Jaysus, he fairly socks it to Denis in the IT today. Sub reqd but far too long to quote. One flaw: he does rather conveniently exclude the Payback issue. He should have addressed that. Other than that, not good for DOB.
Update: The more I think about it the more I realise how unfair this piece is. For starters, as I first mentioned, Dunphy casually omits the most audacious Indo editorial line: the war they waged against the Rainbow Coalition when John Bruton, despite an explicit threat from senior management at INM, refused to change government policy to suit O’Reilly’s other business interests (close down MMDS operators and enquire into how Denis managed to get one. There was something about planning permission for a mine too, but I forget the details. Suffice to say the list was long but Bruton didn’t buckle and paid the price).
Then he list allegations against O’Brien like
“He doesn’t like hacks to be out of control.”
or derogatory lines like
RICH BOYS LIKE Denis O’Brien aspire to media ownership. Doors open, people listen when you speak, gravitas is conferred way beyond the dreams of merchants.
What was O’Reilly only a rich boy who targeted INM 30 years ago? Has Dunphy just a prejudice against new money, as in 10 years old, instead of 30 or 40?
Then he talks about his own experiences at Newstalk. First he pumps himself up of course…
“Although, with a small team of gifted and committed young journalists, we increased audience share exponentially”
Did they? I heard they never got more than about 20,000 listeners, and certainly not many more than they did with David McWilliams. And though he complains that
“his people let me know when he wasn’t happy with, say, Robert Fisk, Eamonn McCann, or the various contributors to our business slot.”
He omits to mention that (as far as I heard anyway) his own salary, many multiples of what “his small and gifted team” were earning, was being paid for out of O’Brien’s own pocket, and not Newstalk’s meagre advertising revenue. This despite the fact that there were many many mornings I tuned in and Dunphy simply wasn’t there – he took plenty of weeks off which can’t have helped develop a loyal listenership.
The last straw he says was that :
“Newstalk executives lost patience with me over a dispute that may seem insignificant, though I don’t believe it is. The station being a financial basket case, a decision was taken to double the cost to listeners who texted our programme. Loving the interaction with our audience, regarding the texts as a resource, I was shocked to be confronted with the new deal just before I went on air.
Had any other merchant sought to double their costs, we would have gone after them. Now we were proposing to rip off listeners. I told our listeners what was going on and expressed disapproval.
All hell broke loose. “What do you think you’re doing?” the managers wailed when I came out of studio. “Journalism,” I replied. Inquiring later about this get-rich-quick scheme, I was informed about a new revenue stream that was badly needed to pay my wages. The new revenue stream would yield â‚¬13,000 a year. I laughed and prepared to pack my bags. All bar one of the outstanding young team of budding journalists left shortly after. O’Brien didn’t care.”
So the managers, not O’Brien were pissed off that he slagged off their new enterprise. And how did he know O’Brien didn’t care? Or if he did, maybe he was right not to, since despite Dunphy’s big salary he failed to deliver an audience and all that hassle with McWilliams was for nothing.
Finally he praises Tony once again saying
“INM is not perfect, there are always issues with the reporting of O’Reilly’s own business interests, and the bottom line is a corporate imperative. [ there’s an understatement] But INM journalists are broadly [my emphasis] free, even as they sometimes savage each other. We need look no farther than Bertie Ahern’s recent travails as covered by the Sunday Independent for proof that INM is a broad media church that facilitates Eoghan Harris and Gene Kerrigan.
Well, Kerrigan is the SINDO anomaly while Eoghan is the one that got the job and INM put FF back in power. And now Waterford Wedgwood is asking the government to underwrite loans to keep them afloat. Let’s see how that goes before we praise Sir Tony’s independence from the Indo’s editorial position.