Thursday, July 27, 2006

Balance on RTE

It's hard to miss Tom McGurk's political slant while listening to his morning radio programme on RTE. He has the annoying habit of asking closed questions, where he fashions the question to refect his preconceived view "Would you not agree that ..... etc etc".. Thankfully it has frequently happened that his presumptions are rebutted by his contributors, but he persists with the approach. It's sounds like lazy arrogance at times.

He was off again this morning, so I felt obliged to send him the following email (


On the programme today (Thurs 27th) you interviewed Alec Salmond(SNP) regarding the use of Prestwick by the US to transport "bunker-buster" bombs to Israel. You commented on the irony that these bombs had been used to kill the 4 UN observers in south Lebanon.

In today's Irish Times, Tom Clonan, a military commentator used by yourself in recent days, assesses that the weapon was in fact "a laser-guided 1,00kg bomb" - a large but fairly standard aerial weapon, definitely not a "bunker-buster".

You also interviewed Michael D Higgins who cited a total of 1,500 killed to date in Lebanon, naturally without any query or contradiction from yourself. RTE News this evening is quoting the Lebanese government as estimating up to 600 killed (400 bodies actually accounted for and making allowance for another 50% which may be unreported to date).

You say that your producer refuses to let you choose the music played on the programme. I suggest that he/she has a much larger and more important task to perform - the injection of appropriate levels of balance and professionalism into your coverage of this hugely important topic. Regards etc.

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