Wise Up Journal
by Greg O’Brien and Benjamin Smith-Kavanagh

For an organisation that promotes itself as fair, balanced and owned by the Irish People, a question we must ask is, are RTE really fair and balanced, or is that just a marketing campaign designed to hide the fact that most of the coverage is distorted and one sided? Here is how they describe themselves:

“RTE is a Public Service Broadcaster, a non-profit making organization owned by the Irish people. RTE is Ireland’s cross-media leader, providing comprehensive and cost-effective free-to-air television, radio and online services, which are of the highest quality and are impartial, in accordance with RTE’s statutory obligations.”

After watching the week in politics February 3rd 2008 (click here to view) it is difficult to see any impartiality in the way RTE are covering the Lisbon Treaty. The first part shows a report by Sean Whelan, most of which is in this transcipt (www.rte.ie/news/2007/1213/reformtreaty.html).

Sean Whelan’s misty eyed reporting of the EU is in direct conflict with his role as a reporter for a state Public Service Broadcaster. The report only deals with what the campaigners on the ‘yes’ side are trying to sell the public on. As someone who reports for RTE, his job is to be unbiased, after all it is we the public who pay his wages. The 160 Euro annual TV licence fee is based on the condition that RTE will at all times be impartial in accordance with their statutory obligations with no interference from the Government.

The Public Service Broadcasting Charter explicitly states:

“National and international news of high quality journalism and impartiality as a cornerstone of its schedule. RTE’s news coverage shall be accurate, impartial and objective: this will help set the agenda for informed democratic debate in Ireland”

Whelan uses a lot of key buzzwords in the report: ‘globalisation’, ‘climate change’, ‘streamline’ ,‘greenhouse gases’ and of course the threat from developing nations, with no reference to what they have to do with the treaty. His arguments are sweeping and vague, big on propaganda with almost no detail to back them up. His reference to QMV blatantly omits the changes to the blocking minority criteria which will lead to a small number of big countries having huge power to block laws, and leaving countries such as Ireland, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden and so on powerless to block even when joining together (a blocking minority must equal 35% of the EU population).

Here are a few other major changes proposed in the Lisbon treaty he ignores (to name but a few):

  • The EU will be a Federal State.
  • We will be real citizens of that superior state. At the moment it is notional.
  • We will be giving the EU authority to create new laws in a large number of vital areas, which will then supercede national laws. (Over 30-50 more areas of power – there is disagreement on the number.)
  • Big changes in the Commission will have huge consequences for our democracy. States will be missing a commissioner for 5 of out every 15 years.
  • QMV will significantly reduce our voting power to less than 1%.

Whelan’s use of pacifying tones, open body language and sweeping statements all seem designed to SELL US the Lisbon treaty rather than inform us! But perhaps his conclusion is most telling of all:

“There are no big ideas in the Lisbon Treaty, no this is a treaty of small changes, lots and lots of small changes. That’s why the ratification debate will be about the small print rather than the big picture.”

Cue, soft music and windmills to keep you in a relaxed state, it almost seems to be a subtle form of mind control to put you in a suggestive state.

Part 2 switches to a ‘debate’ on the treaty hosted by Brian Dowling with two guests on the yes side: Martin Cullen (FF) and Simon Coveney (FG), and with just one on the no side: Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein). You are not told this at the start. Your also not supposed to know about the EU study carried out by Notre Europe after the Nice Treaty, called “Securing a Yes Vote“. Millions of Euros was spent to identify the no campaigners and how they defeated the first referendum.

Here is their conclusion about Sinn Fein:

“Sinn Fein was, as always, well organised and concentrated on what they considered their core vote. There were a lot of high profile media performances for Gerry Adams and other leading figures. Certainly, their campaign was substantial but the high negative ratings of Sinn Fein among our target group of voters made their presence helpful in many ways in that they acted as a positive spur to Yes abstainers to support the referendum.”

So we have two from the yes side and one from the no side in the debate, and the no campaigner is from a party which is a spur for yes abstainers because of substantial negative ratings. This is a direct violation of their obligations referred to earlier.

As if this amount of blatant bias is not enough it continues even further, after ignoring introductions to conceal the two against one, Dowling throws a real emotive and sweeping question at Mary Lou,“Sinn Fein are try to frighten us all into voting no?” How is she supposed to answer a question like that is anyone’s guess, but in fairness to Mary Lou she done the best she could in the debate given that it was rigged against her, and she is probably the most articulate informed debater on the treaty. She ignored the stitch-up and tried to debate the real issues and frankly was too kind about it, she should have highlighted the bias.

Dowling next turns to Coveney and asks him, “Maybe it’s because the changes aren’t big enough that people aren’t too impressed by it.” Again what a biased and ludicrous question to ask a politician campaigning for a yes vote, and who are these ‘people’ that aren’t too impressed, are they the un-elected Eurocrats and elites?

The debate ultimately turns into a mud slinging match aided and abetted by Dowling bringing Ahern into the questioning. So in the end we the viewers are left with none of the real issues about the treaty just propaganda and disinformation.

The conclusion must be that RTE ARE NO LONGER A PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTER, they are no longer fulfilling their statutory obligations and have entered the realm of Social Engineering. Worst of all, we are paying for our own brainwashing and disinformation!!

The Charter also states:

“In the case of its programming, maintain and cherish its freedom from political control or influence and from all other vested interests”

The case is clear that RTE needs to be thoroughly investigated to reveal the hidden network of influence and control. Sean Whelan must be removed or put somewhere else and taken off reporting on this treaty, there are far too many serious issues to be addressed which he is not reporting on and he’s distracting the public from them.

If you want to make a stand and complain about their coverage of the treaty please go to this link: www.bcc.ie/how_to_complaint/