So, today, La Première, NRJ, DH Radio; Le Soir, La Libre, La Dernière Heure; RTL-TVI, Plug RTL, RTBF? What does it matter? Underneath the illusory freedom to choose your « media » lies the fact that all the options you can make come down to the same thing, despite the few visible differences in form and content. Because behind apparent differences, all propagate the same and unique version of the world, remain confined within the same possibilities, delimiting the impossible as soon as the tacit limits are crossed.
To see, read and hear them, there would never be anything to change fundamentally in the world as it is: destruction of nature caused by our lifestyles, over-investment in productive work, denial of the suffering it generates and absence of reflection on the meaning, misery and inequalities, stigmatization of unemployment that employment inevitably generates, absence of questioning of the all-technological, etc. « In the eyes of most journalists, the « modern » world is inherently good (…) nothing negative (exploitation, oppression, massive unemployment, wars, waste of human and natural resources, etc.) is really attributable to the very essence of capitalism »(1). There would seem to be a total absence of questioning of the religion of growth and the hyper-consumerism that it requires. It would be enough just to palliate — which comes from the Latin « to cover with a coat »! — the evils that the system engenders.
Why, when you decide to buy La Libre rather than Le Soir, to watch RTBF rather than RTL, are you basically not free to choose? Rather than seeing these different media as a kind of undifferentiated caste of malicious journalists, it is more useful to look at the ownership of these media(2), the sociological composition of their editorial staff and the advertising medium they represent. From this point on, the identical imprint of the same ideology can be seen in all the editorial offices: that of the market as king and consumption as a model of society.
1. MEDIA GROUPS: SMILE, YOU ARE SURROUNDED!
Why should the mass media provide us with the tools to understand this world, if the risk for them is that their undue advantages and privileged position will disappear? It would be like cutting off the branch on which they are sitting. Let’s say it then: these media groups cannot tolerate the transition to a decent society!
The Belgian media — and among them the three daily newspapers La Libre, Le Soir and La DH — are concentrated in several large groups that also own radio stations, television channels, websites, distributors, production companies and are directly linked to banks, press agencies, various multinationals, and indirectly to ultraliberal think tanks and business lobbies. We will only detail three of them: IPM, Corelio and Rossel.
1. IPM is 100% owned by the Maja Group (3), itself wholly owned by the Compagnie de Développement des Médias, owned by the Le Hodey family, of which Axel Miller, former chairman of Dexia and current boss of D’Ieteren, is chairman of the board. IPM SA owns two newspapers, La Libre Belgique and La Dernière Heure/Les Sports, as well as their regional editions and websites. The group holds 50% of the shares of Libre Match, the remaining 50% of which are owned by the Lagardère group via its subsidiary Hachette Livre. IPM still owns 29% of Audiopresse, which itself owns 34% of the shares of RTL Belgium (RTL-TVI, Club TTL, Plug RTL), RTL Belgium itself is 66% owned by the Luxembourg-based RTL Group, itself a Luxembourg media conglomerate created in 2000 by the merger of the CLT-UFA and the British production company Pearson TV. Audiopresse is also a holding company owned by the publishers of the Belgian French-language daily press and manages a stake in the RTL Belgium group. IPM still owns 13% of the Belgapress agency; 99.8% of Twizz radio(DH Radio); 52% of Médiascap, which has indirect holdings in SARL Libération, which publishes the Libération newspaper. IPM is also a 50% shareholder in Courrier International EBL, which publishes the Belgian Courrier International, which is itself owned by Courrier International France.
In 2008, IPM had 26% of the television market share and in 2013, 21.73% of the press market share.
2. Corelio is a press group whose shareholders are Mediacore, Cecan, Krantenfonds, From Eik, Vedesta (4). Corelio owns 62% of Mediahuis (DeStandaard, Het nieuwsblad, Het belang van Limburg), Médiahuis — which holds 19.5% of Belga — which is 38% owned by Concentra. Corelio also holds 29.2% of the shares of Audiopresse. Corelio also owns 100% of CorelioPublishingwhich owns 25% of De vijver media which itself is owned by Telenet (50%) and Waterman and Waterman… (we stop here for Corelio Publishing, see footnote 4). Corelio also owns 50% of the shares of Nostalgie, which is owned by Radio Nostalgie France, which is itself 100% owned by the NRJ Group, to which NRJ France and NRJ Belgium belong. Nostalgie also owns 50% of the shares of Flemish Radio Nostalgie, the other half of which is held by IPM.
The president of Corelio is Thomas Leysen. The latter was president of the FEB (Federation of Enterprises in Belgium, an employers’ lobby), is currently president ofUmicore, a group « specialized in materials technology », and president of the KBC. He is also a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists(5), a powerful lobby of the largest European companies.
In 2008, Corelio had a 10% market share in radio and 26% in television.
3. The Rossel Group (6). Its president, Bernard Marchant, is a former tax advisor for Arthur Andersen, one of the « Big Five » companies whose reputation is more linked to the Enron scandal, for which it carried out audits, than as a newspaper publisher. He was vice-president Europe of the Olivetti IT group and later general manager of Beckaert, the world leader in metal), and before joining Rossel, he was CEO of the French group 9Telecom.
The Rossel Group (Le Soir, Le Soir Magazine), has Sud Presse (100%, these are regional editions), Éditions Urbaines (99.5%, Vlan), Imprimerie des éditeurs(99.95%), the latter owning 49% of Mass Transit Media (Métro), the remaining 51% of which is owned by Concentra. Rossel still owns 24.9% of Radio H, owner of Cobelfra(Radio Contact, Mint) and Inadi(Bel RTL); Radio H is also owned (17.54%) by RTL Belgium .Audiopresse, which holds 34% of the latter, is also owned by Rossel (29.34%). Finally, Rossel owns 50% of Mediafin(L’Echo) and 50% of Grenz-Echo (Grenz-Echo), two structures to which Holding Echos belongs.
In 2008, Rossel had a 26% market share in television and, in 2013, 21.73% in press.
That leaves: — Groupe Roularta(7) which publishes Le Vif/L’express, Bizz, Data News, Knack, Sport Foot Magazine, Trends-Tendance, trends.be, le Vlan, RTVM, Canal Z, Télépro;
- De Persgroep: Het Laaste Nieuws, 7sur7.be, De Morgen, De Tijd, L’Echo, Tv familie, Humo, Story, VTM, 2BE, Joe FM, Vacature.com, Regiojobs.be, Autotrack.nl, all boxes, a telecom operator (Jim Mobile), etc.
Concentration in the « free » media: don’t see any private interest!
The existence of three groups gives, a priori, the illusion of a separation which hides the interpenetrations, where IPM has, via La Libre Match (Paris Match Belgium), links with the French group Lagardère but also maintains, via Audiopresse, a consanguinity with the Rossel Group (which publishes Le Soir in particular) which also partly owns RTL Belgium. A strange proximity to the Luxembourg tax haven (headquarters of RTL-Group), which Corélio can also boast. Through their participation in Audiopresse (29% for IPM, 29.2% for Corelio, 29.34% for Rossel, i.e. more than 87% in total), the three groups own 34% of RTL Belgium (RTL-TVI, Club RTL and Plug RTL), i.e. more than one third. It would therefore not be too much for the journalists of the DH, Le Soir or La Libre in particular, to say anything bad about the private channel: cross-interests oblige! It is not more likely that they start to clarify for their readers the structures to which they belong. These cross-shareholdings are also an opportunity to meet each other, an opportunity to increase investments in the future.
The media field is thus perfectly included in the wider economic field whose first rule is that of profit growth, the one and only religion. In this case, it is impossible to give oneself the time needed to process the information objectively. The reference shareholders clearly have an interest in the status quo because oftheir wealth and strategic position in key institutions of the company » (8).
2. SOCIOLOGICAL COMPOSITION OF THE EDITORIAL STAFF
How, in view of their structure and functioning, could the dominant media not favor the word of the powerful to the detriment of the popular masses? It goes without saying that if Bernard Marchant, the big boss of Rossel who owns Le Soir, finds that « the preparation to management in the training of journalists is insufficient », he will not, like the other press bosses, seek at all costs to hire journalists who do a real job to inform their readers in the most objective way(9). For Marchant and the logic of management, in the configuration of a media, the reader/listener/spectator is a product that must be made available/sold to his client, the advertiser, so that he consumes what is being touted in the advertisement. The newspaper/television/radio serves as a presentation medium for the advertisements, and thus as a means of bringing the subject into contact with the advertisement.
But the selection of journalists is more subtle than that and does not require a facial check at the entrance to the job interview offices. It is already taking place in the places of training, the school having in addition operated its social sorting during the first 15 years of teaching. François Ruffin, a student at France’s renowned journalism training center, explains: « Among us, no child of a laborer, of a railway worker, of a cashier. Neither Black nor Beur of the « no-go zones » (…) A social compartmentalization that is further reinforced by claustration: we live among ourselves. We discuss with the press bosses and other executives ».(10)which often gives rise in the treatment of reports to a « banal class racism »(11), « Under our feathers, no questioning of the order — school, financial, judicial,… -established… which has, it is true, served us well until now ».(12)
Journalists are therefore very far from the working world and they quickly understand that in their career perspective, too much stirring in reality foreshadows future trouble and is therefore not promising in terms of « career plan ». Those who « succeed » are therefore those who endorse the state of the world, relaying the neo-liberal doxa under the guise of a neutral and objective treatment — without ever admitting that they participate in this doxa. There is no shortage of examples. On October 20, 2015, Beatrice Delvaux wrote in her editorial « A dangerous bet », interpreting the union actions in Liege and on the railways: « The union leaders (…) evoke « isolated actions », nourished by the growing discontent of the workers in front of the accumulation of « antisocial » measures of the government. Marc Goblet [NDLR secrétaire général de la FGTB] yesterday refused to condemn these actions, blaming the federal government’s policies for starting the fire. This obviously corresponds to a feeling ».. The reactions of the workers to the governmental measures would be just a « feeling », a subjective state in which there would be no really objective basis; claims of spoiled children therefore, according to the media. Trade unionists would only have the right to express themselves calmly during planned and authorized demonstrations. Or during « social consultations », a term that gives the illusion of an equity of the protagonists who have become « partners », a mirage of a non-existent equality that eludes all the symbolic and material power of capitalism (and therefore also the position that the media occupy in this structure). If the protesters go too far, they will play into the hands of those they oppose, the journalist never perceiving that it is he who arbitrarily sets the limits that must not be exceeded. And this game, for which he makes the rules, seems to suit him well.
This reminds us of the interview of Xavier Mathieu, CGT-Continental union delegate, by David Pujadas on the France 2 television news. The journalist, after the employees had demonstrated their anger at the court’s decision to reject their request to cancel the closure of their company, questions him:
David Pujadas: « Good evening Xavier Mathieu, you are the CGT delegate of Continental in Clairoix. Of course we understand your distress, but isn’t this going too far? Do you regret this violence? »
Xavier Mathieu: « You must be joking? We don’t regret anything… »
David Pujadas: « I’m asking you the question. »
Xavier Mathieu: « … No, no, wait. What do you want us to regret? What? A few broken windows, a few computers next to the thousands of broken lives? What does that represent? We must stop here, we must stop. »
David Pujadas: « For you the end justifies the means. »
Xavier Mathieu: « Wait, « the end » … We’re 28 days out, sir. We are being told that in 28 days [images de saccage reprises en parallèle] the social plan will be completed and we will be out on the street. Yes, yes, I don’t regret anything. Nobody regrets anything here because you saw, you didn’t see thugs, you saw angry people, determined people, people who don’t want to go and be dismantled, to die. We don’t want to die. We will go to the end of our fight. We lasted five weeks. For five weeks I succeeded, we retained, we managed to retain people. It’s over, people don’t want it anymore. The government made promises to us. He has committed to convene a tripartite from the beginning, within three days. This has been going on for a week. Since then we realize… »
David Pujadas: « Xavier Mathieu, we hear your anger, but are you making a call for calm tonight? »
Xavier Mathieu: « I’m not calling anything. I don’t have a call for calm. People are angry and anger must be expressed. There is a proverb from the last demonstrations that says ‘he who sows misery reaps anger’. This is what they have today. There are more than 1,000 families who are going to be on the street, who are going to die in 23 months with nothing left, who are going to be forced to sell their homes. You all have to understand that. We don’t want to die… »(13).
Even if this unconditional defense of employment, a leitmotiv that runs through the entire political spectrum, is completely contradictory to a project of global change of society that would include the social and ecological dimensions, we must denounce the political and media violence and show who it serves. And it is during riots and unusual anger of the masses that the class contempt of the journalists manifests itself all the more violently, sensing without doubt that they have the assent of a part of the population that all year long they set against the other. Journalists have this class reflex all the more easily because they come, in their great majority, from the middle classes, torn between the upper classes and the working classes, always in an ambivalence, an in-between, « in the sense that the upper classes as well as the working classes are at the same time and contradictorily the object of a form of fascination and of a form of repulsion »(14). Caught in this in-between situation, they often stigmatize social movements and relay the appeals for calm made by employers’ organizations.
Prolos, shut up! Watch The Voice and turn off your voices!
Quite naturally then, « if we have to talk to the barakis, we will talk to the barakis« It is much better for the advertisers and their clients if the barakis keep their socio-economic position (so that the advertisers and their clients keep theirs as well…), or in other words, if ignorance and poverty remain: it makes for better buyers! These words from RTBF news chief Jean-Pierre Jacqmin speak volumes about the primary role he gives to public media. Some journalists have understood this: « We are clearly asked to lower the level for the sake of ratings »(15). Indeed, « advertisers will be more likely to avoid programs that are too complicated or controversial, and that may reduce the audience’s ‘available brain time’.(16). They are looking for light entertainment, which corresponds to the primary function of the programs: to spread the message of the vendors(17) ». When will the next season of Plus belle la viebe released? Quickly enough, so that it does not occur to the barakis to make life really more beautiful… In the meantime, Beatrice has sharpened her pen and learned to accept fatality (December 2011 strikes: « The strikes, understandable, will not change anything to the reality and the cruelty of this crisis »), to play the ones against the others for the greatest interest of the employers (« The country at a standstill until Christmas »; « The hell of the travelers has begun »), creating the spectacular that divides (« The strike causes the second most congested rush hour of 2015 », Le soir, 20/10/2015, 1st article on the site’s page in the afternoon just as on the La Libre site the same day:« Rail strike: 2nd most congested rush hour of 2015 »), and emphasizing what can divide rather than what should unite the struggle: This Monday morning, this umpteenth disruption in train traffic was enough to irritate commuters whose rail journey often resembles an obstacle course. If you add to this rotating strikes — which mean that you don’t take for one day but for several given the smallness and interconnection of the territoryBelgian -, there is enough to displease the most empathetic » (Le Soir, editorial of 20/10/2015).
During this time, we must continue to make believe — helped by an agency of com’ — that we are a « free media » detached from any mercantile interest(18) and that with its reading « I see it clear » (Formidable oxymoron! Clair le Soir…). But when you do what you don’t say — defending the interests of the wealthy — you have to pretend that you do what you don’t do — offering the reader objective information — and sell the illusion in the form you are most used to: the advertising slogan. Thus, Le Soir, via the advertising agency Air, is running its « campaign »: « Le Soir, je lis donc j’agis! Didier Hamann, editorial director of Le Soir, explains: « We want Le Soir to evolve towards a more civic-minded positioning. We don’t just want (Sic) inform. We also want to give people the necessary keys to act. (…) We are convinced that our readers no longer want to be passive and we hope that by reading us they will want to act. » It almost sounds like the manifesto of a new revolutionary party. However, the editorial director quickly returns to the basics: « Today, when they consume, people are looking for brands that display strong values in line with who they are and what they believe in. Values, ok, but if possible « when consuming ».(…preferably the products advertised in Le Soir ). The mass is said. Pretending to promulgate strategic advice to unionists, they basically point out that they should not exceed the limits that the media define, enact, and respect: « That workers reject measures that they consider unequal and therefore unacceptable is understandable and legitimate, but unions should be wary of creating the opposite of what they seek. » (…) « this blockade of the highway — unannounced for the time being -, is not the kind to consolidate the popularity of the union movement » (Le Soir, 20/10/2015). It is the trade unionists who would be the cause of their own unpopularity, never the media… So you can act, but not too much, as the watchdogs think it’s best if you « show your strong values » at the supermarket checkout, but don’t forget to take out the card. In the ranks comrades! « Every citizen has the right to express disapproval of political decisions. However, the way the protests were « organized » on Monday is truly outrageous. » (La Libre editorial, 10/20/2015). Not all are condemned in the same way, like the National Lottery, sold on all media, and which invites us to become « scandalously rich »…
In this context, do not expect pages that would explain and legitimize the anger of the people. As stated by Acrimed (critical observatory of French media), « this media bias in favor of the possessing classes and the institutions they dominate goes through the occultation of these struggles themselves, and through the explicit stigmatization of the working classes when they have the bad taste to rebel ».(19).This lack of perspective feeds misunderstanding and hatred of the other — which in turn feeds the front pages of the media!
3. ADVERTISING AND ITS NECESSITY
As long as Bernard Marchant and others have « awareness of the importance of the role of advertising in our society and in particular for our respective professions« The reader will be considered as a product that the newspaper puts in contact with the advertiser who is its client, the information and the concern for its quality having little importance with regard to this main objective(20).
This is a marketing principle that the Belgian media company that « commercializes spaces on RTBF 1 and 2 (in particular) » knows well, applying with zeal the methods of neuromarketing: « Aim for the small one. Prepare your target. Mark it on the forehead as soon as possible. Only the child learns well (…) Cigarette and soft drinks manufacturers know that the earlier the child tastes, the more addicted he will be. Neuroscience has taught companies the ideal ages at which a given learning occurs most easily. ».(21)
One could expect the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), which is supposed to regulate the media of the Walloon-Brussels Federation, to fight against all this. Coming from political parties or even from the world of advertising, the composition of its members instils a certain doubt as to its possible impartiality. Sandrine Sepul, for example, member of the authorization and control college of the CSA, is none other than the director of the Conseil de la Publicité, « composed and financed by the professional associations of the three partners of the advertising communication which are the advertisers, the communication agencies and the various advertising media »(22). Hm! Conflict of interest? But no… would you be conspiratorial to think like that?
The particular case of RTBF: thrown into the arena of competition
What about RTBF then, until now — still — a public channel(23)? Caught in a competitive environment, managed by managers, instrumentalized by political parties, subjected to the diktat of figures and ratings, colonized by the advertising ideas of the RMB (Belgian media company), all that remains for RTBF to do is to be like the others.
It is therefore difficult not to link it to the same logic of numbers, since it formats its programs on RTL-TVI — not to mention the competition with the French channels(24) — and has its eyes riveted on the ratings results, a true religion, of its private neighbor. And it must be said that at this level, our government of the French Community at the time, has done a famous service to RTL-TVI, and thus seriously disadvantaged the public channel it is supposed to protect. RTL Group, based in the tax haven of Luxembourg, owns RTL-TVI, whose premises are physically located in Brussels. First channel of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, but Luxembourgish! thanks to a legal arrangement accepted by the Minister of Culture at the time Fadila Laanan who had signed a cooperation protocol with Luxembourg. What does this change? Well! it is that Luxembourg is, how to say?… a little like its tax policy, less watchful in terms of advertising. So the channel does not have to comply with Belgian advertising rules, despite its national broadcasting(25)…
The RMB, a « multi-media » advertising agency, does not complain about this, as it markets the RTBF’s advertising space, but does the same for NRJ, La Première, Pure, Be TV, AB3, the websites of My Tf1, the DH, the Libre… conformity in the illusion of plurality. And this plurality, the CSA, which is supposed to protect us by controlling the quality of the media, plays it admirably. A large group whose members come from the various bodies described above, the pages of their website presenting the various media groups (IPM, Rossel, Corelio, etc.) are not included in the misleading heading « The media offer and pluralism in the French Community ». In view of their same membership in private organizations, we do not see any plurality, unless they define it as a diversification of instances independently of their owners who mix and share the same interest and ideology. As Alain Accardo says, « The existence of a basic consensus does not exclude, on the contrary, a certain pluralism of opinion (which the press reviews stage by giving it more reality than it has(…)this diversity does not prevent the bourgeoisies, small and large, new and traditional — within which journalists today collectively, as a professional body, occupy a position of strength — from sharing a common will to preserve the existing order ».(26)
In the meantime, in order to meet its obligations as a public channel, it will make do as it can, for example by creating RTBF3, a medium that will allow it to fulfil its function of permanent education, but which is the object of a profound lack of interest on the part of the public channel’s « managers.
4. WHO ARE THE REAL BOSSES OF JOURNALISTS?
The media groups we have described above are owned by some of the wealthiest families. A small classification(27)?
The de Nolf family and the Claeys family (Roularta): € 134,913,000 and € 58,960,000 (116th and 240th Belgian fortunes)
Family Van Thillo (De Persgroep): € 1.066.410.000 (18)
Hurbain family (Rossel): € 155,707,000 (100)
Family Thomas Leysen (Corelio): € 45,564,000 (308)
Baert family (Concentra : € 45.800.000 (305)
Elizabeth Mohn (vice-president of Bertelsmann group, which owns RTL-group): 3.5 billion dollars(28)
Concerning IPM owned by the Le Hodey family, we did not find any information on the wealth level of the owners. However, we do know that Axel Miller, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Maja Group (owner of IPM), was earning about 170,000 euros per month at Dexia at the time(29).
Therefore, will you still be surprised by certain editorials, such as the one in La Libre of January 06, 2014, following a visit organized by the unions in Brussels to show the places where the tax-protected big fortunes live, an editorial in which the journalist wrote: « On the eve of the weekend, the trade union leaders went on a « safari » in Brussels, a mini-trip intended to point out the « protected tax species » of Brussels. Fun? Rather distressing…(…) the systematic stigmatization of the « rich », as practiced by the unions, is deplorable. So what, you just have to be poor to be honest…? A country needs rich people. To invest, to take risks. The system should ensure that the wealthy, and others, have an incentive to invest their money in the real economy of the country rather than seeking high returns elsewhere. It is not the rich who are responsible for the crisis, but the sorcerers’ apprentices who took advantage of the flaws in the system to make it go off the rails ». […]
Certainly! we are not going to bite the hand that feeds us although, in any case, the sociological analyses of the journalistic field and a relative knowledge of the psychological defense mechanisms, allow to understand that in most cases, they would not even think about it.
And it all adds up. Béatrice Delvaux, chief editorialist of Le Soir, former intern at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who postfaced the book on Albert Frère (Belgium’s largest fortune and among the world’s largest fortunes) « Albert Frère. The nail merchant’s son »( Brussels, Lefrancq, 1998), noted in the book, it is necessary to promote the « construction of a strong and conquering capitalism (sic), allowing to ensure the durability of companies that keep their decision center in the country ». Amen!
This propaganda, repeated daily, is more effective than coercion. Sometimes pretending to disturb with some reports and so-called subversive programs that are only there to create consensus: more rich, more poor, more classes! Just individuals driven by interests and crossed by diverse opinions. They never radically question the problem, never offer explanations that would make it possible to understand the state of the world; they never explain what motivates the anger of the people. Already, during the Seattle riots, Beatrice Delvaux, the current editor-in-chief of Le Soir, taught us to think in the right way: « the radical ‘no’ to globalization is untenable in a world where the consumer makes daily gestures that take companies beyond their borders ». And if you didn’t understand: « the market remains the most efficient way of organizing economic life — not least because all the others have shown their limits ». It was December 2, 1999(30).
TO CONCLUDE, AND TO OUTLINE THE DEFINITION OF WHAT IS A REAL MEDIA(31)
What can we conclude from all this? Those who own the media, who are supposed to make the world clearer to us, to bring what is far away, to help us understand, to make us experience what is not directly accessible by our senses, are in fact lackeys of power, administrators of banks and big car brands; members of ultra-liberal and powerful Think Tanks, of employers’ federations, from big families, the possession of the main media assures them a control of thought under the false pretence of a plurality of surface.
The reality presented to us by the media is therefore a pure fabrication that is supposed to protect them as well as possible. « It can be said that the media representation of the world, as it is fabricated daily by journalists, does not show what reality actually is but what the ruling and possessing classes believe it is, wish it to be or fear it will become. In other words, the media and their personnel are nothing more than the more or less willing and zealous instruments that the dominant class needs to ensure its hegemony. As such, these instruments must be dismantled and fought vigorously and relentlessly — something that the organizations of the institutional left, which have renounced class criticism and are always ready to make a pact with the enemy in the name of republican decorum, political realism and the need to exist in the media, unfortunately do not do. »(32).
I would add that even among those who do not pact with the enemy, there is, in a world where the image has become so important, a continuous quest for the « media moment ». Those who aspire to another society sometimes see their salvation only in terms of visibility in the mass media. Yet these are in complete opposition to the aspirations of those seeking a decent society. Thinking they have gained a minute on the front page, they are in fact the big losers(33).
It is necessary to dismantle and fight these perennial and deleterious anti-democratic organs, while creating other media that will serve as a support for the defense of the truth and the voice of the people. Without this, we must believe that the struggles will not lead to anything consistent… « a mass movement deprived of any media support and having to fight against a resolutely hostile press is, to say the least, handicapped… » (34) .
Looking for what they represent is a huge waste of time. With such structures, the mass media cannot elucidate the mechanisms of exclusion and bring about real change through critical thinking. We can see that these media, which try to pass themselves off as simple witnesses describing a reality, create it from scratch: by choosing to omit a piece of information, to focus their attention on a fact, they elaborate a media representation of the world which is only its appearance. Thinking the world in a distorted way, we cannot act, contrary to what their slogans say.
We can wait for them to change. Or make our own media live. It is up to us to choose.
In our opinion, a real news medium should be distinguished by different criteria:
- not to depend on structures that use the media as an ideological instrument to serve their interests, as shown above;
- not be funded by advertising, even by non-commercial organizations such as NGOs;
- not to cohabit peacefully next to the dominant press, but to try to make a radical criticism of it and to expose its functioning;
- to be radical in its approach to the facts, i.e. to take the problems at their root;
- to search for the truth, to come as close as possible to the objective treatment of the information, without depriving themselves of certain subjects under the false pretext of anticipating the reaction of the readers (specious argument which hides the fact that it is rather the reaction of the shareholders and the advertisers that the editors anticipate).
- Exceptée la RTBF, publique. Voir ci-dessous « Le cas particulier de la RTBF : jetée dans l’arène de la concurrence ». Nous avions en outre déjà esquissé dans un précédent article (« Les conditions obligées d’une presse libre », Kairos, février-mars 2014), le sujet de l’industrie de la presse, que nous développons plus amplement ici.
- Alain Accardo, « Journalistes précaires, journalistes au quotidien », Editions Agone, 2007, p.64.
- Propriétés établies au 1er juin 2015, http://www.csa.be/pluralisme/groupes/show/3_groupe_ipm
- Propriétés établies au 1er juin 2015, http://www.csa.be/pluralisme/groupes/7
- Fondée par le Vicomte Etienne Davignon, l’ERT (European Round Table) est considéré comme l’organe de pression par excellence au niveau européen. Il est à l’origine du marché unique européen et de l’euro. Lobby extrêmement puissant rassemblant les plus grandes multinationales européennes, ce n’est pas un secret qu’il est en première ligne dans l’influence ou l’initiative directe de projets de l’Union européenne, dont il rencontre la présidence tous les 6 mois. Voir « Tous pouvoirs confondus », Geoffrey Geuens, Editions EPO, 2003.
- Chomsky Noam & Edward Herman, « La fabrication du consentement », Editions Agone, 2008, p.38.
- Sur cette question de l’objectivité et de la vérité — termes que l’intelligentsia bien-pensante voudrait bannir du discours -, qui devenait très présente dans la pensée d’Orwell avant son oeuvre majeure 1984, il écrit : « J’ai vu, en fait, l’histoire s’écrire non pas en fonction de ce qui s’était passé mais en fonction de ce qui aurait dû se passer selon les diverses « lignes de parti ». (…) Ce genre de choses m’effraie, car cela me donne souvent le sentiment que la notion même de vérité objective est en train de disparaître de notre monde. Après tout, le risque est grand que ces mensonges, ou des mensonges semblables, finissent par tenir lieu de vérités historiques. Comment sera écrite l’histoire de la guerre d’Espagne ? (…) Si le chef dit de tel ou tel événement qu’il ne s’est jamais produit – eh bien, il ne s’est jamais produit. S’il dit que deux et deux font cinq – eh bien, deux et deux font cinq ». Bernard Crick, « Orwell », Editions Flammarion, 2008, p.514.
- François Ruffin, « Les petits soldats du journalisme »,Éditions Les Arènes, p.146.
- Ibid., p.147.
- Ibid., p.149.
- Propos retranscrits sur le site d’Acrimed, www.acrimed.org. Voir également le film de Pierre Carles, « Fin de concession ».
- Alain Accardo, « Journalistes précaires, journalistes au quotidien », Ibid, p.66.
- Patrice Le Lay, ancien directeur de TF1, s’est distingué pour certaines idées qu’il avait exprimées dans un livre, particulièrement démonstratives de la réalité de la fonction que les patrons de médias attribuent à la télévision : « Il y a beaucoup de façons de parler de la télévision. Mais dans une perspective ‘business’, soyons réalistes : à la base, le métier de TF1, c’est d’aider Coca-Cola, par exemple, à vendre son produit.[…] Or pour qu’un message publicitaire soit perçu, il faut que le cerveau du téléspectateur soit disponible. Nos émissions ont pour vocation de le rendre disponible : c’est-à-dire de le divertir, de le détendre pour le préparer entre deux messages. Ce que nous vendons à Coca-Cola, c’est du temps de cerveau humain disponible.[…] Rien n’est plus difficile que d’obtenir cette disponibilité. C’est là que se trouve le changement permanent. Il faut chercher en permanence les programmes qui marchent, suivre les modes, surfer sur les tendances, dans un contexte où l’information s’accélère, se multiplie et se banalise … ». Voir Wikipedia, https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Le_Lay
- Erik Barnouw, The Sponsor, Oxford UP, 1978, p.158, cité dans « La Fabrication du consentement », Chomsky Noam & Edward Herman, Editions Agone, Ibid., 2008, p.53.
- Certaines contingences, comme les attentats contre Charlie Hebdo, sont toutefois une réelle opportunité pour cela. Voir « Nous ne sommes pas tous Charlie », Kairos février/mars 2015, et sur le site www.kairospresse.be
- Pour le dire autrement, le publicitaire paie le propriétaire du journal pour que ses lecteurs soient mis en contact avec les publicités présentées dans ses pages – et de préférence passent à l’acte d’achat ultérieurement. Le propriétaire du journal doit ainsi faire au mieux pour satisfaire son client le publicitaire, mais aussi le lecteur qui doit continuer à croire que le traitement de l’information ne subit aucune influence. Pour la citation de Bernard Marchant, voir « Quand la presse dépendante parle d’indépendance », http://www.espritcritique.be/?p=3202.
- Georges P. et al., Le neuromarketing en action. Parler et vendre au cerveau, Eyrolles, 2010, p. 46 cité dans « TV lobotomie, la vérité scientifique sur les effets de la télévision », Michel Desmurget, Max Milo Editions, Paris, 2012, p.14.
- Pour creuser la question de la chaîne publique, voir les dossiers de Kairos dans les numéros de avril/mai et juin/juillet 2012.
- Voir « La RTBF est surtout « la leur » », Kairos avril/mai 2012.
- Alain Accardo, « Journalistes précaires, journalistes au quotidien », Ibid., p.49. Cette diversification censée reflétée un pluralisme est d’ailleurs clairement battu en brèche par ceux-là mêmes qui invoquent l’argument de la diversité !: Ainsi en témoigne la réforme des radios de la RTBF qui voit Bruxelles Capitale et Fréquence Wallonie fusionner pour donner naissance à VivaCité. Radio 21 se scinder en une chaîne classic rock (Classic 21) et une chaîne musicale « jeune » (Pure FM) ; « Dans cette variété d’offres, l’atout de la radio est de toucher au moment adéquat des groupes-cibles identifiés, dont les motivations d’écoute sont claires (sic) ». L’« offre TV » est également « repositionnée » pour « améliorer la spécificité et la cohérence des chaînes » : « La Une et La deux adoptent désormais une programmation plus complémentaire », entendez « plus adaptée aux intérêts des annonceurs qui visent des secteurs auxquels s’adresser de manière spécifique». Voir « La RTBF est surtout « la leur » », Kairos avril/mai 2016.
- Voir sur le site http://derijkstebelgen.be
- Nous n’avons pas trouvé d’estimation de la fortune de la famille Le Hodey mais nous supposons qu’ils sont bien placés, n’ont certainement pas besoin de faire grève et ne risquent pas de contrôle de l’Onem…
- D’après le calcul du parachute doré de 3,9 millions d’euros qu’il aurait dû recevoir http://portfolio.lesoir.be/v/economie/parachutes_dores/Axel+Miller.jpg.html
- Appelez-le alternatif, engagé, etc. Nous pensons pour notre part de plus en plus que le terme « journal » devrait suffire.
- Alain Accardo, « Journalistes précaires, journalistes au quotidien », Ibid., p.13–14
- Il en est tout autrement pour les médias publiques pour lesquels nous considérons que nous devons encore nous battre afin de les extirper de la sphère marchande (si c’est possible).
- Chomsky Noam & Edward Herman, « La fabrication du consentement », Ibid. p.49.