Irish publicly funded radio “groupthink” exposed – yet again. Then it “clarifies”.

The Iona Insitute, favourite whipping boy of Ireland’s left, was the butt of a piece of shameless pro-abortion special pleading on Irish national radio this morning. You can read the full account of this in a clear and damning statement issued by the institute later in the day.

The statement explains how, in the course of the station’s flagship morning news programme -with the station’s highest listenership – the programme’s anchor, Cathal MacCoille, interviewed a New Zealand academic, Dr David Fergusson, about a paper he has written regarding the mental health effects of abortion.

In the course of that interview, and a subsequent interview with Irish psychiatrist, Professor Patricia Casey, MacCoille badly misinterpreted the Iona Institute’s take on the Fergusson paper and led listeners to believe Dr Fergusson was unhappy with how we quoted his research.

“This is absolutely false as a reading of the interview with Fergusson shows. Twice MacCoille put quotes from our website to Fergusson and twice Fergusson said he had no issue with how we presented his research”, the Iona statement said.

The exchanges between the two men, in full transcript, make for bewildering reading. This is certainly one for the broadcasting watchdog to take in hand. What this latest example of media bias in favour of the Irish government’s abortion steamroller shows is how tough a battle the pro-life forces have on their hands with the strength of their arguments being bludgeoned wholesale by numerous instances of this kind of irrationality posing as honest and fair journalism.

Two days later RTE “manned up” and Cathal MacCoille claified – but did not utter the word he should have uttered, “sorry”.

The clarification, read out by Cathal MacCoille, said:

‘On Tuesday, May 7th, we broadcast interviews with Professor David Fergusson of the University of Otago at Christchurch, New Zealand and with Professor Patricia Casey, Consultant Psychiatrist at UCD and the Mater. The subject was the reported unhappiness by Professor Fergusson at the way his research was being interpreted by pro-life parties to the abortion debate here. In the course of the interview with Professor Casey, I said that Professor Fergusson had said he was unhappy at the way the Iona Institute had been citing his research. In fact, Professor Fergusson did not say he was unhappy with how the Iona Institute quoted his research and we’re happy to clarify that.’

The Iona Institute said: We are happy that this clarification has been issued but of course the need to issue it should never have arisen in the first place.

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