The ‘chattering class’ and its enemies

RTÉ’s liberal bias is colossal and getting worse

As many readers will be aware, for the last few weeks The Iona Institute has been in the middle of a storm. Our colleague and friend, Tom O’Gorman, was killed and our reputations were badly impugned on the Saturday Night Show on RTÉ One.

The Saturday Night Show apologised for that and has paid compensation. The result of this has been an enormous media controversy, especially on the part of RTÉ. It is absolutely clear that RTÉ’s editorial staff was incandescent with rage at the decision of management to offer the apology and the compensation.

The apology and the compensation were given because we were called ‘homophobes’. In response, one RTÉ show after another (the same has happened on other stations) ran items about homophobia. The one upside to the whole thing is that the first time ever the proper and improper use of that term is a matter for debate.

On the one side are those who say (these include some supporters of same-sex marriage) that you can’t simply condemn everyone who disagrees with same-sex marriage as a ‘homophobe’. On the other are those who say, yes you can.

What the public makes of all this is another matter entirely. It’s hard to say. A chattering class outcry is not the same thing at all as a public outcry. The chattering class is overwhelmingly liberal and overwhelmingly favours same-sex marriage, liberalised abortion laws, putting the Church in its place etc. It doesn’t like anything that gets in its way and when the opportunity arises it does everything in its vast power to bulldoze opposition out of the way.


It can do this first and foremost via the media and above all through our national broadcaster, RTÉ.

RTÉ’s anger at the apology showed its true colours. If someone had gone on a programme and condemned named people as being essentially anti-Catholic bigots and that their attacks on the Church were motivated by prejudice and the show had to apologise, it is very unlikely that anyone in RTÉ would have been annoyed by this.

Or if they were annoyed, it would have been with the fact that the defamation was allowed to happen in the first place.

RTÉ’s liberal bias is truly colossal at this stage and seems to be getting worse. We have seen it again and again during the various abortion debates. RTÉ will retort that during the debate about the abortion bill both sides were heard.

But they were heard in the context of a debate that has been framed against critics of the bill.

In addition people like Dr Peter Boylan, who favoured the law, were presented as the very voices of medicine to the public.

Programmes such as the Late Late Show featured interviews with women whose unborn babies were found to be fatally handicapped, had gone to England to have them aborted and were campaigning for the right to have those abortions here.

In the assisted suicide debate, we have had interviews with Tom Curran, husband of the late Marie Fleming, who is a member of Exit International which campaigns for euthuanasia.


There have been no counterbalancing interviews that I can think of with people who are suffering with a terrible illness but who nonetheless disagree profoundly with legalising assisted suicide.

When Exit International held a conference in Dublin a few months ago, the RTÉ news report amounted to an extended advertisement.

Similarly when campaign group Marriage Equality held a conference recently about gay adoption, the news reports amounted to extended advertisements.

Critics complain when representatives of The Iona Institute appear on RTÉ programmes to debate same-sex marriage. But it is always in the context of a debate. The rival point of view is present (the truth is that the critics want no debate at all on this issue so convinced are they of the rightness of their cause).

Meanwhile, supporters of same-sex marriage are allowed one uncontested outing on RTÉ after another.

The last Frontline programme of the presidential election campaign is shrouded in controversy because presidential candidate, Seán Gallagher, was placed in the crosshairs while Michael D Higgins, the favoured candidate of the chattering classes, walked away scot-free.

Mr Gallagher is in an ongoing legal battle with RTÉ.

Other ‘enemies of the chattering classes’ have also found themselves in the firing line down the years. Columnist Mary Ellen Synon was one. Kevin Myers has been targeted several times.

Cardinal Desmond Connell was placed on the ‘carousel of condemnation’ even before he was fully embroiled in the abuse scandals because of various politically incorrect utterances on his part.

Convinced of guilt

And let’s not forget the Fr Kevin Reynolds apology and the subsequent payout of over €1 million. The extraordinary thing is that the defamation ever happened. How did RTÉ walk itself into a disaster like that? They were offered a DNA test after Fr Reynolds was accused of fathering a child with a Kenyan woman but the makers of Mission to Prey appeared to be so convinced of his guilt that they refused it until after it the damage was done.

Later investigations into the incident warned of ‘groupthink’ in RTÉ. You don’t say.

What’s very notable is how few of RTÉ’s targets are darlings of the chattering classes. Indeed, it is hard to think of any.

To cut a long story short, in the past priests would sometimes read out and condemn from the altar the names of those who had crossed the Church. Today RTÉ does that. Its enemies are never liberals, but liberalism’s critics. What more needs to be said?