Rose’s comment on ‘Eighth’ blurs lines of light entertainment

Double standards in the media have become increasingly obvious

Let’s think about the word “brave”. We could apply it to people who work as doctors and medical personnel in Aleppo, where last month alone, there were 42 attacks on medical facilities, 15 of them on hospitals.

They continue to work there despite barrel bombings and constant threats to their lives.

Channel Four showed footage shot by film-maker Waad Al Katib of a woman named Mayissa, her arm and leg broken, her womb penetrated by shrapnel. The doctors battle to deliver her baby. Her baby emerges cold, still, white and lifeless and the medical team works desperately until the heart beats, the blood flows, and the little boy wails. Both of them survive thanks to the medics. That's brave.

The newscaster’s voiceover says, “The struggle to save new life is visceral, instinctive.”


Calling for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed on a family entertainment show like the Rose of Tralee? Brave? That’s just bravely facing the applause.

Let’s put it this way. If she had called for the retention of the Eighth Amendment, would media people be queuing up to congratulate her, and to offer her a drink?

And please don't say Brianna Parkins just called for a vote. No-one who supports the equal right to life of the unborn child and the mother would call for a vote on the amendment that protects that right.

And her viewpoint might be ascertained by the fact that she then tweeted a picture of herself in a “Repeal” t-shirt.

The Rose of Tralee is supposedly light entertainment, but this incident is typical of the blurring of lines that is increasingly frequent in RTE.

One could say that it was live television and the comment was unplanned, but a presenter’s training should surely include how to fulfil the statutory requirement for balance, even when someone says something unexpected?

And how unexpected was it, given that the interviews are rehearsed? And that one of the topics chosen for discussion in the process of short-listing the Roses was the Eighth Amendment?

By politicising something like the Rose of Tralee, which is intended to link people in the diaspora to their roots and heritage, something designed to unite and entertain is hijacked and becomes divisive.

Of course, many others in the media and the entertainment world will immediately take to Twitter to applaud her courage. But how courageous is it to do something that will win applause from people you admire?

There is a place for campaigning journalism even in news reporting. But the most powerful journalism is when the facts are allowed to speak for themselves, not when people are continually being bombarded to change their opinions.

Double standards in the media have become increasingly obvious. For example, American money in Irish political campaigns used to be a huge taboo.

The fact that George Soros, the multi-billionaire who made his money through casually destroying sterling, is investing significant funds in three Irish organisations in order to repeal the Eighth Amendment does not lead to investigation of their other sources of funding, or any further scrutiny.

A leaked document from George Soros' Open Society Foundation describes how it is funding Amnesty International, Abortion Rights and Irish Family Planning Association "to work collectively on a campaign to repeal Ireland's constitutional amendment granting equal rights to an implanted embryo as the pregnant woman".

The document goes on: “With one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, a win there could impact other strongly Catholic countries in Europe, such as Poland, and provide much needed proof that change is possible, even in highly conservative places.”

Note the language. One of the first strategies when seeking to remove rights is to use dehumanising language. So let us not call it a baby, or a child, or even a young human being – it is an implanted embryo instead, and therefore disposable.

Soros is sponsoring Hillary Clinton to the tune of $6 million. Clinton stated earlier in her campaign: "The unborn person doesn't have any constitutional rights. Now that doesn't mean that we don't do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support."

Clinton acknowledges that the unborn child is a person and a child, just one without any constitutional rights.

Clinton and her billionaire backer both believe that there are classes of human beings who only receive human rights at the discretion of adults. They believe that unborn children are, what Mr Justice Humphries in a High Court Judgement recently chided the government for creating, an "officially disfavoured category of human person."

The Sydney Rose wants one-sided compassion for women only – a stance which is completely dependent on creating “an officially disfavoured category of human person.” She has billionaires, media personalities and celebrities lauding her for it.

But what would be wrong with compassion and rights for both? The struggle to save life is visceral, instinctive. It is not only possible, but essential to love both mother and baby. Embrace the Eighth. It is the only humane thing to do.