A complaint against Pat Kenny on Newstalk for apparently airing his own personal views on gay marriage has been rejected by the BAI.
A single complainant, Mr. Murphy, claims that while interviewing Deputy Jerry Buttimer on the subject of the proposed Referendum on Gay Marriage, Pat effectively communicated to the audience his personal views on this matter of public importance when he asked Deputy Buttimer whether he intended to get married “when this passes” i.e. when in the presenter’s opinion, the proposed Referendum passes.
The complainant states that in framing of that question in that manner, the presenter left the listening audience in no doubt as to his personal views on the proposed Referendum. The complainant believes this is an infringement of the requirement that the presenters in current affairs programmes remain impartial.
He also said that the presenter must remain impartial on the issue and that the interview on 6th November 2013 was just a free advert for Deputy Buttimer.
In response, Newstalk say that the presenter made it clear in the course of the interview that the Referendum was not a foregone conclusion, and also made a point of mentioning that the alternative side of the argument was on Newstalk when he said to Mr. Buttimer: “Pat Deering, your colleague was on Newstalk Breakfast yesterday and he was saying that he didn’t think this was a good idea as it would be difficult to bring people around to this.”
Newstalk claims this was a fair and balanced interview.
The BAI, having considered the broadcast as a whole, pointing out that this one incident could not make an impact to a vote which is almost two years away, decided to reject the complaint.