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French Media: manipulation rather than information January 5, 2007

Posted by The Writers in Media.


French’s media specialists never understood information. It reflects their poor professional education and the general ethos of the profession. The historian Marc Bloch has already criticised the poverty of our media, not only because they serve vested interest (but who doesn’t), but simply because they are poorly informed. He made the comparison between the German Die Zeit of the time (in the 1940’s) and Le temps where the discrepancy in terms of quality was clear enough for all to see.
Today, because information is increasing in every domain of human activities, the gap between simplist ideology and information grows larger. For example, anyone will get better information about the world, Europe and France through the British magazine ‘the Economist’ than through any of their French counter-part. Journalists are unable to handle information properly but play information messing with readers’ minds since its objective, beside the rhetoric of national politics, deals in fact with the details of alliances of interests between parties of the civil society working its way toward priviledges acquired in each relevant political instances concentrated in Paris.

Each time you read a paper or switch on your TV, you are harrassed with a level of ignorance that is not in par with the international claim of culture French’s officials sponsorise blindly inside and outside its borders.
To give another perfect example of the poverty of French media, on wednesday 27 of december, I watched TF1 which broadcast the show called ‘combien ca coute?’. It is a trash program on economy designed for large audiences at 20.50 PM.
The appraoch of information on Ebay is rather … elusive. I quote from the website:

– 2 650 000 dollars : Le prix d’une île à vendre sur internet. Le montant des achats en ligne devrait être multiplié par quatre d’ici 2011 pour atteindre 38,8 milliards d’euros. Quel commerce peut se vanter d’avoir des stocks de 85 millions d’articles ? Et, surtout, plus de 200 millions de clients… Il s’agit naturellement de la plus grande boutique sur Internet, leader du marché : Ebay…

I watched it because a friend of mine, head of e-bay france, made an appearance. His intervention was framed in the worst way possible related to a problem that was not e-bay central concern. The journalist interest was to denounce unreliable selling practices on the web, notably the presence of online product that turn out not to be what it is announced and the difficulty for the consumer to protect itself against it.
Everybody expected the e-bay manager to say it is the current concern of the company he is working for. The manager said so, explaining they have a dedicated team of specialists looking for such drudgery. The impression for the audience is rather different, presenting internet business in general and on-line selling as an deeply unsecured and untrustworthy technology hidding crooks in unpalpable dark corners of earth. The journalist also presented the access to e-bay manager as the result of an search, a long painful inquiry, which I was confirmed, was not the case at all. The journalist called the French e-bay manager and asked him if he could see him for a report. The French e-bay manager accepted, on the spot. E-bay France only footage shows a reward session whereby the manager gives his employees a price for good productivity. The way the information was framed, the TV spectator could only understand that online businesses were cheating honest (and therefore naive) consumers and ironically rewarded themselves for doing un-ethical business.

In a context of systematic distorsion of information, the resulting mistreatment become (in the word of the great US sociologist Robert Park) real in its consequences. The issue with the treatment of information a la Francaise is in the word of Jean-Francois Revel, the reflection of the totalitarian temptation. In the totalitarian frame of mind, no human manifestation possesses an autonomous existence, their own reference values outside its relation to power. In other words, any activity is judged in relationship to a system of political authority (i.e. is where catholicism as a mode of thinking and French political centralism join together in a backward dream of top-down social order). It explains why people are unable to take responsability and like to subdue their own activities within a large framework either of political unionist synonym of political ‘laissez-faire’ in their work place or in their outlook in life (a sort of metaphysics).


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