Here’s that email

By | February 8, 2005

By the way, here’s the email I wrote during labour and the response:

To Ed Mulhall, Head of News, RTE

Dear Mr Mulhall

I refer to the report of the McAleese/nazi remarks on
this evenings 6pm TV news. I probably would not have
noticed anything amiss about this report had I not
just been listening to Matt Cooper interview Mark
Durkan of the SDLP on The Last Word programme some
minutes previously. Durkan lamented that the President
had said ‘people in Northern Ireland had transmitted
hatred….’. He said it was a pity that she hadn’t
said “some people” since that might have reduced the
offence of the remark.

I was surprised then when the RTE report (I don’t know
by whom) quoted the President as saying that “some
people” had transmitted hatred. In fact the “some” was
emphasised. I hadn’t heard her initial interview and
had only be vaguely listening to news programmes so I
wasn’t sure what she had said.

I flicked over to a TV3 news report in time to hear
them actually replay the original interview and sure
enough she had said “people”.

Adding in “some” by the reporter seems to have been a
pretty severe error and worthy of questioning,
especially in the light of Durkan’s remarks. Unless I
heard it completely incorrectly. I’d be interested in
your comments.

Many thanks

Sarah Carey

And the response from Michael Good, Editor RTE News

Dear Ms Carey,

I am replying to the email you sent to Ed Mulhall about our coverage of
the President’s remarks on the 6.01 News on January 28th.

I accept your point. The President did not use the phrase “some people”
in the Morning Ireland interview. However the reporter [Brendan Wright ] was
not quoting directly from the President but paraphrasing her remarks. The
main focus of the report was the reaction, particularly from some
Protestants. Part of the essence of the story was the interprepation of what the
President meant by her remarks – was she comparing Protestants to Nazis as some people choose to interpret, or was she drawing attention to the causes of
intolerance and hatred?
Having said that the use of the word “some” was probably injudicious
even when paraphrasing as it softened the impact of the remarks.

Thank you for bring the matter to our attention.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Good
Managing Editor
RTE News