I would like to draw the attention of the readers of The Avondhu to the Liveline programme which was aired on March 5th, 2013 and the disgraceful way in which it was conducted. The programme featured Fr Brian McKevitt who was being questioned over his alleged comparison of Enda Kenny to Herod in one of the issues of the Alive newspaper. Several complainants and supporters of Fr McKevitt were ‘interviewed’ by Joe Duffy. This is right and proper and under the guidance of a capable presenter, this programme should have presented an excellent opportunity for lively debate. However, it soon became apparent that Fr Mc evitt’s supporters were going to be more ‘heckled’ than ‘interviewed’. Surely it is the role of a presenter to show balance and fairness to all his guests and to be aware of the sensitivities of the listener but these qualities were sadly lacking during this programme. In fact so blatant was Joe Duffy’s bias that the programme made for very uncomfortable listening. Joe Duffy was neither fair nor impartial to the supporters of Fr Brian and in fact joined in the attack against him and them. The bias that he showed was breathtaking. He also, on occasion, twisted the sentence to reflect his own views and to undermine the actual views that were being expressed and he had to be corrected on at least one occasion. It was also obvious that the main complainant of Fr Brian’s newspaper was allowed to speak at will without any ‘heckling’ from Joe but the supporters of Fr Brian appeared to be treated with constant derision and ridicule.
Surely it is possible for a State funded, taxpayer-supported organisation to find an interviewer who can report in a fair and balanced way without being influenced by his/her own biased views. I think the fee paying public who fund RTE deserve much better. As the majority of these people are Catholic I suggest that as many as possible write to RTE to complain about Joe Duffy’s treatment of this good priest and to enquire when RTE is going to stop this stupid vendetta against anything that is Catholic?
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