The Irish media has failed to properly report on the local community’s resistance to Shell in Mayo. The reason? Journalism has fewer and fewer resources to filter the truth from the propaganda, Harry Browne writes.
The basic reason is pretty simple: they’ve got more and more resources (money, time, people) to push the corporate or government line, and we’ve got fewer and fewer with which to filter out the truth from the propaganda.
And when PR people are good and do their job really well, they get the ears of our bosses and make our jobs even harder.
That’s what happened to Betty Purcell, a TV producer who recently took early retirement from RTE after many years in charge of programmes including Questions & Answers and The View. In 2009 she tried to make a short human-interest documentary in RTE’s quasi-religious slot Would You Believe? about Willie and Mary Corduff, residents of Rossport, Co Mayo, who stopped Shell from running a gas pipeline through their land.
“One day the director Geraldine Creed and the reporter Mick Peelo got a call saying that a Shell PR man was in the RTE canteen and would they go down and talk to him,” Purcell recalled. He tried to persuade Purcell’s team to drop or change the programme.
The programme got made only after its dedicated makers jumped through a unique and time-consuming series of management hoops – and RTE broke up the team soon after.
25 January 2014