This page would normally be filled with testimonials from interns or new recruits to the mainstream media. The system wanted it otherwise: fear, anxiety of precariousness, fear of conformist rejection… Yes, dear readers, we are in a free country!(1)
« The objective of the media is to attract the public not for itself but according to its purchasing power »N. Chomsky & H. Edwards, p.50
It was somewhere in Belgium on a Saturday in October. I was running a booth for Kairos, with my family. As I go to the other booths, I meet a girl who, in the course of the discussion, tells me that she has many girlfriends who teach in « big » editorial offices and that their astonishment about what happens there, what they are asked to do, is as great as their disgust. It’s just in time: I’m doing a feature on the subject in the next one! We exchanged email addresses and, as soon as I got back, I wrote to her.
Three days later, no response. Impatient, I raise.
Good evening .….….….….….….,
I may be oppressive, but have you ever been able to discuss my proposal with some of your friends?
Maybe they’ll be interested, you too for that matter: https://www. arretsurimages.net/articles/2016–05-20/EgyptAir-Le-Soirvire-a-journalist-and-fire-Facebook-id8784
Looking forward to reading you, Alexandre
Yes I contacted the two friends I was thinking of. I explained the project to them and forwarded them your email.
I hope they will contact you. They are still a little hesitant because they fear for their jobs that they have had so much trouble finding. I will see them soon, I will discuss it with them again. Thank you for the very interesting article that really raises questions.
Beautiful day to you,
Yes, I understand their fear. They should be able to speak without being recognized. In any case, if they should refuse, let them record everything they experience daily in these essays, it will certainly be useful to them one day.
Tell them that whatever they tell me, I will not publish anything without their permission.
See you soon,
First refusal. But how can we not understand them too? This awareness of what is going on inside, mixed with the impossibility of saying it publicly, will however lead to solutions which, apart from defection (see in this dossier the article « The ‘unsurpassable’ mental conflict of journalists »), will not be very pleasing as far as the prospect of exercising a critical spirit is concerned. If they choose to stay, the compromises will quickly become compromises, all the more easily because the material determinants of existence (in which debt and its necessary repayment occupy a prominent place) will force them to do so.
« Media subsidies come out of the taxpayer’s pocket so that ultimately the taxpayer pays to be indoctrinated in the interests of powerful interest groups such as those who benefit from arms contracts and other sponsors of state terrorism.N. Chomsky & H. Edwards, p.60
They may become the conformist journalists we criticize today, blind to reality and defending their status at all costs, if not their integrity. But maybe not? They are not yet those journalists who kowtow to the power, the glitter and the politicians. And this is why our highlighting of the mechanisms of reproduction is more relevant than ever. We cannot therefore be satisfied with denouncing a weakness in the other, a cowardice that would prevent him from changing jobs, shouting, refusing submission. Because if we try to highlight the mechanisms of alienation and domination of the subjects, notably those of the media, we must not fall into the easy way of making those who are the victims totally responsible. Even if we want and must still believe that there is always a margin of responsibility and therefore a possibility of individual change, the fact remains that the subject is greatly determined by his position in the social structure and that to make him entirely responsible for the effects of these mechanisms, whose effectiveness and insidiousness we know, would be to deny that an effective mechanism can have effective effects… A bit like considering that the subject could be out of influence. As Bourdieu stated, « when one does sociology, one learns that men or women have their responsibility but that they are greatly defined in their possibilities and impossibilities by the structure in which they are placed and by the position that they occupy in this structure « .(2)
« By meeting only « decision-makers », by devolving into a society of court and money, by transforming itself into a propaganda machine of market thinking, journalism has locked itself into a class and a caste »S. Halimi, p.145
There are things that are « impossible » for us, for them, for now. These « impossibles » can become possible, and one of the keys is, with certainty, that we all can denounce these mechanisms. So you have to take risks, alone if you have the courage. With several if we master the information and mediatize all those who act alone…
So long live the moles! The more we are, the stronger we will be. Come and testify, say what’s going on inside. Kairos offers you a den of expression!
Main works cited in this file:
Alain Accardo, Journalistes précaires, journalistes au quotidien, Éditions Agone, 2007
Pierre Bourdieu, Sur la télévision, Éditions Raisons d’Agir, 1996
Noam Chomsky & Edward Herman, The Manufacture of Consent, Media Propaganda in Democracy, Éditions Agone, 2008.
Serge Halimi, Les nouveaux chiens de garde, Éditions Raisons d’Agir, 2005
File produced by Alexandre Penasse
- Nous réitérons notre pratique de noircissement des mots, comme nous l’avions initiée dans le K19 pour l’interview de l’accompagnateur de train (http://www.kairospresse.be/article/le-rail-les-machines-et-la-voie-royale-vers-la-privatisation), afin de préserver l’anonymat de la personne et éviter les représailles professionnelles.
- Pierre Bourdieu, Sur la télévision, Éditions Raisons d’Agir, Paris, 1996, p.62.