On September 19, Kairos published an article, « Kairos and Didier Reynders. When the evening spoke of Kairos « (1), in which we recalled what we have been doing for more than 7 years and the watchdog role of the dominant media. The journalist, Louis Colart, replied, but refused to make his letter public. We react to his main allegations.
« Hello Mr. Colart,
Thank you for your email.
I will answer point by point to the remarks contained in this one, by presenting succinctly each one of them, for the clarity of the subject, in particular for the readers of Kairos who discovered my first mail and would like to understand. You consider that your answer is not binding on the editorial staff of Le Soir and is therefore not intended to be published on the Kairos website, as you do not wish to » fuel a sterile controversy « , in your words. We do not have the same definition of « sterility ».
- DESIRE TO » MAKE A SPLASH
You introduce your answer by doubting my willingness to debate with you, seeing in the letter I sent to you on September 19 and to all the subscribers of the newsletter of Kairos, the will to » tomake a move « , « to looking for the buzz « . If using the only means we have to make our publications known, the newsletter being one of them, is part of the search for the scoop, I see however something else. We believe that the question of the role of the mass media, namely that of « manufacturing consent », goes beyond a debate between two people and must be held publicly. This is the principle of an open letter. You reached some » 639,450 readers » last Thursday, and you’re going to blame me for sending our article to a few thousand newsletter subscribers… Is this a joke? Ask yourself who is looking for buzz on a daily basis. However, if you consider that providing information and disseminating information on essential subjects, as we have been doing for more than 7 years (nuclear, electromagnetic, education, geopolitics, etc.), is a scoop, we readily admit it.
Also, thank you for apologizing » for the word ‘blog’ » and for correcting the spelling of Kairos. This does not, however, take away from the astonishment at this journalistic « laziness », endemic in our « developed » countries, which leads to these « mistakes ».
- » AD HOMINEM ATTACK » AND » LAWSUIT OF INTENT »
Mr. Colart, I should have made a clarification in the preamble: although I am addressing you in the letter, my criticism goes beyond your person, considering you as a tool of a media system. When I address you, it is therefore more as a representative of this media order than as « Louis Colart ».
Your answer confirms the blindness of the « little soldiers of journalism », your astonishment establishing the border of your critical perception. You tell me that I quote » jumbled « , an » interview of the CEO of Rossel, of [votre] colleague Béatrice Delvaux and of one of [mes] subjects related to La Libre » What can I say, except that I don’t see the connection? « Don’t you see the connection, Mr. Colart? Let me clarify: your boss, Bernard Marchant, is a former tax consultant at Arthur Andersen. Arthur Andersen is an auditing firm that was among the « Big five » as they were called at the time, linked to the Enron scandal for which it performed audits. Today, the most important consulting firms are about ten, including… McKinsey. By quoting Bernard Marchant, I am indicating that the man who has also worked for Olivetti (vice-president Europe of the IT group), Beckaert (world leader in metal), 9Telecom (chairman and CEO)…, is more interested in the private sector than the public sector. Thus, despite the delirious denials of mainstream media journalists, the pedigree of the CEOs of press groups and, in Belgium, of the large families who own them (the Hurbain family for Le Soir, which despite falling 32 places from the article we wrote in 2016(2)Since then, he has increased his wealth by some 14 million euros, with an estimated fortune of 169,471,000 euros. Will they want to displease McKinsey, which is leading the excellence pact in Belgium, when they have to mention it? According to you, » The editorial effort on this topic [me] seems, on the contrary, quite « significant « . The same could be said of your blindness. As Aude Lancelin said about the mental functioning of journalists in the process of media decadence: » The ideological machining necessary to conceal the extent of the crime was increasingly difficult, requiring powerfully divided individuals, endowed with a very particular nervous system « (3). As for your colleague Beatrice Delvaux, I quote her simply to support the fact that your daily newspaper is aware of our existence, but that self-censorship does its job and hides the information that disturbs. I continue my demonstration in my letter by evoking the scandalous rupture of collaboration with the magazine Financité because the editor of the latter had refused to remove the name of the bank Degroof Petercam to which Alain Siaens belonged, and who is also a member of the board of directors of the IPM group which publishes La Libre. As the financier Xavier Niel, one of the owners of Le Monde, cynically said: » When journalists piss me off, I take a stake in their paper and then they leave me alone. Not too much of a fuss, then. But you get it, I think.
With all due respect, you are no exception and, paradoxically, I did not imagine with my first mail a sudden awareness on your part, mired in the meanders of cognitive dissonance. Part of the cog, you contribute to the perpetuation of this world, persuading yourself that everything is not so bad and that Le Soir is still doing a good job. However, it is also because of all these small acceptances that nothing changes significantly: selfish and blind self-contentment is also part of the catastrophe.
I would be judging you by your investigation and the pressure you are under. Of course, we come back to what was said before: years in a press like Le Soir oblige one to a form of self-censorship if one wants to continue to receive one’s salary. Certainly, the ambient conformism contributes to this and, with time, the desire to really do one’s job fades in front of the need to say what is necessary. I am not asking you to » justify yourselves to be able to work freely « , since the aphorism » He who does not move doesnotfeel his chains » is probably the one that best defines the journalist’s work of self-discipline.
In your blindness, you realize this superb projection by accusing us of plagiarism, telling us that: « Le Soir, and other » dominant media » thatYou are criticizing, are at the base of most of the revelations on this file (but also Nethys/Publifin, Samusocial, a recent bill against whistle-blowers). Your investigations are so « new » They paraphrase ours at length, without ever quoting us. » Without ever quoting you « ? In our long article on Kazakhgate, Le Soir is quoted 8 times in footnotes! Certainly, some information taken up by the media as a whole, which most often feed on the same troughs as the press agencies, are sometimes quoted in our articles without naming the source, since they are multiple. We do not wish to ignore Le Soir and do not name it as a source when this is the case.
To conclude, I would invite you to read Kairos, because you seem to be confused about what we do. You accuse: » We obviously lack a sense of nuance and real investigative work « , we should » throw away our ideological blinders « , take inspiration from Acrimed (with whom we have a press exchange…). At Le Soir, unlike us, you « do not express your opinions « There is too much to catch up on to instill the beginnings of a critical spirit towards the dominant media which for decades has been shaping opinions behind the spectacle of objectivity, inveighing against the weakest and glorifying the powerful, with episodes of strikes proving which side they are on, and what their opinions are…(4)
But everything seems to be going well, and my writings are only paranoid gesticulations: » Belgian editorial offices are going through important debates about their editorial model, their financial independence or their approach to social debates « . Amen.
With two days to go before the debate in the European Parliament that will see Didier Reynders, or not, become European Commissioner, I’m sure you’ll be quick to broadcast the never-before-seen video of Nicolas Ullens de Schooten, right(5)?
Looking forward to seeing you join the ranks of the critics and flee a system that, if you still have any inkling of freedom, will one day crush you. »
- Seriez-vous Libre® ce Soir® ? Ou comment les médias-industries détruisent la pensée », www.kairospresse.be
- Aude Lancelin, Le Monde Libre, Éditions Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2016, p.47.