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The Cat is out of the bag

by Jimmy Rhatigan

Journalism and democracy were given a badly needed boost this week when Tipp FM local radio in Tipperary interviewed a high profile GP about Covid and its controversial peripherals.

Tipp FM presenter Fran Curry did an excellent job in a lively half an hour exchange with the outspoken Oulart, Wexford GP Dr Billy Ralph, a highly respected medic who pulled no punches when he slammed so-called pandemic lockdowns and masks and lashed out at a situation where an old lady was jailed for not wearing a face mask.

The interview was significant on many fronts but most especially because the very civilized and interesting presentation of questions and answers broke a censorship mold that disgraced the profession of journalism and all its ethics and in my view leaves the Fourth Estate in a mess from which it may never recover.

By opening its newsroom to open debate, Tipp FM will have heartened the likes of Dr Gerry Waters, Dr Peter McCullagh, Dr Robert Malone, journalists John Waters and Aisling O’Loughlin, podcaster Gerry O’Neill, Thomastown accountant Patrick E. Walsh and the Irish Enquirer who battled to inform the public that there are two sides to the story that has been ignored by mainstream media. All spoke about the possible dangers of vaccine but were not reported on by national or local media.

The interview marks a brave and perhaps timely breakthrough as a war of words rages about the value or otherwise of vaccines in which some medics describe vaccines as life savers while others criticize those who administer the so-called jab that they believe may be responsible for countless deaths of young and old worldwide.

Like the Skibbereen Eagle at another time, a Cork local newspaper that warned the then Tsar of Russia that it was watching him closely, Tipp FM may be remembered by generations as a news organ that saw the light of democracy and fair play as others favoured shut eyes.

It just may be dubbed the local broadcaster that fired the first shots that may help to retrieve even a smidgen of respectability for a profession that has failed miserably to give any coverage to ‘extra deaths’ in Kilkenny, Kiltimagh and Kansas City and throughout the so-called civilized world. 

The belief among those who may not favour the jab is that it is Big Pharma and big Pharma alone that gains billions of dollars, euros or whatever currency by flogging what is being described as an untried vaccine.

Meanwhile as ‘extra deaths’ continue to leave hundreds of thousands of families shattered, a war that we thought we would never experience continues to hot up between one time colleagues in medicine; politicians are going around with their eyes and minds closed and the press, newspapers radio stations and television stations are being branded as traitors for failing to report on what many will say is the biggest news story for generations.

In Kilkenny there has been no coverage of ‘extra deaths’ in the Kilkenny Observer or Kilkenny People.

Not a peep has come from the commercial radio KCLR while community radio coverage has been limited to a single interview.

Sadly, our city that for generations was regarded as one of the great homes of journalism and writing generally is now discredited as scribes have let down themselves, their profession and most disappointing of all they have turned their backs on the general public by depriving people from the truth in the news at a time when fear still haunts so many who don’t know what professionals to trust and they are left with a cursed puzzle: to jab or not to jab?

The conclusion has to be that those who would want our country’s journalists muzzled for their greedy wants and ambitions are winning a war that will soon have us on a par with places like Russia and North Korea where news people are silenced or murdered as the world of dirty deeds thrives.

Now that Tipp FM has done the decent thing by agreeing to give coverage to both sides of a Covid Conundrum that has divided families, one wonders if any others will have the courrage to bear their souls by finally respecting the ethics of journalism which, bluntly, they have been giving the two fingers to.

As a journalist and newspaper editor for nigh 54 years I feel sad, disappointed and angry. The noble art of journalism has served us better than that.

By agreeing to censorship, I believe journalists, with notable exceptions, have peed on the powder.

God forgive them. That is their only hope.

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