Monday, March 07, 2005

Update on the Al-Dura/France2 Affair

A couple of weeks ago, I asked readers who follow the French media to notify me of any uptake of the Al-Dura/France2 affair in the French media that I may have missed. As I have noted, and contrary to what one might be led to imagine by some coverage of the affair in the American medias, both old and new, the coverage in the French media has in fact been remarkably scant. Now a reader brings to my attention what is indeed a major breakthrough: namely, the February 26 broadcast of an episode dedicated to the affair [link in French] on the weekly radio program Premier Pouvoir. Premier Pouvoir [The First Power] is broadcast on France Culture, an important and influential public radio station. Mind you, it is broadcast from 8:10 to 9 am on Saturday morning (sic.). So, there will not have been a huge audience. Nonetheless, this is something. It is not too surprising that France Culture would have broken the wall of silence surrounding the affair in the major French media, since it typically presents a wider array of opinions than the French public television channels. It is even less surprising that in particular Elisabeth Lévy, the host of Premier Pouvoir, would have done so, since Ms. Lévy has long been a critic of the conformism and political correctness (or “bien-pensance”) that reigns in the French media and in French political life more generally. She has even authored a book on the subject titled “The Master Censors” [Les maîtres censeurs]. Ms. Lévy interviewed Daniel Leconte for the program. As discussed here on Trans-Int, Mr. Leconte firmly rejects the claim that Mohammed Al Dura was killed by Israeli bullets. But from what I have been able to gather from an account of the program on the site Media-Ratings [link in French], not even Ms. Lévy was willing to broach the hypothesis that the alleged shooting was staged. Unfortunately, I have not been able to confirm this for myself, since the audio clip of the program is no longer available on the Radio France site.

(Thanks Freddy!)

Update: One other detail of the Media-Ratings report caught my eye: namely, the fact that France2 refused to permit their colleagues at France Culture to view the unedited rushes of the alleged Al-Dura shooting. France Culture, nonetheless, forms part of the public Radio France group, the sister organization of the public France Television group, of which France2 forms part. By contrast, France2 did grant this privilege to the NYTimes/International Herald Tribune. This choice speaks volumes about the confidence that the France2 directors must have had in the NYT/IHT not to report on the content of the rushes in a manner that might cause them duress. As I have shown in "Seeing, but not Seeing the Rushes: The NYTimes on the Mohammed Al-Dura Affair", this confidence was amply rewarded.