Monday, November 14, 2005

Monster That Head-Rolling Story

Who is Jean-Claude Dassier?

A.) Bass player in a Montreal punk band.
B.) Maureen Dowd's lover.
C.) An idiot.

The answer is "C." Dassier is, for the time being, head of a French news service called LCI. Recently, he took it upon himself to censor coverage of the riots in French suburbs. As self-appointed chief protector of French mass-sensibility, Dassier decided that he, as big swinging dick of a major news service, would save the citizens of France from themselves.

In a bumbling attempt to do this heroic deed, Dassier kept footage of burning cars off his airwaves (his government-alotted bit of 'em at least) in a move that no doubt has legions of Internet users laughing their asses off at this hysterically fatuous assumption that raw information was something Big Media could still master and command.

From the MediaGuardian:

But he (Dassier) admitted his decision was partly motivated by a desire to avoid encouraging the resurgence of extreme rightwing views in France.

French broadcasters have faced criticism for their lack of coverage of the country's worst civil unrest in decades. Public television station France 3 has stopped broadcasting the numbers of torched cars while other TV stations are considering following suit.

"Do we send teams of journalists because cars are burning, or are the cars burning because we sent teams of journalists?" asked Patrick Lecocq, editor-in-chief of France 2. Rival news organisations today questioned the French broadcasters' decision to temper coverage of the riots.

John Ryley, the executive editor of Sky News, said his channel would have handled a similar story in Britain very differently.

"We would have been all over it like a cheap suit. We would have monstered the story, and I didn't get the impression that happened in France," he said.

Keeping with his mission to seriously overserve the public good, Jeff Jarvis 'storms the media Bastille' over at BuzzMachine, where 'monstering the story' is all just a free market shakeout on any given day.

Does this Dassier dude have a future in the Rove White House or what!?


doro said...

Hmmm. Isn't rioting a very culturally, historically French pastime anyway? However most everything I've read about the current unrest focuses on the Secular/Islamic divide, with a sprinking of post-Colonialism.

On the topic of censorship, don't forget that this is the government that banned the term "e-mail" and still has a language police.

sign me,
a francophile nonetheless

Anonymous said...

A Brit, living in France.
I guess you're pretty safe, living over the pond, French bloggers have to be very careful about what they say -

I live in a small, quiet, very French, French village, hundreds of kilometers away from Paris. Last Thursday, four buses and three cars were set on fire here. This can only be copycat crime, so the question
"Do we send teams of journalists because cars are burning, or are the cars burning because we sent teams of journalists?" is a very valid one and one that journalists should ask themselves more often.
The spread of the unrest into Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, can only be put down to the media coverage. The escalation of the 'riots' developing on the back of the 'burned cars league table'.

Grayson said...

Dear Brit Guy Living In France: This is beginning to sound a lot like the gun control issue here... Let's paraphrase for a moment: "Media don't set cars on fire; people set cars on fire."

doro said...

Dear Brit Guy Living in France:

I've offered my Parisian friends asylum on Edisto Beach and would extend you the same courtesy.

To weigh in on Grayson's comment, I'd rather take my chances with local hoodlums out of control than submit to a centralized government that brooked no dissent, and made it illegal to even find out what all the fuss was about.

Even in the violent, decadent, racist US, there were no copycat riots.
Explique-moi, s'il vous plait.

A bientot,

doro said...

PS I'm referring to the riots in the wake recent Hurricane Katrina. Also I found it very interesting that the post-tsunami areas didn't have anything near the civil unrest that we did...go figure.