Monday, January 02, 2006

Recycling pays dividends for Vincent

Some months ago I sent an abusive email to Vincent Browne when his nightly RTE radio programme was, once again, an almost verbatim regurgitation of the contents of his weekly Irish Times column, which had been published that very same day.

He’s a qualified barrister, so I asked him if it constituted fraud to accept a fee from both RTE and The Irish Times for the same material on the same day. Needless to say I didn’t get a reply.

I see that my least favourite commentator on Northern Ireland, Ruth Dudley Edwards, has now taken him to task in the Indo for exactly the same activity - only this time he’s been caught putting expanded versions into his Villager weekly magazine. Vincent would probably claim that it’s the same as syndication, but without the attribution.

As for Ruth Dudley Edwards, it’s good to have some southern commentators who are sympathetic to the Unionist cause in order to provide some semblance of balance to coverage here. However, it would be better if she was more trustworthy.

My problem with her credibility stems from an interesting broadcasting co-incidence during the Drumcree stand-off some years ago.

RDE was on a phone-in link to Saturday View on RTE radio, where she was describing the efforts of the worthies of the Portadown Orange Lodge to ensure that there would be no trouble at the police barricades. She was high in her praise for the content and tone of the messages urging restraint by the Lodge District Master Harold Gracey.

Simultaneously, I happened to be watching a live UTV broadcast which showed the same Orange worthy bellowing defiance and whipping up members to march on police lines and leave them in no doubt about Orange marching rights.

The contrast between RDE’s benign description and what I was actually witnessing could not have been greater. It highlights once again how information can be so easily distorted when a commentator has an agenda.

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