The France 24 Point of View
“France 24” comes in on channel 63, at least on my Noos cable box. It’s the new name for the new international news channel that replaced the French International News Network (CFII). Transmission started Thursday, December 7th, in both French and English to almost 75 million households, although I haven’t had the luck of English audio each time I’ve tuned in so far. The Web site at http://www.france24.com does give you a choice of language.
French President Jacques Chirac hopes his publicly funded project will rival the big guns, such as CNN and BBC, with news from a French perspective and bring France to the “forefront of the global battle of images.” Europe, Africa, the Middle East and possibly some parts of North America will receive the channel via satellite.
Critics and observers worry that success will be weakened by lack of strong revenue base, poor annual budget and thin staff. Loss of revenue is projected for years in the future and taxpayers are expected to foot the bill. Government backed, talk is that it could become more a “Voice of America” than a CNN.
Well, that may not be such a bad idea! Let’s face it, the news media as we know it today is really ENTERTAINMENT media, run by capitalist moguls who air news that draws audience and therefore advertising revenues. It’s always the bottom line that counts first and that means the goals to provide a complete and accurate, non-biased picture, goes astray from the very beginning.
When you flip through the news channels, from CNN to BBC to Europe News and now to France 24, the same story usually sounds very different. Each has a different “spin” — and “spin” is what it’s all about. Don’t think for a minute that right-wing Aussie Rupert Murdoch, whose “News Corporation” is one of the world’s largest media conglomerates with holdings that include Fox TV Network, HarperCollins Books, 20th-Century Fox and The New York Post, doesn’t use his media power to put forth his political rhetoric. Or that Ted Turner, Murdoch’s rival with CNN, TCM, TNT and other media, who has called Murdoch a “warmonger” in a public speech, isn’t spinning his own leftish tales.
So, it seems like a toss up to me…either you get the government’s point of view or the media mogul’s! Since good investigative reporting is in short supply, what real choice do we have?
The Web site http://www.muckraker.org, the Center for Investigative Reporting, who practice journalism that cares more about correcting injustice and abuse of power than making a profit, says that “the problem, as a rule, does not rest with the major city newspapers such as The New York Times and Washington Post, which continue to devote significant resources to investigative reporting. Rather, resources for investigations and related in-depth journalism have dried up for television – America’s No. 1 source for news – and smaller newspapers, and remain near non-existent for radio, most magazines and the Internet.”
Let’s just hope France 24 and its financial supporters recognize the need for journalism in lieu of profit. If they do, I’m all for it.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Read all about yesterday’s fun at Parler Paris Après Midi and see lots of photos of the afternoon’s networking in action at /parlerparis/apresmidi.html
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