Brian Cowen today informed the Dáil that neither he nor his press secretary demanded an apology from RTÉ for reporting the story on the paintings.
Meanwhile I hear from Robert Sweetnam that he wrote to RTÉ about their apology and received the following reply:
Thank you for your e-mail in regard to our story about the caricatures of the Taoiseach which was broadcast on last Monday’s 9.00 pm News. Immediatly after the broadcast RTÉ News made the decision that the item as transmitted was both in bad taste and inappropriate.
We subsequently received complaints from various sources, including one from the Government Press Secretary. We informed him that we had already decided that the item was in bad taste and that an apology was appropriate.
The News item was removed from the RTÉ website and on Tuesday night, we broadcast an apology.
RTÉ News tries to maintain high standards and is willing to admit error when occasionally we get it wrong. Our editorial independence is important to us. These decisions are taken by us alone and not influenced by external pressure for or against a particular course of action.
Cowen tells the Dáil that his press secretary didn’t demand an apology. So if he wasn’t looking for an apology, what exactly did he say to RTÉ when he called them?