It is also there in its domestic coverage. There is a bias towards centre-left parties and liberal views.
As mentioned yesterday:
“A senior Fine Gael Minister has claimed that RTÉ has a bias towards political parties that are centre-left and have liberal views.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said the national broadcaster’s tendency to favour such parties might be innocent and unintentional but it was there nonetheless.”
Or perhaps unavoidable, in the case of the above quote? The Republicans bad/Democrats good idea could be said to be a simple result of transplanting the American political spectrum on to Irish sensibilities - we don’t have the same culture of strong, individualistic conservatism as has existed in the US for a century or more. We have our own tradition of conservatism, for sure, and in many ways (abortion, religious involvement in schooling, and the topic of gay marriage) we are more socially regressive, but for any kind of moderate audience here it’s pretty easy to portray American politics in a ‘liberal’ light by:
- a) covering any of the wacky things that come out of an extraordinarily conservative GOP, that would rightly be scoffed at here as they already are in much of America, and
- b) showing the difficulty the Democrats get into with proposing social programs that would largely be taken for granted in our own welfare state.
The true situation is obviously more complex, and I always enjoy discovering the nuances beyond that simplistic - but entirely common and taken-for-granted amongst my peers in Ireland - view of US politics (which isn’t often that easy to get away from on Tumblr, either). Those complexities, however, you aren’t going to get through watching the national news in another country. It’s a cultural thing, by and large - and ideologically Varadkar would be at the forefront of moving Ireland towards, not away from, American-style individualistic conservatism. Which is dangerous when you’re in a government proposing new taxes on homeowners:
He also said RTÉ was “encouraging people to break the law” by giving access to campaigners urging people not to pay the household tax. He claimed RTÉ would not give access to groups advocating that people refuse to pay the television licence fee.
Because restricting access to the media to only those who uphold the law worked out really well the last time, and it’s so very democratic? The second statement is very broad and unsupported claim to be making against the broadcaster’s journalistic integrity - and even if there is a reluctance to pay the fee, denigrating public service broadcasting in pursuit of an ideological agenda is hardly helpful to the issue.
However, RTÉ sources said that all political parties periodically claimed bias in favour of other parties or viewpoints.
Zing! Biases for all!
Mr Varadkar’s Labour Party ministerial colleague Pat Rabbitte responded to the comments by saying: “I am not quite sure what might sound liberal and left-wing to Leo.”
Poor Leo - regardless of what candle or torch he is or isn’t carrying, maybe he might feel more comfortable in the world of American politics, rather than the socialist, statist dystopia that is his own country (and government)?