Archive for the ‘Censorship’ Category

The Right Hook needs a Left Hook

September 11, 2017

George Hook

Whoah ….another storm with another high profile media personality saying the wrong thing and BOOM, the backlash erupts.

This time (I’m referencing the Kevin Myers storm) it happened live on air and a filter was impossible.

George Hook, the successful and very popular 76 year old Newstalk broadcaster said way too much when he was discussing the ongoing case involving a 19 year woman in the UK who alleges she was raped by a former member of the British swim team.

While discussing this case he spoke about the ‘personal responsibility‘ of the rape victim, he spoke about “modern day social activity means that she goes back with him” and then he put his foot totally in the biggest bucket of crap when he said “But is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?”.

George ….oh my God what are you saying??

There was then some more insight from him when he spoke about parenting: “There is personal responsibility because it’s your daughter and it’s my daughter. And what determines the daughter who goes out, gets drunk, passes out and is with strangers in her room and the daughter that goes out, stays halfway sober and comes home, I don’t know. I wish I knew.

I wish I knew what the secret of parenting is. But there is a point of responsibility. The real issues nowadays and increasingly is the question of the personal responsibility that young girls are taking for their own safety.

Now George was trying to say something else and this point tells you a little more about his “lens” when he is discussing the topic.

Was there a simple message about being careful, that came out all wrong?

Quite rightly there was outcry from many quarters and this continues..

Colm O’Gorman, the director of Amnesty Ireland said on Twitter, “I get that @NewstalkFM wants to lead on ‘opinion led content’, but @ghook increasingly stupid, ignorant rants are grossly irresponsible.

Chris Donoghue, (who must know George quite well?) the group political editor at Communicorp, a media company that owns Newstalk, tweeted saying, “Someone needs to go to town on Hook. It’s disgusting.”

Needless to say George Hook has apologised and Patricia Station, Managing Editor said the comments made by Mr Hook were “totally wrong and inappropriate and should never have been made.”

On Twitter a poll has been set up to get George Hook off air and most of the tweets are calling for him to be fired.

One tweeter went as far as analysing all of the brands that advertised during the show and there was another group who were questioning Clayton Hotels for their sponsorship and suggesting that they should pull immediately.

Dalata Hotels (Clayton Hotels is one of the hotel brands) in the middle of all the twitter storm on Sunday tweeted “We will be engaging with Newstalk as soon as possible to terminate our commercial relationship.

While George was clearly wrong with what he said I wanted to discuss it with my folks, great people from the same generation just to test their perspective.

Not for one second did they absolve the rapist but they were very concerned about a 19 year old who would put herself in such a vulnerable situation. This generation do see things through a different lens in the same way that new generations will most likely see things differently to us. The word blame was not used once in their conversation and this is where George went totally wrong.

So……what should happen with the very popular, talented and opinionated 76 year old broadcaster (is this why he is so popular?)?

I don’t think he should be burnt at the stake and I don’t think he should be fired.

He made a big mistake and he should be given a big warning but I feel he should be allowed to continue as it is important to have valuable voices on air from this generation.

However, if George is to continue on air maybe the ‘Right Hook’ should be accompanied by a younger ‘Left Hook’  to maintain balance and help to keep that ‘lens’ always focused.

Update: 12th Sept

George Hook’s colleagues at Newstalk have written a letter to the station’s owners asking that he is removed from his position – this is not good.

Is this black and white that one cannot be forgiven for such a mistake or is there something else going on?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Trust and restoring broken reputations

February 11, 2017

Maurice McCabe

If things weren’t bad before, they became even worse this week for An Garda Síochána when it was revealed that an “incorrect” sexual abuse file was held against Maurice McCabe by Tusla, the family and child protection agency.

Everyone in the media is being extra careful to avoid stating the obvious conclusions as they risk getting into trouble legally. However, they have published the various statements by those parties involved and reported the facts as they came to light and they keep probing and probing for the truth in this sinister mess to reveal itself fully.

Incidents like this demonstrate once again why we need professional, intelligent journalism to bring us the truth as we can’t rely solely on social media to deliver this. Social media is fantastic as it gives us a powerful voice to demonstrate our dissatisfaction as loudly as we feel is appropriate.

We heard the statement by the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, the leader of the organisation who has claimed that she know nothing of the sexual abuse shenanigans with the whistleblower, Maurice McCabe.

Tusla in the meantime have issued their own statement claiming that their file against Maurice McCabe with the atrocious false claims against him were a ‘clerical error‘.

The comical little addition to the Tusla story was that their official apology to Maurice McCabe was sent to the wrong address!

The public are no fools and the generally held, unsurprising conclusion about this story is that senior members of the Gardaí who were unhappy with their whistle blowing colleague tried to smear his reputation in the worst possible way to punish him and protect themselves.

Even worse in this sorry saga, Tusla were obviously happy to play ball with their Garda acquaintances.

This stinks to high heaven and leaves all of us with two awful conclusions:

We cannot trust An Garda Síochána and we cannot trust Tusla.

When you consider the crucial role that both of these state bodies are paid to provide, ‘trust‘ is not a negotiable, nice to have attribute. Trust is everything.

What next?

To begin the long road of rebuilding trust in both organisations there can be no more fluffing about and decisive action and clear communication is required.

Our strong advice to those in charge would be to get ahead of the story, remove all doubts and demonstrate in no uncertain way how important regaining trust is.

This is the time for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny or Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald to take decisive action and remove Nóirín O’Sullivan from her role and get the investigation started immediately.

This is the time for Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone to demand a 100% honest statement from the CEO of Tusla, Fred McBride as to what actually happened. If this is as farcical as the ‘clerical error’ statement, he should also be removed from his role.

The reputation of these two state organisations is not negotiable – start demonstrating it.

Greg Canty 

Fuzion provide Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming Big is banned in Ireland!

March 21, 2016

Conor McHregor, Budweiser advert banned by RTE

Our state broadcaster, RTE has just banned the Budweiser commercial featuring UFC fighter and Irish hero Conor McGregor.

The banning has already led to newspaper articles, much discussion and a huge curiosity and will inevitably have everyone googling just to see what this “offensive” advert was all about. I suspect they will be left scratching their heads wondering what the fuss was all about.

In many ways this could be deemed as a huge success for the brand because it will now achieve a level of visibility and notoriety that it previously didn’t have, without having to pay the advertising costs.

While it sends out a big message from RTE you would like to think that this is a good, sensible one because we do want there to be watchdogs to protect us from danger. It is important that ‘banning’ makes sense, that it is rational and that it is fair.

The advertising guidelines around alcohol are very strict in Ireland and all of these were followed carefully.

In the advert there isn’t a picture of a bottle of beer, there isn’t a pub in sight. There is just Conor tastefully captured in a scene walking around his home town, Crumlin in Dublin, which then transforms into a street in LA.

This 27 year old apprentice plumber has achieved huge success by dedication to his sport and the advert demonstrates this with the help of these scenes and the voice over by Conor:

Never give up on your dream

Be your own inspiration, a beacon of self belief

Keep proving others wrong

If your dream doesn’t scare you, then its not big enough

So dream, as big as you dare

Only at the very end of the advert do we see the Budweiser logo and the usual drink responsibly message at the bottom of the screen.

For me the message from the advert is a very inspirational one, delivering a powerful positive message. Yes, it does come from a beer brand, which I think is more than ok. It shows you how the guidelines are keeping alcohol brands in a very responsible place and forcing a communication about positive values.

The message coming from RTE in banning this advert?

According to the newspapers they issued a statement to the Sunday Business Post that the advert breached advertising guidelines because Conor McGregor is considered a “hero to the young“, which will in turn encourage them to drink alcohol.

I don’t get it..

In my view banning the advert will achieve the wrong thing (besides totally confusing an industry that is trying to be very responsible) – viewers will definitely seek out the inspirational advert and could instead conclude that we are living in a censorship state that in some way has an issue with people from working class backgrounds having and achieving their dreams.

Banning the advert is also bad for the RTE brand as in my view it shows them as being ultra conservative and this is not good when they are up against such stiff competition. Leaving the censorship to the advertising authorities might be a much better policy.

It’s a great thing that we are seeing extra vigilance about alcohol advertising but we need to make sure that the brands that are working really hard to get it right aren’t punished.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork