Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Prime Time Problems. Ministerial Protection?

March 6th, 2009 · 23 Comments · Irish Media, Irish Politics, MSM

Update – It’s on Youtube. Thanks Duke

At the moment I hope someone somewhere is preparing a Freedom of Information request on Prime Time on RTE1. I hope other people are getting their hard drives out and uploading the video. Will RTE show the programme online as it was transmitted?


Tonight Minister for State with responsibility for  Older People, Maire Hoctor, was interviewed from the Limerick studio regarding the rationale for scrapping the publication of the National Carers Strategy.

The interview  which followed a feature on carers and their views on the strategy and the situation facing carers at the moment, was pre-recorded but we were not told that. The Minister fluffed her lines to the answer to the first question. She stumbled and stalled. A voice spoke in her ear and Miriam told her not to worry and she ‘did it all the time’.  From what we saw (twice!) the Minister did not seem to be having any problems hearing the studio in Dublin or getting delayed sound etc.  Arrangements were made to start again. This clip was played twice and then we cut to voice of a continuity announcer apologising in RTE presentation.

About 60 seconds later we returned to studio and a fresh intro and the Minister for State answered the question without fluffing. The piece concluded and we went to Mark Little. He apolgogised for the technical problem and admitted that sometimes the show did to prerecords and sometimes things go wrong.

Tonight viewers realised that if Government Ministers feck it up during a pre-record they get a second or even third chance. Especially when facing the harder questions regarding the thousands of carers and people needing support around the country who were dumped on Monday.

For the FOI preparers  and rival news stations and nobody in particular some thoughts -:

  • How many times do these prerecords happen and how many times in last 12 months have Government Ministers requested pre-records? Are Ministers aware that they can be stopped and restarted?
  • If the interview were versus a member of the opposition would the ministers be able to get a pre-record and a second chance to begin their interview. (Tonight the Minister was debating against Enda Egan, CEO of The Carers Association who didn’t give her a lot of problems.)

The second part of the programme will surely be blogged about elsewhere – it was one long plug for a new website and seemingly government endorsed initiative,  A live (?) studio interview preceded by a few good news stories or indications where they might be found – this is hardly Current Affairs? Especially when guests and presenters sat at chat show chairs trying to do the afternoon show at 10pm at night.

All of the above is heavily influenced by the continuing stories from Montrose these days that the Government Press Office is leaning heavy on RTE telling programmes what to cover and how to cover it.   Unfortunately RTE News and Current Affairs have been messing up a lot recently in terms of presentation problems never mind editorial decisions.

PS: Just got a text to say Aileen O’Toole from Ideas Campaign will probably have me for her whinge jar for all above!

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