Freefall — Anglo Meets the Exorcist

Shite RTÉ reporting on banking collapse.

If the RTÉ Freefall programme was a third-year multimedia project, I’d give it a 2-2, and wait to see how the kids turned out when they grew up.  Some of them might get a job in the serious media, but most of the talentless brats probably wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a camera or a microphone ever again.

We thought we were getting a serious televised analysis of the most dangerous event ever to overtake our country and instead we got The Exorcist.

For a full hour, in the first of RTÉ’s two-part report on the banking collapse, we were treated to aerial stop-motion video of streets, motorways and traffic, funky angles of office blocks and edgy D-minor cello music lifted from every bad scary picture we ever saw.  It was a horror-fest of undergraduate film-making, with every clichéd angle and mis-exposure in the book.  Embarrassing, contrived shots of knocked-over rubbish bins and discarded tissues blowing in the breeze, but at least it was all confined to Dublin.  Thank God we don’t have that problem where most Irish people live:  Not-Dublin.

To be fair to the film, it didn’t lack genuine horror, mostly provided by Brian Lenihan.

When he explained how he had told French finance minister Christine Lagarde — in French, no less — what he had done, you wanted to hide your head under the nearest sofa. Perhaps he was afraid we might think he phoned a French person and spoke to them in Serbo-Croat.

But if that cringe-inducing moment wasn’t enough, youu could feel an entire nation recoil as he chuckled when he explained why the head of the European Central Bank couldn’t get him on the phone the day after he issued the banking guarantee.  Apparently, as the Irish economy faced meltdown, Jean-Claude Trichet couldn’t contact Lenihan because he was at the — cue big laugh — races, with the other  Fianna Fáil lads.  A nation chuckles.

It echoed another Lenihan horror moment from many years ago on the Late Late Show when Brian Senior told the nation how he had threatened a policeman with enforced transfer, and everyone laughed, including the beloved Gaybo.  One law for you Brian.  Fair play to ya.  A different law for the rest of us, just like today.

The Freefall narrative explained to us that we were completely wrong, that we hadn’t in fact lived through the last two years at all, and that even if we did, we were wrong, blind and stupid.  The economic collapse wasn’t the fault of grasping, greedy gobshites like Ahern, Fitzpatrick, Fingleton and all of Fianna Fáil.  It was, in truth, caused by the global economic crisis, and not by home-grown corruption and crookery.  Not caused by Lenihan’s buddies and clients.  Not caused by the bankers who own, body and soul, so many of his cabinet colleagues.

The Freefall programme was an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has followed this debacle and a monument to the uncritical mediocrity that is our national broadcasting company.

The Soviet Union had TASS and Pravda.  We have RTÉ, the official organ for disseminating State policy.  It’s run by the Billie Barry kids, now that they’re too old to be singing for their parents’ friends, who gave them their jobs in the first place.

21 thoughts on “Freefall — Anglo Meets the Exorcist

  1. You’re spot on Bock. I saw the last 20 minutes .. late home from the gym. Couldn’t help but roll my eyes watching it. All though hope is not lost. Part two is supposed to detail the domestic reasons for the economic collapse. I won’t hold my breath for the truth though going on tonight’s cock and bull.

  2. Dumped my telly quite a few years back. Not claiming any prescience, I just got bored with the mediocrity and brain-washing shyte; a constant, day after day.
    I moved on.
    Your analogy, ‘gambling’, in this post, explains quite a bit about what has actually been going on. I perceive that most people may have missed that one. Quite astute of you to spot it BOCK; I should have know, what am I like? I would not expect otherwise; well done.
    You see, recently I was asked what I thought it was was the problem with ANGLO.
    I didn’t have to think about the answer.
    Straight off I said something like this, ( I paraphrase)
    ‘Do you remember about ten or fifteen years ago there was a great plan to open a casino in the Dublin area; somewhere around the Curragh of Kildare? A casino that would bring all the high rollers from the massive gambling dens in the US, Russia and China and would get them to dump their cash in to Ireland instead, do you remember that?’
    ‘Well, I can tell you now, the courts at that time rejected the plans and scorned those that presented them’.
    (Big mistake)
    ‘Because the casino went ahead anyway, it just wasn’t called a casino. After all the ‘law’ (i.e. the idiot Courts) had prohibited it.
    The casino that eventually opened for business is now; unfortunately, know as the ubiquitous ANGLO IRISH BANK.

    Once they had the license to operate, all other banks followed.
    So, am I telling a fiction here?
    I believe not.

  3. Recorded it. Must look at it tonight. I was trying to watch but fell asleep. Maybe I should delete it altogether. It looks like there was no serious questions even asked. We don’t need the answers. We know they sold the country down the Shannon that night.

  4. He gives a state guarantee for over 400 billion the biggest decision in the state history, but a FF fund raiser takes first place on his diary.
    This tell us more than anything else about the people running the country, after all to this day Cowen still cant understand why everyone just don’t follow him without question.
    You would think all day would have been taken up with finding out exactly what he had done. But then gambling on the horses might have been the first step to solving the problem, after all bertie solved most of his money worries with a win on the nags.

  5. Pure propaganda.

    The only thing of interest (apart from the fact that our Minister of Finance can’t be contacted unless he’s actually in Government buildings) was that “a German bank” was about to go legal on the insolvent bank Anglo Irish.

    Anglo was insolvent yet it was guaranteed.

    The unfortunate thing is that a good portion of the public will take it at face value.

    Fianna Fail has no responsibility. It was nasty American Banks and oh so clever subprime lending. It was the idiots at Lehman Brothers. It was Ronald Regan’s fault. It was Margaret Thatcher’s fault.

    If all else fails. Blame the Brits.

    Indeed Bock, it was a horror show.

  6. Bock

    I realise this post is more apposite to previous ones, but two pieces in yesterday’s Financial Times were illuminating, and as you know, the FT seems to be the only media organ in the immediate vicinity that calls it as it is.

    The first was an op-ed, and to paraphrase, it said that while Spain will probably be ok, and Greece is getting it’s act together (whatever that means) it said that “in Ireland, the main problem is the banking sector”. The math has been done) and “the total amount of debt likely to end up with the Irish government amounts to one-third of GDP”. They conclude that (with the commitments we are making to the international bonds market) “Ireland is effectively insolvent. To correct this Ireland would need to generate spectacular rates of future growth. But do we really believe that the Celtic Tiger trick can be replicated?” The question is obviously rhetorical ….

    The second conecrns a story that “regulators in Dublin have relaxed financial market rules in an effort to position Ireland as the leading centre for a new wave of onshore hedge funds”

    Basically we’re offering to give all those dodgy Catman Islands accounts a home. Set up the country nicely for the next wave of smoke-and-mirrors and three-card thrick merchants.

    Plus ca change …

  7. The part where Lenihan laughed about being ‘uncontactable’ because he was at a fianna fail event made me really angry. Why did he think that was funny? We silly Irish, too busy having a laugh and a back-slap session to face reality.

    You are correct on the production quality too Bock, it reminded me of a show like ‘Homes From Hell’-or any docu-type shown on Bravo.

  8. Like the poster above, we got rid of our TV years ago owing to the mind numbing stuff on it. But I also long since realised that the irish media was at best mis-leading people throughout the Celtic tiger. There were plenty of educated people advocating an end to the lunancy but they did not get air time.

    I’m sure I get a much better idea of what is going on in Ireland and the world from Websites such as this.
    Even if the TV docs. are good you have to watch all the prolonged irrelevant cinematography tricks before someone makes a point. The whole argument can be condensed on a site like this and we can even contribute our views.

  9. why not sell anglo to the russian mafia? criminals from around the world could wash their money through it. anglo would be run and owned by crooks, but they’d be a lot classier than the ones in charge now.

  10. does anyone know how if we can find out who the bondholders are? I would love someone to tell me why I have to care about them, or indeed anyone who was greedy and stupid enough to put their money in Anglo.

    As you seem to be serving the gap between the spin of the mainstream media, and the truth Bock, (you make a show of those fools over on, can you help us out here?

  11. I have to confess that when i tuned in to freefall it was half way through. I did not immediatley understand what the program was about. I know, I know, but please bare with me. The sound was turned down, i actually thought it was some kind of Art/Architectual program, all those shots of buildings, streetscapes. I had to clean my glasses because i thought they were getting fuzzy. It was only when i decided to leave the sound muted and hit the text button for the subtitles the penny dropped. Whoops! I actually sat there and had what little intellegence i have be insulted. Geobbles would have loved it.

  12. All the current affairs programmes on RTE now sound like that! Instead of using the little time they take dedicate it to serious topics we have some funky grungy lead in and yer mon from the north with the husky voice starting the scary bedtime story! Pure shite!

  13. Only saw the first half. At the point where Lenihan said, not without a little indignation, that Anglo “had been allowed” to lend recklessly, and it went unchallenged, I realised what I was looking at. As if the government had no power or influence in the matter whatsoever. That programme certainly didn’t intend holding anyone to account, or asking any hard questions. To allow Lenihan to get away with that, what can you say. Pravda is right Bock. The convenient narrative now is that we had greedy bankers and developers (and sure, didn’t we all lose the run of ourselves), and a useless regulator. This narrative ignores the corruption and conflicts of interest, the relationship between Anglo and top FF people etc etc you either know the rest by now or you never will.

  14. I watched with interest. I found it oddly comical, frightening (in a Dr. Who way), depressing, and also unimaginably aggravating. It’ll take several generations to pay this enormous folly back. Must advise the kids to leave when they are finished their education.

    We clearly have no accountability. Had this happened elsewere (for example France) there’d be hell to pay, and blood on the streets.

  15. I wish someone would withhold the cocaine from the camerapeople / editors of RTE documentaries. Just because you can do that with a camera / editing suite doesn’t mean you should.

  16. We clearly have no accountability. Had this happened elsewere (for example France) there’d be hell to pay, and blood on the streets.

    And we would still have to pay up? I guess.

  17. Educate as many of your family that are willing to listen about the monetary system. It is corrupt. To understand why this is so and to offer a worthwhile solution, direct them to an inspiring documentary called “zeitgeist”.

    Make the most of this opportunity while the internet is still relatively free. Peace.

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