Mr. Downes Goes To Washington

So Richard Downes has won the free-for-all bunfight to become RTÉ’s new Washington correspondent, beating off fierce competition from a clutch of colleagues (poor old George Lee was a non-starter, it seems.) Downes rose to prominence reporting from the Iraq War (2003 remix) and has latterly been fronting Morning Ireland, RTÉ Radio’s staunch first line of offence against the unions over the past few years.

Quite why RTÉ needs a Washington correspondent eludes me. As I’ve said before, RTÉ’s self-cultivated remit is essentially equivalent to that of a local TV station in the UK. If people want international news, they go elsewhere. The newsroom’s assault on the public sector has been a masterclass in misdirection; splashback to RTÉ (a genuinely bloated and overpaid public body, at the top level) has been minimal. Apart from the salaries of the golden circle, I’d love to know the combined cost of rights procurement and junkets assignments to the Beijing Olympics, and how they correlated to viewing figures. Anyone know how I could find out?

Anyroad, the reason I put flesh to plastic was to note that the announcement of Downes’s jackpot appears in the Entertainment section of the RTÉ website. Well, I’m sure he’ll be mightily entertained, if no-one else…


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