Monday, November 19, 2007


High Society was one of the worst documentaries I have ever seen. To my mind the idea of using anonymous sources and then making a documentary that relied wholly on reconstructions was questionable.

Journalists use anonymous sources all the time. But they are reluctant to rely on them to such an extent - we usually look for independent corroboration or some form of documentation to back it up. This was different... everything was based on anonymous, unsubstantiated and unverifiable information.

And journalists used to using sources also know when there's something innately unnerving about the use of a source. And there was always something about Justine Delaney Wilson's purported interview with a Government minister that didn't have the ring of credibility about it.

Yesterday it emerged in The Sunday Tribune (a Kevin Rafter and Ali Bracken story) that there is no recording in existence of the interview with the Minister (as we were all led to believe). RTE admitted that the interview was conducted using contemporaneous notes.

And today in his masterful interview with RTE's commissioning editor of factual programmes Kevin Dawson, Sean O'Rourke pulled a rabbit from the hat: namely an interview that was conducted with Delaney Wilson on Drivetime on October 4 in which she said she had taped the interview and kept copies of the tape. (listen to O'Rourke's interview with Dawson here)

And now in the latest (farcical) twist, the author, who is abroad on holidays, claims she both recorded the interview while taking contemporaneous notes and subsequently erased the recording. Yeah, right!


Dan Sullivan said...

Much as I would have enjoyed the potential embarrassment of a government minister (or was it a junior, since when did anyone think of them as real ministers apart from Justine Delaney Wilson?) I thought this story was fishier than a fake singing pike bought for a family of hake for Codmas.

Niall said...

Delaney Wilson claims her notes are contemporaneous to the recording. But since that recording doesn't exist, what degree of credibility can we attach to it? I was initally interested in the documentary, but now, I could not watch it. Sad times for investigative journalism, sad option for RTE...