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Claire Byrne Doom Porn Latest: 3-5 years of restrictions

When I put this down on the list of things to write about, yesterday afternoon, the plan was simple enough: Point out how ludicrously insane this statement is, and question how in the world it ended up being allowed to go unchallenged on the national broadcaster. But then, last night, we heard that the Government had managed to cock the Mandatory Quarantine System up so badly in two weeks that they’ve had to suspend it. So maybe Sam McConkey is right here:

Three to five years takes us through to 2026. The good news is that there constitutionally must be a general election before 2026, so we’ll all have the consolation of being able to wreak terrible vengeance on the shower in power and replace them with the other shower. Of course, the other shower have cheered every bit of this madness on, so it will be a bit of a pyrrhic victory.

And what’s driving all this? What’s pushing the opposition into taking positions that aren’t actually in opposition to the Government? Who is shoving the negativity into the public square to such an extent that politicians feel obliged, constantly, to take the most cautious, anti-liberty approach possible?

Well, a large part of it is the media, and the state-funded media in particular. It’s not especially criminal for RTE to have somebody on its airwaves who thinks that lockdown should continue for another five years. What is criminal – there’s no other word for it – is the way the statement was allowed to go unchallenged by Byrne.

When you allow a statement to go unchallenged, you give it some authority. You imply that there is no debate, or dispute to it. That’s what Claire Byrne did here, and what RTE has been doing throughout this crisis.

The media exist for two reasons: First, to inform the public about what those in power are doing, and second, to challenge those in power on behalf of the public – to force them to explain themselves, and justify their policies.

Throughout this pandemic, RTE has consistently failed in its duty to force politicians to justify their policies. In fact, the only people asked to justify themselves by the national broadcaster are those who oppose the Government’s policies. The default assumption of a media outlet should always be that the Government is probably wrong. The default assumption in RTE is that anybody who opposes the Government is probably wrong – if not, in fact, dangerous.

It’s not exactly hard to challenge the “three to five year” nonsense either. All it takes is one question: “What about places like Texas”?

In Texas, they have no restrictions, no masks, and no lockdown. Cases are fairly identical, if not lower, than they are in Ireland. How hard is it to ask the lockdown proponents to explain why Ireland is so different?

RTE, of course, has done very well from lockdown. Audiences are up, because we’re all locked at home. Advertising is up, as the Government spends fat wads of borrowed money on advertisements telling us all to stay at home. Conditions in RTE have rarely been better during lockdown. The same story is repeated, of course, in various other media outlets.

This all has a knock on effect on the politicians. When politicians hear people on the radio getting a kicking, as anti-lockdown people regularly do, it makes them more cautious about adopting that position. When they hear somebody getting an easy ride, then they know what to say if they want an easy ride themselves.

Media scrutiny in this lockdown has been reserved almost entirely for those ordinary people who oppose the Government. Two women who went to Dubai were made into national villains. Anti-lockdown protestors were painted as neo-nazis. People who want to go to mass are construed as religious maniacs. Teachers who want a vaccine are selfish. Student nurses who don’t want one are dangerous. Only the Government, is the consistent message, has our interests at heart. Well, the Government and a few mad scientists.

All of this is very conscious, and very deliberate, bias. It is designed to influence the political discussions in Ireland, and to skew the thinking of the population. If somebody went on the Claire Byrne show and said “lift all restrictions tomorrow”, she would challenge them straight away. When somebody goes on and says “lockdown for three to five years”, she says nothing.

That’s not an accident. It’s because she and RTE are biased, and are failing, utterly, to do their jobs.

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