Denying grist to the mill

What happens when journalists consider it their duty, not to report the truth, but to prevent facts from being misused by the enemies of society?
Jean-Claude Dassier, director general of the news outfit LCI—France’s version of CNN—admitted in 2005 that his network shielded viewers from seeing the true destruction wrought by angry Muslim rioters who were then besieging France. “Politics in France is heading to the right and I don’t want rightwing politicians back in second, or even first place because we showed burning cars on television,” he confided.
The only rational conclusion is that Dassier wants to keep the French public uninformed because they’d likely vote for Front National, France’s unapologetically nationalist party, if they knew what the heck was happening to their country. Better not to cover the news lest people figure out that the “bigots” have a point.
… I have no doubt that most journalists think very hard about what they broadcast and that’s the problem. They don’t give it to us straight. The constant impulse to shape the news to fit an agenda strips their reporting of any value. That omnipresent question “What would the Right do with this?” hangs over their coverage, influencing editorial decisions to the point that their end product can only be called propaganda.


Grim said...

It's the other side of the political question we were talking about yesterday. They don't think of the citizenry as deserving of the freedom they have, so they try to limit the damage they can cause by telling them comforting (or manipulative) lies.

james said...

Isn't this the way almost all newspapers were back in the Civil War era? (Except that these days there's much less competition of views.)

Grim said...

If it was, they at least had some excuse.

Texan99 said...

It's easy to imagine we're the first generation who's ever had to deal with some human outrage or another, but did the journalists in the Civil War era really go around patting themselves on the back about their objectivity? Or did they openly identify themselves as political operatives with by-lines?

Or to put it another way, were journalists always this insufferable, or did they get this way only after Watergate? In architecture school they used flatly to forbid us to read "The Fountainhead," or at least to yammer self-adoringly about it if we did. The same might be said for "All the President's Men" today.