Search This Blog

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Commercialization of News... Yep, Once More.

While the debate is more and more violent in France as to whether DSK is guilty or not of what he has been accused of, another controversy begins to emerge that has to do with the role of the media in this whole story. A few blogs accuse the media of immorality, of condemning a man just by presuming him guilty without even a trial, and a few organizations even write long facebook notes that use the famous "J'accuse"
In the context of our class, this, once again, echoes the fact that the media try to sell, and make selling news their primary goals before delivering the fully investigated, balanced and objective news. It however also shows that sometimes the public goes beyond what the media tells them since in the case of DSK, the whole French population might have been told that one of their candidate was guilty, a considerable part of it refused to believe anyone. The debate about DSK intrinsically nuances the influence of the media, shows that the mediatic message is not supreme and that concepts such as nationalistic pride and patriotism might be stronger.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nationalistic Pride

Just a quick note. I just asked a Parisian who is currently in France about the atmosphere following the whole story with DSK. Her answer was: "What??? You think it's true??" and she explained that in France everyone believed in a "coup monte", that the story was a lie and that it was all a way to destroy a potential candidate. I personally doubt it. DSK was a very serious candidate but eliminating him does not eliminate all of the concurrence for anyone. The French party system and election system is way too complicated to make the elimination of one candidate sufficient to ensure the victory of anyone. However, what did interest me is the way the media treat a topic differently based on how concerned they feel to the topic, how close it is to them. And it made me realize that the media really have the power to create a whole atmosphere and to sell a story that is going to be accepted as the truth. I wonder how much of my opinion would have been shaped by the general opinion if I had been in France right now, and how much the American newspapers and the fact that I am in New York and not in Paris allows me to remain objective. I also wonder if it is possible at all for the media to not express their nationalistic pride at all, to not try to defend their country, or their politicians, and to not sell to the public some sort of consolation rather than a knife to make the injury bigger.

Emotions and International Affairs

Is it even possible to publish an article on the Palestinian state, of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with objectivity and without emotions???? I am under the impression that there is nowhere in the whole international affairs realm where emotions get as much credit and political significance as in this conflict. Can we please remember that this is a political conflict? Could newspapers possibly stop to write novels and narratives about it and coldly analyze it?
Yesterday, May 16th, the NYT published an op-ed by Mahmoud Abbas titled "The Long Overdue Palestinian State" and beginning with "SIXTY-THREE years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home" ( The bias is not only obvious (look at the author of the article), but the article does not even try to hide this bias and uses emotions and the narrative of a poor child in order to gain sympathy without a concise, rigorous and intelligent political discourse.
Do journalists, journals, newspapers, speakers, spokespersons, politicians etc... feel like they are not allowed to talk about Palestine or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if no one cries while they do?

The New Media - the New Face of the Media or Something More Precarious?

So the media have changed. Everyone agrees on that and everyone agrees that the new face of the media, the new way to communicate is what is relevantly called the new media, the social media...
My question is whether facebook and twitter can possibly last as long as the printed New York Times and CNN. The fact that social media are not political tools in their essence, that their use in politics is only a "detournement" of their primary goal questions in a way the possibility for this media to be as lasting and prominent as the printed newspapers, the radio and cable news. It is true that the social media can only be more effective in the modern society where the young generation disinterests itself from politics and where the social rules and pressure are perhaps stronger than ever. But when this generation comes to full maturity, will facebook and twitter come to full maturity with it? And who can guarantee that facebook will not lose its relevance as fast as it got it? Online instant messaging for instance used to be huge and has then drastically declined, going from the "cool" thing to do to a normal feature of modern life that has been outdated by BBM, and phone instant messaging in general. Who can ensure that the social media will stay as strong and essential as it is now and won't evolve as a common thing, just one feature of modern life while something else and bigger replaces it as the official voice to the young generation and the average american?
Moreover, when news come to facebook, they are accredited by an older media source. When people "share" an article, this article comes from the NYT, the Washington Post etc... Facebook is not a political media. It doesn't create news, it doesn't tell the news; it helps sharing them which is a huge difference. So will the new media destroy, or have the new media destroyed or made irrelevant the cable, radio and printed media? Not so sure...

For Once that Sensationalism is Indeed Connected to Actual Politics

Since Sunday, the media have all covered in details the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, candidate to the French presidential elections, President of the IMF, socialist and a celebrity in French who was thought to have a really good shot at the elections.
My personal thought, besides, honestly, a certain amount of shame, was that for once the media were able to use sensational news and talk about politics in the same time. The truth is that DSK did not just hurt his individual potential success but that this whole scandal is going to have consequences for the French socialist party as a whole. This story is therefore a key in the upcoming French presidential elections and knowing that the extreme right is gaining more and more prominence, I am sure that it is going to use it to get even more voices. This story is most probably a turning point in these French presidential elections. What I therefore don't understand is why, why on Earth doesn't anyone in the newspapers actually say so and thoroughly analyze the repercussions? You have an amazing story right here and you can even sound serious while telling it? Why the focus on the scandal and the sensation, still, even now, when it would be so easy to turn it into professional, objective, analytical and still critical news?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

About the Obama Advertisement

I just wonder when Americans will get tired of the dog and the flag as arguments for a good presidency. The Obama advertisement does not even figure that many people, not even that  many diverse people despite of an obvious effort, and barely echoes the questions that this presidency might raise among citizens. The most, and to my opinion only, intelligent part of the advertisement was the comment saying "I don't necessarily agree with everything he does but I trust him". I felt like this was almost a scared, way too careful, way too hesitant advertisement of someone who does not dare to address the real questions about his presidency and to really answer as to why he should be elected again when we could almost say that in 4 years he has not fulfilled any of his promises. To me the attempt that he makes at representing America, the dog and the hesitant broadness of characters in his ad, are not sufficient to make me "trust" the president for a second term. Blame my "Europeanness" but it takes more than a dog and a flag to convince me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The New Media and the White House

So the race for the White House begins on facebook....
So having creative ideas about the economy is not going to help you if you can't put them on twitter
So the 2011 radio is pandora, whatever time for interviews or actual political content pandora actually gives
So Yes We Can is best explained and made famous when it is featured in a video with already famous people
So politicians need to appeal to a young generation that couldn't care less about them
So politicians need to use the toys of that 30-40 years younger generation to appeal to this youth (weird!!!)
So the New Media is the New Politics. Make it yours or die.

You know my thought is that political campaigns already had enough of a lack of content. I am not sure we needed to make it even more content-free just so that it can become cooler. Politics is not "cool". There is no way anyone is going to learn about the recession over text. There is no way anyone will be able to efficiently choose a president over his facebook campaign. That's what we did for Obama, we elected the guy who had the best PR, the one who could make us dream again, who made us thought he was so integrated into our reality. Bad call. The PR campaign was a bubble, a lovely one that intellectuals felt force to embrace because the high school need to be cool and go with the mainstream never completely dies. As of now I think most people have been able to realize that Obama really never had much content. Okay we made history with him, electing an African-American and a facebook president. But is it enough? We might complain about what it did to our country but clearly we are going for even more of a facebook president for the next elections.