Nolan & Bradley on the state of political analysis in Northern Ireland.

A really interesting debate on the Nolan Show this morning between Denis Bradley and Stephen Nolan about a column in the Irish News penned by Bradley over the state of political commentary in Northern Ireland.

 

  • Dan2

    Nolan was rather huffy when faced with criticism over his tired old format.
    Bradley called it right.
    But, the entire media/political clique in NI have long been a switch off. Same wee select group with too high an opinion of themselves.

  • Get The Grade Get The Grade

    Denis Bradley – a man of courage, integrity and supreme intelligence. When he talks, one can’t help but listen.

  • Glenn

    Denis Bradley is correct, and he would be a better host for this format.

    Nolan’s local shows both TV and radio have morphed into Jeremy Kyle on the wireless and a poor judge Rinder, “speaking”!!!!! It’s all about me on the TV. Nolan’s 5 Live program is quite different and he speaks to the caller in a more respectful and considered manner.

    As for the Talkback program, it is a little more refined but Crawley has a tendency to be sanctimonious to callers who don’t share his obvious point of view.

  • ted hagan

    Nolan was certainly stung by the criticism while much of what Bradley said was spot-on and very intelligent. There are far too many manufactured bear-pit squabbles on the Nolan Show where there much heat and little light.

  • 05OCT68

    I think Bradley is correct, I stopped listening & watching Nolan because he prefers confrontation over debate. I turned to Slugger instead, now Slugger can be a bear pit & some of us, me included can go a bit dingbatty (is that a word?) at times but in reading an opposing comment & typing a reply forces you to think about a comment. I’ve also found a broader spectrum of opinion on Slugger.

  • Nordie Northsider

    One of the best things about Slugger’s recent TV broadcasts was the way participants were allowed to speak at length and develop points without being interrupted or challenged after 20-40 seconds. Go see the recent James Baldwin documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro’, which contains lengthy segments from TV interviews given by Baldwin. He was a thoughtful speaker, and when he wanted to express something nuanced or subtle, he spoke hesitantly and with a good deal of short silences. He wouldn’t stand a chance on TV or radio today.

  • Korhomme

    I stopped trying to listen to the first audio; it was classic Nolan, shouting over someone and being confrontational for its own sake.

  • Zeno3

    Nolan is there to provide entertainment. Lots of times that involves taking advantage of people who are not as sharp as the rest of us. He claims He is giving them a voice but in most cases it’s just an opportunity to make fools of themselves. He uses them. He knows that if there is a long silence from him the caller will start talking again and that is when they are likely to say something stupid or controversial.
    It’s not political debate, as someone else said, and they are 100% right, it’s Jeremy Kyle on the radio.

  • Glenn

    Also did I hear Nolan refer to himself as a journalist??? What are his journalistic credentials??? If the he thinks being a shock-jock makes him a journalist then he is delusional and it really is all about him.

  • the keep

    Really he sounds to me like a pompous arrogant sod Nolan is a show for the people.

  • Barneyt

    And this thread was going so well

  • notimetoshine

    Just because it is a show for the people doesn’t make it good. The people aren’t known for their common sense. Especially in NI.

  • ElamLayor

    NNorrrmmman frm Baangoorrr!!!

  • notimetoshine

    My God Bradley should never have gone on with Nolan. Nolan resorts to type, narrowing in on statements Bradley makes and taking them completely out of the context they were intended understood in.

    But the most outrageous thing in this conversation was Nolan’s belief that “… you stop labelling people as intelligent, you stop labelling people as knowledgeable… Because who defines intelligent…” He then goes on to say “if they are not advocating illegality they have a right to be on…” So the only criteria for appearing on his show is that you aren’t advocating something illegal. Otherwise feel free.

    It boggles the mind. Nolan refuses to accept that some people are more knowledgeable than others. This thing of ‘everyone’s opinion is valid’, is utter nonsense, of course it isn’t. Someone with skills or training or an extensive knowledge of something is of course going to have more to contribute to a discussion than some random guy off the street. I wouldn’t call into a show about building bridges and expect my opinion to hold as much weight as that of a civil engineer!

    Unfortunately Bradley didn’t say what really needed to be said. The Vox Populi is not necessarily the smartest voice, the most coherent, or even a valid voice. In fact more often than not it is the hysterical voice, the voice that refuses to listen to reason. That often flies in the face of facts.

    Nolan is a poster child for the ‘had enough of experts’ (otherwise known as the Govian school) movement. I know it is sacrilege to say it, but the electorate just isn’t that smart…

  • Granni Trixie

    I have to disagree. He has no off button and doesn’t appear to listen.

  • Granni Trixie

    And I thought I was alone in that opinion.

  • ElamLayor

    Denis Bradley we’re talkin about here – not Nolan!

  • Granni Trixie

    In general People seek to understand puzzling events and (so the theory goes) “news” remains in the public domain until that drive is satisfied.
    As Ni is especially prone to “you couldn’t make it up” events, there is plenty of scope for people – anybody – to help in that process of sense making. I don’t think myself that local academics have done their bit in helping explain what’s going on here. A good example of this would be for instance anthropologists who have written about the nature of sectarianism. Or about symbols and emotion – which could help explain why flags are such a hot issue here (not everywhere). Or why there is conflict in groups supposed to be singing from the same hymnsheet.

    But whilst academic knowledge has its place in helping the public understand what’s going on (indeed it can powerfully alter the debate) – thoughtful ‘ordinary’ people who get to grips with how to present their views can be powerful and empowering.

    There was something in what Dennis Bradley was saying but in the main I did not agree with him.

  • Skibo

    I am going to come to Stephen’s defence here. He has brought subjects front and centre which would have been ignored before or brushed under the carpet by saying “ah sure that is just your man, take no notice of him.”
    We need people like Nolan to challenge what has become the acceptable in Northern Ireland. He has worked for his audience and has achieved results.
    How many times have people had problems get them sorted and all you have to do is mention the Nolan Programme!
    In the end he is producing an entertainment programme. He gets people energised and debate results. The general public get on and some say things you normally hear in the pub after a bit of drink has been spilt but it does make us question ourselves when we hear others saying it out loud.
    Dennis Bradley is an amazing person and has done so much for us all in the North to move the political process along but even he and Doctor Eames were rejected when they could have moved the Victims issue much further that anyone before them.

  • Granni Trixie

    And mostly men.

  • ted hagan

    Bradley was was not opposing the voice of the people, what he emphasised was that the radio phone-in format generally ends up attracting a small circle of the usual suspects with Nolan here to light the touchpaper for the predictable and increasingly wearisome squabbles that result. Nolan uses the ‘biggest show in the country’ listening figures to justify his show but that’s like saying the Sun newspaper is the best quality offering because it sells the most copies.

  • ElamLayor

    Crawley is M&S – Nolan is Iceland – take your pick

  • Skibo

    Actually the only difference is how much you want to spend and if you are vane enough to be concerned about your neighbours seeing you out shopping!

  • Davie Sproule

    Nolan’s programme just reveals our society warts and all. He doesn’t manufacture anything just shining a light on the nature of our wee country.

  • Skibo

    Actually the Sun has now dropped to number two being replaced by the Daily Mail.
    Nolan touches subjects some fear to go near and his back room people seem to be very efficient at getting information.
    The issue is the vast majority of people will not lift the phone to call but will still listen.

  • 05OCT68

    just put yer Iceland messages in an M&S bag.

  • ted hagan

    Well if you’re talking paid-for newspapers then the Sun is the top seller. Nolan does some decent stuff but such a lot of his show”s airtime is taken up with slanging matches that are tribal, go nowhere, and serve no purpose except to inflame.

  • ted hagan

    I carry my Lidl bag with pride.

  • the keep

    He truly is a quango man who claims to know better than everybody else he just gets on my nerves

  • 05OCT68

    Its pronounced Li Del.

  • ElamLayor

    me? I’m just blowin in the wind

  • ted hagan

    That’s the Cherry Valley Li Del.
    It’s Liddle where I come from.

  • ted hagan

    Nolan is obviously ambitious, and who could knock him for that, and he’s knocking his pan in, but whether he gets any further beyond the Five Live late night gig I have my doubts.

  • notimetoshine

    I have always found the Nolan show to be the political equivalent of the Jeremy Kyle show.

  • Lorcs1

    Lidl like a needle…

  • The worm!

    I’m just shocked that any reasonably thinking, fair-minded human being, gives Nolan and any of his outlets the time of day anymore.

    An arrogant, self-serving, self-important, mouth piece. But worse, a sad reflection on society here that he is awarded the status that he commands.

  • aquifer

    Public Service broadcasting proved its worth during the Peace Process, when it hosted many discussions that dealt with issues seriously ensuing that outside voices were heard.

    But it nearly did not happen. The budget might not have been granted.

    The mass media are fighting for audience share in an every more crowded marketplace. Staged arguments are are an easy draw, but analysis and perspective can get trampled underfoot.

    Did the BBC charter not have something about education?

  • I don’t have much respect for Nolan. Demanding evidence that swimming in sewage could damage health summed him up for me, the final nail in the coffin was claiming prostitutes only did the work because they liked sex – I think it was only upon the second time that he made that remark that he had to apologize for it. He’s not really cut out for political debate.

  • David

    Bradley does have a point regarding Nolan’s callers, often overly represented by bible quoters and serial ‘contributors’ who have an opinion on everything but little or nothing useful to say. Undoubtedly part of the reason is Nolan’s time slot when the most likely callers are the retired and the off work, however I think many (myself included) are put off by Nolan’s often abrupt and abrasive manner, this Bradley interview being a case in point. He can do charm and sympathy when it’s needed, but generally it does indeed reek of Jeremy Kyle type presentation, confrontation for its own sake.

    Many local politicians do need that type of approach and Nolan’s dissection of election manifestos can often be a masterclass, but to lambast some guy from Translink or destroy a well meaning caller is usually ugly and uncalled for.

    Nolan is OK as entertainment of a sort, but I find that Talkback often appears to be Nolan-lite with a few tunes thrown in as padding. Crawley can be a shrewd and incisive interviewer but too often descends into Nolan style knockabout. I rarely manage to listen through to the end of either show, which is a shame because both have talented presenters. Whether there is room for both, particularly a couple of hours apart, is debateable.

    Fair play to Bradley for laying bare Nolan’s ego and not backing down.

  • The worm!

    “and he’s knocking his pan in,”

    Aye, I’m sure his hands are a right state of hacks and callouses!

  • nagantino

    You’ve got to be kidding man.

  • Granni Trixie

    I have time for Nolan not least as he is one of the few journalists who has challenged people who support punishment beatings in their community.

  • Skibo

    He has also brought bonfire builders and the OO and the LCC to the fore also. Perhaps he gives Jamie too much time, perhaps not. It is a side of Unionism that has to be heard also.
    I find that when the extremes of Unionism and Loyalism are brought to the fore, ordinary Unionists are confronted with what is wrong with their culture and needs to be condemned.
    Unfortunately not enough condemnation comes from the DUP and when the UUP try to give some balance, the DUP sabre rattle and bring it all back to the extreme.
    interestingly Emma Pengelly seems to be giving some political backing to the destroying of public property as there is insurance to cover it! i wonder will he cover this on Monday?

  • Skibo

    One issue Nolan was always surprised at was the support that punishment beatings got from the public while no politicians supported it.
    I think it has alot to do with no obvious legal constraints put on habitual offenders.
    We as a community have to find some way of addressing this to give the general public some relief in knowing that justice will be served.

  • Granni Trixie

    As regards Jamie I don’t blame Nolan. Jamie sometimes contributes, sometimes tells us things from the front line which are unpalatable. Always we are clear as to his POV.

    Re ELP, it is my hope that pressure from her constituency in SB will impel her to see that unlawful bonefores are a no no.

  • Skibo

    You honestly believe that Emma is reformable? This is the woman who thinks that it is acceptable to adorn a mixed estate that agreed to be neutral with all sorts of flags.
    I think not and the sooner the people of South Belfast recognise it the better.

  • William Kinmont

    In the absence of any government here the media are our source of control/ redress when it comes to civil servants and public services. I too get annoyed by the sensationalist and entertainment approach that is often taken by Nolan to serious subjects sometimes to the extent that I switch it off. However in today’s mass media world I guess this is the trade off you have to accept , if a show is to have enough clout to compel politicians and public servants on it needs to have the audience figures and following which a pure highbrow show wouldn’t get.
    With regard to callers , some vetting is essential to prevent laws being broken and ensure comments will be relevant but if the show is actively contacting the same callers for their acceptable and predictable comments then they are manipulating rather than reflecting public opinion.
    Someone has already mentioned “biblical” callers to radio Ulster. Biblical opinions of course are part of our society and should be heard in proportion. However what I don’t hear is any challenge to these opinions by the presenter and if other callers challenge them they are quickly sidelined. Are their guidelines within the BBC which prevent criticism of religion? surely in a society and time where Religion is I involved in so many of our problems and controversies a Public service broadcaster should allow questioning and critisim of religious beliefs.

  • William Kinmont

    In the absence of any government here the media are our source of control/ redress when it comes to civil servants and public services. I too get annoyed by the sensationalist and entertainment approach that is often taken by Nolan to serious subjects sometimes to the extent that I switch it off. However in today’s mass media world I guess this is the trade off you have to accept , if a show is to have enough clout to compel politicians and public servants on it needs to have the audience figures and following which a pure highbrow show wouldn’t get.
    With regard to callers , some vetting is essential to prevent laws being broken and ensure comments will be relevant but if the show is actively contacting the same callers for their acceptable and predictable comments then they are manipulating rather than reflecting public opinion.
    Someone has already mentioned “biblical” callers to radio Ulster. Biblical opinions of course are part of our society and should be heard in proportion. However what I don’t hear is any challenge to these opinions by the presenter and if other callers challenge them they are quickly sidelined. Are their guidelines within the BBC which prevent criticism of religion? surely in a society and time where Religion is I involved in so many of our problems and controversies a Public service broadcaster should allow questioning and critisim of religious beliefs.

  • Granni Trixie

    And he’s paid well for knocking his pan in I presume. Well know next Wednesday where he sits on the scale of BBC top salaries when the list is published. Redeners all round.

  • The worm!

    I doubt any of them will care.

    There’ll be lots of quotes all round and copious use of the word “unacceptable”. But as ever, it’ll be just empty bluster around a situation which in fact we have no choice other than to “accept”.

  • Some of the stories on the nolan show are complete non stories. I happened to listen to the show a few weeks ago. Nolan was covering a story about homophobia. The story came from one guy phoning into the show about shocking incidents of homophobia. There was no corroboration from the police or public regarding his allegations. The individual who phoned the show was looking for a new social house on the basis of the homophobic abuse. The show then descended into how the dup are responsible for homophobia in our society, and how the government authorities are complicit in discrimination.

    I was shocked that any person can ring in with an uncorroborated story and you can get hours of publicity on the “biggest show in the country.” There is no standard in terms of what is broadcast. Its no better than wrestling or jerry springer. Who cares if its true as long as we can get into a slanging match.

  • Granni Trixie

    So are you saying that you do not believe that some leaders in the DUP have a case to answer re homophobic remarks/attitudes? Or that homophic abuse does not go on?

  • The incident in question took place on the falls road. Id like to think that unionist politicians were so influential in republican areas and influence people there, but i doubt they are. Blaming the dup for all homophobia is lazy. Jim wells etc do have a case to answer, but they are one part of a bigger problem.

    Ive been verbally abused for being gay all across europe inc NI. Ive found homophobia to be less pervasive here than in many parts of europe.

  • Granni Trixie

    I bow to your experience. I have lived only in Ni. From that I observe that only in recent years are people coming out. A number of families I know only learnt that their near relative was gay when they were in their sixities. We might never know how many people left Ni because it was such hard work living here if you are gay. The silence over ones sexuality was powerful.
    Hopefully not the case today.

    The DUP ofcourse are not alone responsible for homophobic attitudes
    – Ken McGuinness UUP famously referred to the “beastiality” of gay people – but they are in a powerful position to lead by example and many in the DUP get away with making disrespectful remarks about gay people.

  • Sorry that we have gone of on a non Nolan related tangent. I agree that we need to stamp out homophobic comments amongst politicians. That certainly sets a good example to the public at large. I just worry that that by focusing in on the gay marriage debate, we arent tackling the wider causes of homophobia.

    It is never mentioned that 50% of our children are entrusted to the care of an organisation that is institutionally homophobic, and campaigned vigorously against marriage equality in the South. Yet both Sinn Fein and the DUP support the pernicious impact of the Catholic church in educating children during their formative years. Bible based Presbyterian morality is equally at work in the state education sector. I believe that faith based education has a lot to answer for, whether it be the Catholic church in Ireland, or Islamic schools in GB etc.

    It doesnt really help to foster good relations in our communitites by sending our kids to schools with other kids who are just like them, for them to be taught one narrow view of the world.

    I do agree we have moved forward a lot. The days of single older men being labelled as “eccentric” and nobody ever coming out of the closet are behind us.

  • Who remembers the Spotlight programme on the Las Vegas casino owner who wanted to build an NI-themed casino with the Goliath crane and a few other things shipped over from Northern Ireland? And how he gave houses in the USA as payment for the services of the celebrities in NI who helped his campaign. It was a while ago, but wasn’t Stephen Nolan one of those celebrities?