independent

Thursday 22 August 2019

RTE may be far from perfect but it light years ahead of Russian Television

Fr Michael Commane
Fr Michael Commane

Fr Michael commane - The Way I See It

Do you ever tune in to RT, Russian Television? It is a service offered in English via satellite.

It looks as if RT these days is actually surpassing itself in its own nonsense. It is now non-stop propaganda. Indeed, it is relentless in its attack of the west and in praise of the Kremlin. For the first few minutes it can be fun but if one persists in watching it really gets annoying.

On the Keiser Report last week, show hosts Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert were commenting on the British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. It was one long rant mixed with accompanying sneering and alleging that he was snorting coke. The programme was preceded by the news, which featured an item on the funeral of Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov. And again RT painted a different picture than the western media.

Are we being fed a similar propaganda in the west but simply don't spot it because we are so immune to listening to and hearing our own propaganda? If the Russians believe RT, or the equivalent transmitted across the Russian Federation, then how do we know we are not subjected to a similar propaganda, this time with a western flavour?

It certainly raises interesting questions. Don't we all support our 'own side'? Isn't that part of the reason why whistle blowers are so often and easily despised? And I don't use the word 'despised' easily. There are those who use the word 'rat' for those who 'squeal' on their own people.

We all want to be part of a team and once we are accepted on the team we will do our utmost to support and protect it, come hell or high water. And what at all happens to those who are no longer considered 'part of the team?

It is one of the great plusses of democracy that people are free to say and write what they like. Of course there are limits. We can never damage the reputation of another person and there are also rules of basic decency, to which we should adhere. There will always be discussion and controversy about what's 'decent'. But in an open and true democracy it's unlikely that RT could survive a month without being lampooned out of existence.

And all the time, whether or not we live in an open democracy, there is the tendency to believe we are the best and we do things the best way possible. Anyone who objects can be treated as 'enemy'. That might sound a little harsh. But it's seldom if ever that an organisation freely and willingly will turn itself upside down in order to do what is right, truthful and correct.

There is always need for some sort of outside agency or independent assessment checking us. No matter how good we are, no matter how honest and upright we may think we are we all need to be checked. Democracy has many failings, it is far from perfect, but the checks and balances placed on it, make it less likely for a dictatorship to raise its ugly head and then survive. It's more difficult for dictators and tyrants to survive in democracies. But even in democracies they can manage to weasel their way to positions of power.

RTE may be far from perfect but it certainly is light years ahead of RT. Or is it simply that it is 'our team' and on 'our side'?

Wexford People

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