were told, for what they are. Instead, journalists have all too often abdicated their responsibility to hold the Provos to account, preferring not only to ask them soft question and even to address them familiarly by their first names.

    “Naturally, the Provos have jumped at the repeated opportunities to woo the South in soft focus. And their seductive shows of affection have, to a small but significant extent, been reciprocated in terms of public opinion. But there are increasing signs that the honeymoon may be over.

    “”Super,” cooed Kenny to Adams after the Late Late interview. And the other gulls in the studio joined in the adulation. But not Limerick.”


  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Gonzo, even Harris’s worst enemies wouldn’t call him a republican socialist these days.

    “Anyway, there seems to be a theme in the Irish press this week, and it seems to be “Why don’t Irish reporters ask Sinn Fein reps tougher questions instead of simpering?””

    Gonzo, the Independent stable have been running with this theme for some time. Unless a reported coopies the modus operandi of the Independent and its’ hacks then that reporter or broadcaster can expect a tongue lashing from the likes of Harris, O Hanlon. RDE et al.
    The fact that they yelp so loudly makes it even more enjoyable.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    It may have started in the Indo, but a certain trend was evident this week. Care to speculate as to why?

  • aquifer

    In the North we have attempted to answer the question ‘what do we have to do to have the Provos give up their guns?’

    They have now realised that they face the same question, and without the British security services and a few hundred thousand prods to help them with the answer.

  • Henry94

    There was an argument made at the time of the repeal of Section 31 that it woud allow RTE’s ace reporters and others to defeat Sinn Fein.

    It didn’t work of course. If you had to pinpoint a time that plan was deemed a failure Sinn Fein weren’t even on.

    I think it was the night leading Irish Times journaist Fintan O’Toole lost an argument with leading ballad group The Wolfe Tones.

    That was priceless.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “It may have started in the Indo, but a certain trend was evident this week. Care to speculate as to why?”

    These people prefer to hunt in packs, just their baser instincts.

  • aquifer

    Is it not more like creatures herding in response to predators, creating a fair chance of any too forward wolves getting trampled.

    This IRA victimhood thing is confetti thin by now.

  • Lafcadio

    Henry – were we watching the same show (Fintan O’Toole vs Wolfe Tones)? O’Toole was the only person in the studio to emerge from that grubby evening with his dignity intact – he tried manfully to stick to the point, as articulately and thoughtfully as is possible on the Late Late Show, while the lads from the Tones looked at him uncomprehendingly, and then resorted to puerile swats, and smug playing to the gallery. They exposed themselves very clearly as the intellectually-challenged troglodytes that they are.

  • willowfield

    Why were the Wolfe Tones, shameful terrorist cheerleaders, given air time by RTE?

  • slackjaw

    I agree with Lafcadio’s comments entirely. The Wolfe Tones have undoubted musical talent, but their behaviour panders to the lowest common denominator.

    On the show, Brian Warfield (I think it was him)was arguing that none of his songs expressed explicit support for the IRA. Fintan O’Toole was asked by him to give an example of a song that did, and he replied with ‘Celtic Symphony’, which Warfield used as evidence that he knew nothing of the Wolfe Tones’ music, because the song is supposedly in honour of Celtic FC and its supporters.

    (I presume Warfield considered it beyond his control that those members of the public who join in singing this song frequently ad-lib a refrain of ‘Ooh-Aah up the RA’ – A bit like Smokie claiming that if audience members want to shout ‘Alice Alice, Who The F**k Is Alice’, this is beyond their artistic control)

    I felt sorry for Fintan O’Toole that night, but I think he was ill-prepared to take them on.

  • Sandy Park

    To fully appreciate the depth and content of the political stance of the Wolfe Tones, you should read the series of exchanges in the ‘Wild Geese’ Irish American website. Truly hilarious/ pathetic or both.

    Linked from Newshound;_

  • Sandy Park


    “Why were the Wolfe Tones, shameful terrorist cheerleaders, given air time by RTE?”

    Don’t know about RTE but tragically they don’t get airtime on Aer Lingus anymore…booh hooh


  • Little Timmy

    After reading the Warfield interview, I cannot believe that when considering his own Lyrics Warfied cannot reason why some may take offence to his views and work.

    Apart from the hyperbole and mysticism, Warfield’s songs are truely offensive, in my view not just to many people who do not share his ‘political’ or ‘cultural’ outlook, but to many other decent people who abhor terrorism, sectarianism and racism.

    Unfortunately, despite this, I do see the hilarious and pathetic side of Warfied’s endeavours.

  • Lafcadio

    Sandy Park – what a great website! I’ve just read “Tom Madigan’s” (who he?) response to Roy Beggs, a masterpiece of overblown bluster and clumsy, ill-informed rhetoric..

    I was tickled by his assertion that Beggs’s “…actions, aside from being an affront to Derek and the Wolfe Tones, was (sic) an affront to the worldwide Irish population” – I always love it when someone presumes to speak on behalf of people like this – I mean, do they do surveys first or something?

    I loved the pic at the top too – Paisley and Trimble in a fiery-looking red bit at the bottom, with Adams and McGuinness surrounded by a green “halo” in the clouds!!

  • Davros

    Woeseom Warfield looks very “colonial” in that picture. How come he isn’t wearing a Goose winged hat ?

  • Little Timmy

    WGT: It’s just another act of appeasement to the Unionists. They’re just trying to placate these people.

    Derek: It is an act of appeasement and he was calling me ‘bin Laden.’ That’s what he called me.

    WGT: Oh, my God! That’s a disgusting comment. You’re a wonderful person, a beautiful human being and to compare you to this monster is an outrage!

    Derek: His policies have more in common with bin Laden than mine.

    What a joke! I constant references to ‘them’ and ‘us’ is so prehistoric and offensive in itself. Both traditions have a shared, but distinct and proud histories.

  • Sandy Park


    Its an absolute cracker isn’t it?

    Tom Madigan is the ‘associate producer’of this self styled “leading Irish history and heritage Internet site, was established in Fall 1997 to share “The Epic History and Heritage of the Irish” with the immense number of individuals of Irish ancestry found worldwide.”

    Here are more of Mr M’s thoughts on the ‘Tones…

    “most Irish music has a single, constant undercurrent. It’s an expression in song, of a people who’ve lived under a heavy yoke for almost a millennium. Derek Warfield’s music and the music of The Wolfe Tones simply highlights that constant more so than others. One must ask the question, “Why would they write this music as they do?” The answer is simple, to tell Irish history in song and music from the viewpoint of an oppressed people.”

    Truly moving stuff. It reminds me of a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed…”

    And theres more….
    “The Irish Republican Army didn’t indiscriminately kill other human beings simply out of political disagreement. For the most part, their targets were military in nature and were a response to largely unreported atrocities committed by either the British army (or agents thereof) or by Loyalist thugs.
    In fact, a sincere and heartfelt apology was issued recently by the IRA to those families and individuals who have suffered or have lost a loved one through mistake or mishap”

    Any republican care to defend Mr Madigan and Mr Warfield…where is Catriona Ruane when you need her.

  • Belfast Gonzo


  • Sandy Park

    O come all ye shinners, give yourselves a Xmas boost, forget about the Colombian 3 for a moment and give the Wild Geese a gander..


    you’ll be pround to be a provie again

  • Davros

    I never was that impressed with this “Wild Geese” nonsense. PR romanticising of what happened. The “officer Class” of the Gaels fecked off and left the peasantry in the poop. At least James got derided by Lady Tyrconnell for abandoning the PBI at the Boyne.

  • Davros

    Pic of cute Ba with remarkably good handwriting- “Don’t deport my daddy”
    Can anyone ignore the situation of Ciarán Ferry?

    Yes is the answer to that one.