Irish Watchdog critiques pro-abortion radio broadcast

By Dave Andrusko

Ray D'Arcy

Ray D’Arcy

I don’t claim to understand the ins and outs of the relationship between the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and media outlets other than that the BAI is “tasked with ensuring that broadcasters present a fair and balanced discussions of topical issues to the public,” according to Cora Sherlock, deputy chairperson of the Irish Pro Life Campaign.

I do know that when the BAI found that RTÉ Radio One’s Ray D’Arcy Show had breached the requirements of broadcasting legislation “for fairness, objectivity, and impartiality in news and current affairs,” that it was utterly unsurprising that a spokesperson for RTÉ said they “respected the decision of the BAI”, adding “it is noted.”

“It is noted.” What a dismissive putdown.

Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty Ireland

Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty Ireland

At issue was a fawning interview D’Arcy had back in June with Colm O’Gorman, director of Amnesty Ireland. As NRL News Today has noted in multiple stories, Amnesty Ireland is aggressively pro-abortion and intent on overturning protections for unborn children found in the Irish Constitution.

The interview followed the publication of Amnesty International’s report, “She is not a criminal: The impact of lreland’s abortion law,” which D’Arcy said he had read and which made him “very angry.”

D’Arcy then parroted the line espoused by the promoters of “Repeal the Eighth.” This is shorthand for the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, passed in 1983.

It says, “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

According to Mark O’Regan of the Independent

A complaint by Elaine Noonan to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Complaints Committee, said she believed the interview was more of a chat between two people, who were “agreeing totally” on the subject. It lacked any sort of challenging or balanced journalism, she added.

In this regard, the presenter frequently aired his own opinions, which consistently agreed with those of Mr. O’Gorman.

Mr. O’Gorman was given extended opportunities to talk at length with “no questions or challenges.”

So what was RTÉ’s defense? It

argued that audience participation is the “hallmark” of the show, adding that text and email communication are an integral part of any item. The state broadcaster also said that some very “robust” text and emails, reflecting unhappiness with the Amnesty campaign, were read out to Mr. O’Gorman.

The BAI Complaints Committee found listeners to the program “would have concluded that Ray D’Arcy ‘endorsed’ the views of Colm O’Gorman, and was articulating a ‘partisan position,’” O’Regan reported.