worth lifting from broadsheet:
Article from The Phoenix, 4/11/2011:
ANTON’S CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SACKING Sam Smyth from his Today FM Sunday Supplement show says something about the antagonism between the journalist and station owner Denis O’Brien, but the replacement of Smyth with PR consultant Anton
Savage says even more about the news values of the media and telecoms billionaire.
The editorial clarion call within O’Brien’s other national radio station, Newstalk FM, has been for cheery, positive news as opposed to the doom and gloom purveyed by various media (recession, what recession?). It was one of the pressures cited by broadcasters like Eamon Dunphy before he walked out of that station recently. And nobody does good news better than public relations executive Savage, whose presence in both the world of PR and media is ubiquitous.
Clearly, Anton is regarded with much favour at Today FM where he is a presence now on three programmes, if one includes Smyth’s show which he is to take over in the New Year. Anton is a regular substitute for Matt Cooper on Today FM’s The Last Word and he also alternates on the station’s Sunday Business Show. Anton is also a regular sub for various RTÉ programmes during summer hols for the broadcasting stars.
That Anton is a prolific broadcaster is neither here nor there. But he is also a director – along with Mum, Terry Prone and Dad, chairman of the RTÉ board, Tom Savage – in The Communications Clinic. The Clinic’s clients, according to its own promotional literature, include “international blue chips in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, electronics and energy… a bunch of government departments… some politicians” and “a clutch of the country’stop broadcasters”. Crucially, the clinic guarantees client confidentiality.
Quite apart from the good news culture that PR work for the powerful and the wealthy naturally inclines to, this lucrative line of work involves obligation to the same quarters, specifically, in promoting and protecting their good name. And not only does the anonymous client list above include some of the biggest companies in Ireland, it also includes “some politicians”, composed mainly of those in the largest party in government, namely, Fine Gael. In fact, Anton has for some years now trained Enda Kenny in media performance, while Terry trained Gay Mitchell for his presidential outing (you can see more than one reason here for the commitment to confidentiality).
Nobody is accusing Anton of deliberately promoting his confidential clients but there is a blindingly obvious conflict of interest inherent in hosting current affairs and business
programmes that must sometimes touch on the interests of the prominent politicians and businesses that the Clinic services. Equally interesting is the client category of “top broadcasters” whose identity is unknown and whose employers – RTÉ, Newstalk, Today FM? – is also confidential. The phrase ‘conflict of interest’ seems entirely inadequate to describe the multiple situations that Anton finds himself mired in.
So we, the taxpayers, pay the politicians ridiculously inflated salaries so they can pay The Communications Clinic to teach them how to bull**** us, the taxpayers.
It's the circle, the circle of life!
Not forgetting that we, the taxpayers, will probably spend the next 20 years paying for the failure of the politicans to govern effectively.