Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ireland-Late Late Show decision to drop Dr. John Crown is a huge own goal

On Friday night last consultant medical oncologist Professor John Crown was due to appear on the Late Late to discuss the Irish Health Service. Professor Crown has been a strong critic of PD policy on the basis that it will create a two tiered health service. In this he is correct. He was also strongly criticized in the Dail by the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach claimed that consultants were paid more than himself. Mr Ahern said that Professor Crown had a huge private practice along with his public practice. Mr Ahern stated that he wasn't saying every thing that was in his briefing document. Dr Crown has interpreted this as a threat.

The Sunday Independent carries the heading "I was the victim of a McCarthyite campaign". The Sunday Tribune states that John Crown believes that his exclusion was "censorship by proxy." He told the Mail on Sunday that the decision to drop him "smacks of McCarthyism". He told Newstalk that he feared for his position after remarks made by the Taoiseach.
Some interesting questions arise:
  • Who made the decision to drop Dr. Crown?
  • Why was this decision made?
  • Was there political pressure to drop John Crown?

So far there has been a chorus of denials from Government and RTE circles. The decision to silence John Crown has created a storm of controversy and paradoxically has now given greater prominence to his views. The fall out has tarnished not alone RTE and the Late Late Show but also the Government. There is now a strong perception of Government interference in this decision-whether true or not.

The Late Late was the subject of major political controversy prior to the last General Election. A panel consisting of John Waters, Eoghan Harris and Eamonn Dunphy discussed the General Election campaign. Harris and Waters took a pronounced pro FF line. This helped sway the outcome of the General Election. It damaged the credibility of the Late Late Show.

The Late Late is now on the slippery slope.

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