The vitriol currently being hurled at a small number of RTÉ presenters, arising out of the farewell party for a member of staff, is entirely predictable.
Bryan Dobson, Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullagh are all experienced media professionals and more aware than most of the exact nature of the restrictions people are being asked to observe.
To make it worse, they’re all very well paid.
It’s therefore understandable that we should focus on a few individuals, as it gives us some recognisable names to direct our anger toward.
It’s equally easy to understand how Dobson and Co could have made such a mistake, perhaps feeling it would be unforgivably rude not to pose for a photo with a long-standing colleague and believing no harm could come of that 30 seconds or so.
The real fault lies firmly with those people who organised and approved the farewell in the first place.
This was an event that should never have taken place, as the Level 5 restrictions clearly state that “there should be no organised indoor or outdoor events”.
RTÉ management, in its wisdom, has tried to circumvent this by suggesting the party wasn’t “organised”. Instead, they portray it as an “impromptu” event.
The only understanding of “impromptu” is an event that takes place without being planned, organised or rehearsed in any way. It’s a spur of the moment thing.
It says much about the arrogance, and stupidity, of RTÉ management that they think this will wash.
The photos of the event, which have been seen by just about every person who has been locked away with minimal human contact for the guts of eight months, show printed balloons in the background. These were obviously ordered in advance.
A man in a jacket and tie, presumably a member of the RTÉ staff, is seen reading a speech he had prepared and written out. It certainly wasn’t “impromptu” to him.
There was even a photographer in attendance, who had obviously been booked to record the event.
How any of these things suggest the going away do was impromptu will remain a mystery until someone in RTÉ management explains.
Joe Duffy, to his credit, requested a member of RTÉ management to appear on Liveline and explain themselves.
Unsurprisingly, nobody was willing to do so.
Instead, we’ve been fed the same lazy, half- hearted excuses that have become the trademark of how management deals with any crisis within RTÉ.
It’s a failure that reflects badly not on the individual presenters, who are all doing their best, but on the culture of mediocrity and ineptitude that has characterised RTÉ’s governance for most of the past decade.
In any other area of business, heads would roll over this or leaders would fall on their swords.
Will that happen in RTÉ? I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Source: Irish News