On Wednesday, Newstalks’s Pat Kenny interviewed abortion campaigner Ailbhe Smyth about the changes she’s pushing for to make Ireland’s abortion law even more extreme.
Presenters like Kenny take great offence when they’re called out for being campaigners masquerading as journalists. But no fair minded person could listen to Wednesday’s interview and reach any other conclusion.
Kenny didn’t display as much as a hint of journalistic curiosity or ask Smyth a single challenging question during the entire interview. He kept his interventions to a minimum to afford Smyth all the space she needed to drive home the points she wanted to make.
Not surprisingly, she took full advantage of the opportunity to propagandise for abortion, calling for the full decriminalisation of abortion up-to-birth and for the scrapping of the three-day period of reflection before an abortion happens. She painted a false picture for listeners that abortion remains rare in Ireland and that women still had great difficulty accessing them.
Based on her claims, Kenny could have reasonably asked her to explain the increase in the number of Irish abortions from 2,879 in 2018 to an incredible 8,876 abortions in 2022, as evidenced by the payment claims submitted to the HSE by abortion performing doctors. But pursuing questions like that would let the cat out of the bag about the new abortion law and Kenny had no interest in going there.
When Smyth called for the scrapping of the three-day wait before an abortion takes place, Kenny could have raised the fact that, Marie O’Shea, author of the Government’s abortion review report made her recommendation to end the ‘three-day wait’ without ever speaking to any of the almost 4,000 women who went for their first abortion appointment under the new law but didn’t proceed with the abortion after the three days had elapsed. If Kenny was a fair and impartial journalist he wouldn’t have given Smyth full control of the airwaves to say whatever she wanted without any pushback.
Pat Kenny and Ailbhe Smyth are never going to tell the public the full truth about what’s happening under Ireland’s much celebrated new abortion law, or horrifying details like the fact that babies have survived late-term abortions under the new law and have been left to die alone in the corners of Irish hospitals breathing their last breath without anyone holding them or even acknowledging their existence. That’s the new ‘tolerant’, ‘modern’ Ireland we’ve created that abortion supporters don’t want to face.
On hearing about the latest one-sided media interview, we shouldn’t despair and conclude that our efforts are pointless or that we’re competing against too many odds. Instead, take the opportunity and every opportunity you can to inform those closest to you about what’s taking place. It’s well worth our while taking Wednesday’s interview as an example and sitting down with family members and friends and discussing with them what happened. Ask them if they think it’s fair that the media are behaving like this all the time and keeping the public in the dark about the true reality of what’s taking place under the abortion law.
It’s only when ordinary members of the public start to realise that they’re being treated like fools by the media that positive changes will start to happen.