But a piece in the Irish Independent today shows the problem of state broadcaster employees exhibiting political bias is not confined to the BBC.
It seems monitoring of Ireland’s RTE news and current affairs coverage by Fianna Fail has thrown up some interesting statistics showing a similar phenomenon on the other side of the Irish Sea, particularly with the flagship Prime Time programme. Fianna Fail have submitted a dossier to RTE outlining their accusation of bias by the broadcaster:
The submission, which contained statistical evidence, states: “Prime Time appears to have taken a radically different approach to covering opposition voice. Before the election, share of voice was clearly biased in favour of the opposition. Since the election, that bias has been dramatically reversed.”
It goes on to say that despite identical Dail representation, Labour enjoyed 21.6 per cent share of voice before the election (when in opposition), compared to Fianna Fail’s 10.1 per cent after the election (having lost the election and become the main opposition). Fianna Fail is now getting more than 100 per cent less access to Prime Time than the Labour Party in the same position. It certainly suggests a very uneven approach to coverage that amounts to bias by omission.
Of course it won’t come as a shock that the more avowedly socialist a political party is, the more favoured it is by media corps stuffed to the gills with ‘progressive’ hacks keen to push their ideology on the public. But in Ireland this bunfight is somewhat interesting as the political spectrum ranges from broadly socialist to extreme socialist with nothing approaching a small ‘c’ conservative alternative. Perhaps ideological purity is the name of the game?