George Hook And The Entitlement To An Opinion

Everyone may be ‘entitled to their opinion’, whatever that means, but not everyone is entitled to a national radio slot where they can spout misogynist garbage.
Rosa Luxemburg is often quoted as saying that ‘Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.’ Her preceding sentence was ‘Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party – however numerous they may be – is no freedom at all.’

George Hook is a cheerleader for Ireland’s ruling party Fine Gael in a very literal sense: he does warm-up speeches for them at their conventions. He is one broadcaster on a radio station owned by a billionaire media magnate who got his big break after greasing the palm of the Fine Gael Minister for Communications. On the whole, the radio station itself, as with the rest of the billionaire’s media interests, is anti-worker, anti-union, anti-left, pro-austerity, pro-big business, pro-establishment, pro-police. Crucially, though, it is not all that different from the state broadcaster RTÉ (who used to -and for all I know, still do- employ Hook as a rugby commentator) in this regard. Both run advertisements for Denis O’Brien’s private hospitals.

Where is the national media outlet that campaigns for universal health care? Or universal education? Or the democratisation of industry? It does not exist. What we have instead is a set of right-wing media institutions that habitually accuse the least right-wing among them of being in the grip of communists.

How did this state of affairs -this narrow-gauge ideological domination- come about? Suffice to say it was not through civilised debate and argument. Debate about freedom of expression and press freedom, without addressing this landscape first, is no debate at all.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “George Hook And The Entitlement To An Opinion

  1. “How did this state of affairs -this narrow-gauge ideological domination- come about?” They’ve engineered a comfortable padding of complacent Serfs who are more likely to have a passionate public opinion about the race or gender of the actor/actress who plays the next “super hero” in a pro-war propaganda film than about universal healthcare/ universal education/ democratization of industry, et al. What we have now is “bread and circuses” without the bread: They learned Their lesson well after the 1960s, when, because too many Serfs had been accidentally educated, things began to slip, slightly, out of Their control. Every blockbuster movie, every pop hit, every manufactured controversy, has been engineered (explicitly or by a filtered default) to pound the General Intelligence into superstitious mush. I know too many Intellectual Radicals who loved The Wire or Deadwood (or whatever) and didn’t realize (or wouldn’t acknowledge) how smoothly they’d been Trojan-Horsed with Right wing values. But what is The Left? We must remember: The Left was, essentially, raised/educated by The Right… it’s not a symmetrical binary… one is actually a subset of the other. The Right has dominated for centuries; we need to do some serious thinking to break out of this stranglehold. And first, I think, we need to throw away our televisions.

    I appreciate your blog… an increasingly lone voice. Please keep at it!

  2. Eithne

    Bulls it media at your worst!

  3. Pingback: 702. Fuascailt | ancroiait

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