Thursday, May 10, 2007

FF Election Tactics and a compliant media

It’s clear that one of the main Fianna Fail election campaign tactics is to throw constant accusations at the opposition of being a threat to the economy or having divergent policy positions, in order to simply make them deny it. Clearly the hope is that some mud will stick, given the short attention span of many people.

They’re being aided and abetted in this strategy by the media, particularly RTE.

Yesterday provided an excellent illustration of this. At the Fianna Fail morning press briefing, all three ministers charged that the opposition parties were likely to agree to EU tax harmonisation proposals and thus put at risk existing inward investment and associated jobs by increasing our corporation tax rates. Brian Cowen even went so far as to say he wanted to hear the opposition deny it.

Since neither Fine Gael or Labour have ever indicated the slightest wobble on this issue, indeed their last coalition was responsible for setting the 12.5% Corporation Tax target, this charge was patently a red herring from the moment it was uttered.

Yet RTE put together a TV news package giving full coverage to this nonsense at the FF press briefing and subsequent denials by Enda Kenny for FG and Ruari Quinn for Labour. This news package was run prominently on all RTE TV news bulletins throughout the day, even though the piece ended with RTE political correspondent David McCullagh telling us that this particular FF “attack misfired”, a sentiment that was repeated on the 9.00pm RTE news by David Davin-Power, after the same package had been run - again.

In other words, RTE gave it prominence but then actually confirmed it to be a non-story.

Similarly, FF or the PDs routinely seek to find and highlight some area of policy difference between FG & Labour. But who are FF or PD policies aligned with? Certainly not each other or, indeed, with any other party. If FF gets back into power they'll have to negotiate changes to their own current election manifesto.

Why do media commentators so blatantly fail to point out this very obvious fact when FF or PD spokesmen are trying to make mischief for FG/Labour?

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