I don’t know who writes the headlines for audio and video clips which appear on RTÉ’s web site, but the following link appeared today, attached to a story about the oral hearing into the Poolbeg incinerator:
Given that Dominic Hogg has just released a major report showing that waste policy in Ireland is far too reliant on incineration as a solution, I thought it unlikely that this was a fair reflection of his contribution on Morning Ireland. However, on listening back to the clip, I found it was practically the opposite of what he said. Here’s my transcript of the first minute or so of the programme:
Morning Ireland: Can we just clear up one thing, in terms of where you stand on the question of incineration, before we get your views on this. You accept that incineration is, or is likely to be and needs to be some part of the solution to our waste management problems, in the country as a whole?
Dominic Hogg: “Needs to be” is probably not correct, because it says it’s absolutely necessary, but certainly it may have a role to play, and sometimes, I think, the debate on incineration is very dogmatic, and you’re either assumed to be vehemently anti- or vehemently pro- and there seems that there’s not much space for people in the middle, and we I suppose try to stand somewhere in the middle, calling it as we see it.
Morning Ireland: You’re not against incineration in principle?
Dominic Hogg: Not in principle, no.
So even though he specifically refused to go along with the presenter’s contention that incineration was “necessary”, this is what found its way into the headline. Misleading headlines are a commonplace in Ireland’s print media, but usually the content of the story is distorted rather than completely inverted.
I’m going to put this one down to lazy sub-editing – it’s probably too far-fetched to suggest it’s the result of an editorial bias towards incineration.
The oral hearing itself kicked off with a full morning of procedural wrangling too tedious to write about in any detail. The only trivia worth reporting was that among the attendees were both Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and Colombia Three member James Monaghan. Having said that, I’d love to have the time to follow the proceedings in full, especially the cross-examination of witnesses produced by Dublin City Council.