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Dublin Opinion >>
Something sickening about Independent Newspapers attacks on RTE
arts and media |
Thursday November 24, 2011 18:39 by Charles R Murrow - Indymedia Nightly News
Nothing as unedifying and hypocritical as the Sindo and its stablemate reaching for higher moral ground
RTE broadcast an unforgivable and totally unjustifiable libel on Fr Michael Reynolds. They broadcast on air an untrue allegation that he fathered a child with a child in Africa - despite his offer to undergo a paternity test. He took them to court and rightfully to the cleaners.
Now RTE are subject to a Broadcasting authority of Ireland enquiry as well as one undertaken by the Press Ombudsman, Professor John Horgan.
Who has ridden over the ridge to to proclaim all that is holy in journalism? None other than Eoghan Harris, and his newspaper, the Sunday Independent.
Harris wants Ed Mulhall, RTE's head of news, sacked (20th November). Harris has been attacking Mulhall for years. Who knows what for and who cares, just for the moment.
How to make the SINDO sing - the paper that protects the strong and attacks the weak
Of much more interest is what happens in the Sindo and its stable mates when it breaks the rules?
Who got the sack after this was published
Lawlor killed in red-light district with teenage girl
The Sunday Independent, 23 October 2005
by CIARAN BYRNE, JODY CORCORAN and NICK PATON-WALSH in MOSCOW
LIAM LAWLOR, the controversial former Fianna Fail politician, was killed yesterday in a high-speed crash in Moscow in the company of a teenage girl described by police as "likely to be a prostitute", the Sunday Independent can reveal. The 61-year-old was travelling from a red-light district towards Moscow with a Ukrainian girl when his hired Mercedes spun out of control at 1am Moscow time.
Apart from Lawlor being killed, all lies. The 'teenage girl described by police as "likely to be a prostitute"' was a translator who took the Sindo to the cleaners, just like Fr Reynolds and RTE.
Harris expressed a view on who RTE should sack:
'Not the reporter Aoife Kavanagh, the executive producer, Brian Parceir or the Prime Time editor, Ken O'Shea. And that's how it should be.... the buck stops with Ed Mulhall, RTE's Head of News and Current Affairs......
Ok, so who did the Sindo sack in similar circumstances? Editor, Mr Fanning? Deputy Editor, Mrs Fanning (formerly Mrs Harris)?
No one that's who.
Here is a revealing article from Village Magazine that explained what happened after the Lawlor story was exposed as a fraud, after Then Irish Independent columnist Justine McCarthy wrote a column about corporate greed and after the newspaper management didn't like how the industrial correspondent was covering the Irish Ferries Dispute.
Attack on corporate greed censored
Village Magazine,1 December 2005
The linkages and similarities between Independent News and Media and
By Colin Murphy, Emma Browne, John Byrne and Vincent Browne
Justine McCarthy had written a biting attack on Irish corporate greed.
She wrote it in the context of the Irish Ferries dispute but her scope
was broader. She wrote about the adulation of RyanAir, which had
banned trade unions, charged disabled people for access to their
planes and engaged in confrontational promotion, all to boost already
overblown profits. She wrote of the warrior managerial culture that
pervades the Celtic Tiger Ireland. Someone who read the column before
it went into the computer system of the Irish Independent said her
target could as well have been the management culture of Independent
Newspapers itself (see accompanying story).
She did not realise the column had been dropped until a colleague
asked her about it on Monday morning (28 November).
She saw the
editor, Gerry O'Regan, who is in the job only a few weeks, and he told
her she had no entitlement either to have the column published or to
be informed in advanced that the column was being "spiked" (the
journalistic terms for discarded). It was a confrontational encounter.
Later Gerry O'Regan informed her she was being dropped as a columnist
– she is employed as a feature writer and was paid additionally as a
columnist. He offered no reason for dropping her, saying merely that
she had no right to expect to be retained as a columnist for ever. He
further said he didn't "spike" a column, it was just a piece of news
There had been a disagreement between Justine McCarthy and Gerry
O'Regan a few weeks previously. She had done an interview with Bishop
Willie Walsh, in the wake of the publication of the Ferns report. He
was the first bishop to speak in public after the report had been
published and in the interview he had spoken out about the ordination
of women, the celibacy of the priesthood and Church/State relations,
all hugely pertinent especially in the light of the attack by Liz
O'Donnell on the Catholic Church a few days previously and Bertie
Ahern's response. Gerry O'Regan was insistent the interview be
published in an inside page in the Saturday Review section of the
newspaper – he wanted an extract from the book by economist and
commentator, David McWilliams published as the main feature. But that
discussion had been relatively amicable.
The row with Justine McCarthy came the same day (Monday 28 November)
as another surprising decision by Gerry O'Regan: that to "stand down"
the industrial correspondent of the Irish Independent, Gerry Flynn,
from reporting on the Irish Ferries story. Flynn had reported on the
previous Saturday that management at Irish Ferries had considered
using tear gas to dislodge protesting workers from the ferries some
months previously. This was vigorously denied by Irish Ferries
management but Flynn persisted with the story and repeated it in a
front page article in the Sunday Independent on 27 November. Then,
without warning, Gerry Flynn, the newspaper's industrial relations
correspondent, was removed from coverage of the most significant
industrial relations story of recent years. He first heard of this
decision, not from the management of the Irish Independent but from a
journalist with another publication who telephoned him as he was on
his way to the office.
When he got to the new offices of Independent Newspapers on Talbot St,
Gerry O'Regan informed him he was being withdrawn from coverage of the
story because of a general threat by Irish Ferries against the media
in general, according to a source in Independent Newspapers.
Gerry Flynn consulted the NUJ about the matter and the issue is to be
discussed at a union-management meeting on Thursday (1 December). In
addition to that an inquiry has been instituted into Flynn's story
about Irish Ferries and the tear gas option. This inquiry is to be
conducted by the same team that inquired into the Sunday Independent's
coverage of the death in Moscow of Liam Lawlor: Michael Deniffe, the
managing editor of the group, Declan Carlyle or "human resources" and
Tony O'Reilly (no relation) also of "human resources".
That team's inquiry into the Liam Lawlor story – where the Sunday
Independent reported in its headline on the front page that a woman in
the car with Liam Lawlor, when he was killed, was "likely to be a
prostitute" – seemed exhaustive. The team travelled to Moscow to
interview contacts and interviewed several journalists on the staff of
the Sunday Independent, including its editor, Aengus Fanning.
According to a well-placed source in the Sunday Independent the
outcome of this inquiry has been to recommend some procedural changes
in the newspaper. Neither the editor, Aengus Fanning, neither the
deputy editor, Anne Harris, are to be fired apparently.
One of the intriguing dimensions to the coverage of the Irish Ferries
story by the Irish Independent is the corporate overlap between
Independent Newspaper and Media and the company that owns Irish
Ferries, Irish Continental Group. Bernard Somers, a close business
associate of Tony O'Reilly, the controlling shareholder and chief
executive of Independent News and Media (INM), is on the board of both
INM and Irish Continental.
Bernard Somers is aged fifty six
He was appointed to the board of
Irish Continental Group (ICG) in 2004 as a non-executive director. He
is a non-executive director of Independent News and Media, as well as
of some other companies including the glass-making company Ardagh plc
and DCC. A chartered accountant, he is a partner in Somers and
Associates, and accountants practice which specialises in corporate
restructuring. He was involved in the corporate restructuring of Aer
Lingus in 2001. He also worked as a consultant to CIE and as an
adviser to business man Larry Goodman. He is a brother of Michael
Somers, the head of the National Treasury Management Agency.
Sometimes the SINDO loses - see graphic about Jackie Kelly story. Press Ombudsman decision in her case here:
Jackie Kelly letter in Impact magazine on her SINDO battle - click to read
Evening Herald jumps on anti RTE bandwagon - how did Herald cover SINDO Lawlor story?