Jude Collins

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Telling it like it wasn't?

Wtf, as they say on Facebook and other places. Or “What the fuck?” as I sometimes say to my nearest and dearest. I said it again last night, not after the leaders’ debate on TV, but after watching the response to the leaders’ debate on  RTÉ’s The Eleventh Hour , which featured Keelin Shanley with what she called  “a panel of dispassionate political journalists” – Sam Smyth, Katie Hannon and Michael Clifford.

Like most people, I’d been watching the debate with an eye on two people in particular: Enda Kenny, to see if he would put his foot in it now he’d finally agreed to appear on a TV debate; and Gerry Adams, to see if he would repeat his 2007 debate performance, which was widely adjudged to have been not his finest hour.  What I saw was Enda Kenny performing pretty well: on occasion he looked a bit physically small, even wan, but in his exchanges with Eamon Gilmore he clearly triumphed.  Gerry Adams seemed a bit nervous, drinking an amount of water and moving his feet around, but in his contributions he was clear, concrete and specific – a world away from his exchange with Michael McDowell in 2007.

So then I tune into The Eleventh Hour’s dispassionate trio. What, I repeat, the fuck?  Sam Smyth judged Enda Kenny to have done really well, but as for Gerry Adams: “What was he doing there? He really doesn’t know anything about economics”.  Katie Hannon said Kenny did really well, but Micheal Martin landed "killer punches” on Gerry Adams. Michael Clifford said Enda Kenny was very good, while Gerry Adams simply trotted out stock phrases and his sums didn’t add up.  Keelin Shanley agreed and showed two points in the debate where Martin attacked Adams. For some reason, Adams’s response in both cases had been edited out.

What the fuck, I murmured to myself. So I switched to Vincent Browne Tonight  on TV3.  He has four panellists. All four declared that Adams did very well and Browne himself agreed. The Irish Times  this morning figured Adams was fluid and had a command of detail; even its ghastly columnist Miriam Lord conceded that Adams did very well, more than held his own.  On RTÉ radio this morning, commentators agreed that Adams had put in a very effective performance.

So wtf?  Why this chasm between the response from the Dispassionates on The Eleventh Hour  and that from everywhere else? You tell me. But please: don’t tell me The Eleventh Hour  response had something to do with Sam Smyth’s insistence a week or so ago that Gerry Adams would be a disaster in the televised debate. That would suggest that the programme made a frantic effort to spin the event so it fitted into Sam’s cock-eyed prophecy and that, if true, would open up an appalling vista. Wouldn’t it?



  1. And I would like to repeat also WTF would you know!!!!!

  2. Couldn't have put it better Jude. The Eleventh Hour is a joke of a program.

  3. I missed Smyth's contribution, but heard Hannon and Clifford, and was as bemused as yourself. It's obvious they had their script written in advance, Adams knows nothing etc, and didn't let the evidence get in the way of what they wanted to say. I suppose this might serve the public in a roundabout way, showing how abused the concept of "objective", "independent" commentators is in Irish political coverage.

  4. The Eleventh hour programme was the most partisan and biased piece of television i've seen for a long time. The sort of television that Hosni Mubarak's state run broadcasters would have been proud of.

  5. Haa haa ... just seeing your piece now and it mirrors exactly what i posted on politics.ie
    Seriously, either RTE stop their charade of purporting to be an independant broadcasting organisation, or i stop paying my TV license and i use this as my excuse if i am taken to court. Someone else said that Mosni Mubaraks station in Egypt was a little partisan, RTE makes Egypt National Broadcasting organisations efforts at telling the truth look like something the associated press would release.

  6. Yes I switched and found that there was a real analysis going on on VB thought I was in a parallel universe with the 11th hour!!!

  7. Which party leader preformed best in the RTE leaders debate?

    Gerry Adams 36.78%
    Eamon Gilmore 6.93%
    John Gormley 6.63%
    Enda Kenny 42.73%
    Micheál Martin 6.93%

    Source: Politics.ie

  8. Why would an intelligent, educated man like yourself want to use such a pitiful, senseless word that seems to have spread like a virus in everyday speech?

  9. 1. Ed Moloney: member of Republican Clubs, took the Officials' side in the split. Later fell out with them when he used his sources to do an exposé on them for Magill.

    2. Henry McDonald: IDYM (Official's youth wing) member and writer for that party's paper.

    3. Liam Clarke: Workers Party member, editor for the party's paper - and, some say, a spook

    4. Charlie Bird: Managed Dublin S.Central campaign for the Officials in 1973, recruited to RTÉ by Harris.

    5. Jim Cusack, close friend of Harris and McDonald.

    6. Paul Bew: former-Workers Party member and lecture-giver at their 'education camps'

    7. Marian Finucane: recruited to RTÉ by Harris as well