Dogs bite. Episode 2: Sharp on the attack

It is not necessary to directly attack the work of journalists under orders to make them feel threatened. It is enough to do an information work that is not extraordinary, revealing the implacable reality of the disinformation and the daily censorship in which we are bathed. Thus, they receive in return and indirectly the proof of what they keep silent and do not do, as a result of a structural operation that they systematically try to hide. What is extraordinary is that the question of April 15 at the press conference was not extraordinary. Analysis of a textbook case: an article from Le Vif/L’Express(1).

The start is difficult, the coastline in sight, because the article, categorized as « Opinion » on the Vif website, « Commentary » in the weekly paper, plunges us into confusion from the start by its title: « Journalists who ask real questions ask them elsewhere, where they can get real answers. Let’s stop at this convoluted reasoning before getting to the heart of what could be read in the April 23 issue of Le Vif. So there would be places to ask  » real questions  » and places to get real answers? So places that would allow that the true characters of the question and the answer meet, indicating a contrario that in other places one would play a form of spectacle, posing of  » false  » questions to get from  » What about places where you ask real questions and getfalse answers? It is this last case that constitutes my fault.

But that is precisely where the problem lies, and the title itself of Le Vif, by a certain Nicolas De Decker, could be the subject of a detailed analysis(2). Because what the citizen can’t stand anymore is to have to attend these pantomimes of democracy that are the press conferences and other political debates, relayed endlessly by media that play the game and make the show, of politicians who tell us in filigree that they now do what they want because we voted for them(3)In these places, any real answer is forbidden. At this level, the analysis is already formidably vertiginous, revealing the deep and contradictory thought of the one who writes it: the so-called democratic places are not democratic places. The same could be said of the Vivid if we analyze who his bosses are, and it is probably by an unconscious game that the journalist admits what he can and cannot do by mapping the places that tolerate « real questions » from the others that refuse them. Soon an « app on GPS »? Here « yes », there « no »…

The hat(4) which follows the title maintains the confusion, written by a journalist who tries, again and again, to drown the basic question in formless intellectual elucubrations which resemble above all, if one stops there, justifications:  » There isno diploma more reliable than the one you give yourself, he presented himself as « a journalist who asks real questions« The questions he asked the Kairos Presse colleague, who enlivened Sophie Wilmès’ press conference on Wednesday, April 15, had their reasons . Wow! They  » had their reasons « , therefore, but in front of a public of millions of people confined to wait for information in front of their television and radio, it was not the place: the right information has its reasons (and its agreed places) that the reason ignores. But this conference is the place for what then? Journalistic contempt if there is any, note that this remark indicates that my question will just  » brighten up  » the press conference, meaning that without it the atmosphere would have remained sad and solemn. For this journalist, it is a way to brighten up, for others it is a way to  » create discomfort « (5), it is a way to ask an « inappropriate question » or it is a way to  » conspiracy theory « (6). In any case, we are useless.

The rest of the article is a litany of what was said in the question of April 15 and to which the Vif invariably responds with the fallacy that what I have said is so true that it proves it has already been said, and therefore I am just talking about something that everyone else is talking about. We are going in circles. Excerpts: » On the democratic legitimacy of a government composed in exceptional circumstances, it is a real question(7). So true and so taboo that if the journalist who asks real questions and self-evaluates (sic) its competence could notice it, it is that the newspapers, the politicians, the parliaments, the jurists and the political scientists speak only about it since one month and half . (…) On Marc Van Ranst, who was allegedly paid by the multinational GSK in 2009, this is a real question. So true (…) as Le Soir revealed ten years ago, when Marc Van Ranst was already helping to ward off a global pandemic; sor Philippe De Backer, who worked from 2009 to 2011 at Vesalius Biocapital, this is a real question. (…) So true that Philippe De Backer says so himself on his public LinkedIn profile « .

Fame and buzz: the junk of the  mainstream

So accustomed to editorial individualism where one seeks glory and buzz for oneself, the journalist who signs the article does not understand that the question asked had a completely different objective than that of obtaining a frank and sensitive answer from the Prime Minister: 

 » « What political legitimacy is there to make these kinds of decisions when most of the members who decide and think are part of the multinationals and finance? » he asked and, of course, he thought Sophie Wilmès would answer « none, you are right, I am an unconscious cog of financialized capitalism, you have convinced me and here is my resignation« and force Elio Di Rupo, Rudi Vervoort, Jan Jambon, Pierre-Yves Jeholet and Oliver Paasch, who were next to her, to resign and start crying too, because he is a journalist who asks real questions and knows what he is talking about, the Kairos Press ».

But no, my dear, what I was hoping to do by asking this question was to inform the citizens, who were listening in large numbers, of what was going on in the corridors of power and who, even if they knew it deep down (as you surely do), were waiting for this question to be asked (unlike you). What I wanted was to deflate the balloon, to break the show and the illusion that those who govern us represent us and are at our service. I obviously did not expect Sophie Wilmès to admit that she is  » I don’t expect you to admit in public that the owners of the newspaper you work for are « an unconscious cog in financialized capitalism « , Le Vif, are a  » I would ask you the question in public, even if I know that you will not answer, or will try in vain to justify yourself. This is probably a fantasy of a journalism student, which pursues you: to make someone say what he doesn’t want to say… just choose the right place.

Wilmes’ non-answer, the paucity of her words, was enough to reveal who she was, what she did, who she served. And this is what constitutes « the moment » and marks extraordinarily what should only be normal: asking a question about the private interests of those who are supposed to make decisions for millions of people. But when the abnormal dominates, the normal seems fantastic and heroic.

You forget that one of the main functions of my intervention was to say out loud what everyone sees, and to announce:  » The king is naked « :

 » While the king walked proudly in the procession under his magnificent canopy, all the men in the street and in the windows cried out, ‘What a superb costume! What a drag! What a cut! No one wanted to let it be known that he could not see anything, otherwise he would be considered stupid or incapable. Never had the king’s clothes excited such admiration. « But it seems to me that he has no clothes at all, » observed a little child. « Good heavens! Listen to the voice of innocence!« said the father. And soon there were whispers in the crowd repeating the child’s words. « There is a little child who says that the king is naked! » He has no clothes at all!« The king was extremely ashamed of this, for he understood that it was true. The king was extremely ashamed of this, for he understood that it was true. However, he reasoned with himself and made his resolution: « In any case, I must stay until the end! ». Then he stood up even more proudly, and the chamberlains continued to wear the non-existent train with respect « (8).

Wilmes’ non-answer, the paucity of her words, was enough to reveal who she was, what she did, who she served

By attributing these kinds of ingenuous expectations to me, as if I were expecting  » confessions « , « of You are putting your own functioning at a distance: that of a journalist who makes his job an individual relationship to information, who looks for the « real answers ». whoblends in with the others and accepts to adapt his or her  » real questions  » to good places « , and its « good This is the only way to avoid « false questions  » at other ad hoc venues such as press conferences. All this while subconsciously « knowing » that if you had allowed yourself to ask the question I asked on April 15 in the middle of a press conference, a C4 was waiting for you when you returned to the office.

You have thus made your adaptation to the reality principle the result of an individual choice, whereas it is only the proof of a submission and a censorship. Aldous Huxley understood it perfectly:  » And there, » said the Director sententiously, by way of contribution to this presentation, « is the secret of happiness and virtue, to love what one is obliged to do. This is the purpose of all conditioning: to make people like the social destination from which they cannot escape « (9). The best of all worlds

You forget that one of the main functions of my intervention was to say out loud what everyone sees, and to announce:  » The king is naked « .

So you do the journalism that you are obliged to do, but to forget this submission(10), you make it a principle, substituting your submission in freedom. This conditioning is so effective that it allows you to peremptorily state the « free speech zones » where one could debate openly and where censorship would be non-existent:  » Perhaps that is why journalists who ask real questions ask them elsewhere, where they can get real answers, where they can contradict the respondents, where they can get clarification from the powerful . In one place, silence, the language of wood, the spectacle, in another, the critical spirit, the opening, the frankness. One can recognize the deep dissonance of journalists who work for newspapers whose owners expect their employees to be self-limiting(11). But we leave journalism here, to enter the field of clinical and social psychology…

A small inter-society very harmful to the common good

You maintain your own certainties: for reality to be, it is enough to pronounce performative statements that are content with themselves. What you don’t say, and which contradicts your sophisms, is that the mass media only talk about what is disturbing when they are « obliged » to do so, when the media coverage outside their sphere reaches proportions that are too important for them to remain silent. This has been the case since April 15 and my « inappropriate question ». This is not yet the case, however, and it will probably not be the case for the censorship of Financité(12), which was not relayed by any media, only the RTBF being content to make a brief on the net.

All the arrogance of a profession that considers itself to be the best in the world. is the only one able to represent for us the real, feels in the conclusion of the article:  » Without Maybe that’s why when they can’t have any, of response from the powerful, journalists who ask questions must be real questions, to oppose material evidence to silence or to the tongue in cheek. It’s more difficult than letting yourself be filmed after went for a walk on LinkedIn, but no less rewarding than a decoration that you would pin on your own chest « .

So for more than 8 years our journalism has consisted of  » doing tricks on Linkedln « , evoking the nuclear scandal, electromagnetic waves, structural misery, pesticides, inequality in education and everywhere else, the yellow vests, the big harmful and imposed projects, the collusion of politics and the private sector, the Kazakhgate, the Libyan funds, etc., of which you have never spoken (which was not expected by the way). 

We know it now, Linkedln is a mine of information, no need to do journalism anymore. Everything has been said, everything will be said.

Isn’t it a deep contempt for the people when we see the thousands of positive reactions after my question of April 15, to come and tell them tacitly that all this existed before and that they have no reason to be happy that we are finally asking the questions which, perhaps disturb, but above all interest them?

Notes et références
  2. Qui par ailleurs ne cite jamais mon nom dans son article, ce qui n’est pas anodin.
  3. Cf. Réponse de Sophie Wilmès à la question du 15 avril en conférence de presse. Voir
  4. Terme que nous préférons, mais qui s’écrit plutôt chapô dans le milieu journalistique, et qui désigne un texte court précédent un article.
  7. Point que je n’ai d’ailleurs pas soulevé, puisque je n’évoquais pas « la légitimité démocratique d’un gouvernement composé dans des circonstances exceptionnelles », ce qui relève de ses propos, mais la légitimité d’un gouvernement qui mélange ses intérêts avec ceux du privé… L’auteur se justifie à nouveau, se défendant contre une attaque inexistante (processus de défense propre à une forme de culpabilité, connu en psychologie sociale).
  8. Hans Christen Andersen, Les habits neufs de l’empereur, 1837.
  9. Aldous Huxley, Le meilleur des mondes, Plon, 1932, p. 40.
  10. Pour autant qu’il y ait soumission, car le passage formatif dans les écoles de journalisme et la dimension de classe spécifique aux étudiants, ne nécessitent souvent aucune soumission, la correspondance entre ce qu’ils sont et ce qu’on attend d’eux étant le plus souvent parfaite.
  11. Nous évoquerons vos patrons dans un prochain article, que vous relayerez très certainement dans les endroits autorisés, on n’en doute pas.

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