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George Hook takes a swipe at RTE's 'Doctor Doom' who reads out the Covid statistics

Famous broadcaster takes part in debate alongside anti-vaxxer Aisling O'Loughlin
George Hook in the debate

George Hook in the debate

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Broadcaster George Hook has taken a swipe at RTE and its “Doctor Doom” who reads out the Covid statistics in a debate alongside anti-vaxxer Aisling O' Loughlin.

Hook and former Xpose star O’Loughlin took part in the online debate where they both questioned the role of the media in reporting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hook claims at one point in the debate that in Ireland there is an increasing cynicism in RTE “when Doctor Doom comes on the 9 O’clock (news) every night."

“And he says in his accent, like he has actually perfected a doom-like voice now, ‘that today there were 351 people in hospital and there was 72 in ICU and there were 34 deaths’.

“I’m a bit of a simpleton.

"When the RTE fella, I can’t even remember his name, I always call him doctor doom, says ‘there were 45 deaths’, I thought there were 45 deaths, in my innocence.

"There weren’t 45 deaths. I discovered after about a year some of those were in January some of those were in February.”

Both Hook and O’Loughlin appeared in the YouTube broadcast event entitled, ‘Unmasking the Media: An Examination of the Fourth Estate in Ireland’ that was hosted by The Irish Inquiry.

According to its website, The Irish Inquiry’s mission is to ‘provide a wider range of opinions from an expanding pool of public facilitate discussion on major political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental issues.'

In the debate, moderated by journalist Lindie Naughton, both Hook and O’Loughlin - whose Instagram account was recently removed by Facebook for “repeatedly sharing harmful misinformation” related to vaccines and Covid-19 - appear critical of the media in Ireland and abroad.

Broadcaster Hook takes issue with scientists and academics who he says have become “celebrities” during the pandemic.

“Before this pandemic struck there were these boring guys in academia and they were fiddling around with their test tubes and their Bunsen burners and nobody had ever heard of them,” he says.

“Then the pandemic strikes and famously, for instance, Professor McConkey of the Royal College of Surgeons comes on the radio at the beginning and he says 80,000 people are going to die in Ireland as a result of this virus.

“Across the water Professor Ferguson comes out and he says 800,000 people (are going to die). Given the population is ten times ours, McConkey and himself are working off the same hymn sheet.

“Now, suddenly, every time you turn on your radio or television, somebody you previously never heard of is now a celebrity.

"Professor Luke O'Neill is the biggest radio and television…he dwarfs Pat Kenny; he dwarfs them all.

“You cannot have a radio or television program without Luke O’Neill, and then there's McConkey and there's some other guy, and there's some other guy, none of whom we’ve ever heard of.

"I don't mind - and the reason why I don’t mind - is that I'd like to think once upon a time somebody would have said to O’Neill or McConkey or all these other guys, ‘hold on a minute here there's an alternative view’.”

He also defends O’Loughlin’s right to express her opinions, which has included in the past, references to the vaccination programme as "the biggest scandal the world has ever seen".

“I respect your view,” he states. “I respect your right. You've already said so at the beginning of this debate that when you raise your head you get it chopped off well, that is the point," he adds.

O’Loughlin agrees, stating that “so many people are unwilling to allow another opinion without losing their head.

“I just think it's an incredibly sad situation right now, I think globally it's really sad that people aren't allowed to express themselves without being denigrated and shut down and smeared.

“There's just so many questions and we're not getting the answers within the mainstream media,” she adds. She also refers to the “new media” where she will be putting her energies”.

O’Loughlin recently created a Telegram account where she is continuing to reach her followers via the encrypted messaging app.

“So, it is great that we're seeing new media sprout up all over the place,” she adds.

Hook adds: “I think what will happen is our children will report to somebody that granddad is reading seditious material. I fear that my grandchildren might report to somebody about the seditious material I'm reading. I'm worried, I think that's really worrying.”

On the question of vaccines Hook revealed that he “got two jabs in my arm which I believe implicitly are going to protect me in my declining years. I believe that.”

But O’Loughlin takes him to task, saying that, “the reason you believe that implicitly is because you haven't been allowed to hear the other side. That’s the reason you believe that.”

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