Thursday, May 13, 2010

RTÉ - not credulous nitwits?

I watched a few snippets of TV3's "The Truth About Travellers" the other night, and this episode focused on the superstitious nature of everybody's favourite gate-selling, farmer-intimidating, bare-knuckle-boxing Irish vagabonds.

When they discussed the Knock shrine, (one of Ireland's finest tourist spots for the reality-impaired) they say that "it was 1879 when our lady last appeared here" [8:10 into the programme]. That claim is restated a few seconds later, without any hedging. 

While I understand that TV3 is Ireland's tabloid network, and most of their viewers won't understand what "allegedly" means, I was still a little annoyed with the credulity with which they presented this claim - particularly as it implicitly validated the travellers' religious devotion.

I know I'm comparing apples to oranges here, but RTÉ's coverage of the Pope's excursion to Fatima today eased the pain somewhat, merely because they put the word 'reportedly' before "appeared to a group of kids" when discussing a similar alleged religious apparition. Sure, this is the same TV network that still shows the Angelus, but the reporters are doing the best they can to sound impartial.

Such a small tweak makes a huge difference to an organisation's credibility, but I fear that there are hardly enough discerning viewers left to care.

No comments: