You can’t force people to love EU

Posted by Hugh Barton-Smith on 16/10/10

Mathew’s great post about Mediacafé – Europe: no medium, no message?, picks up on the phrase (Mathew’s emphasis) “The production of qualitative EU coverage should be incorporated in the charters of public broadcasters and it should be supervised as well.” As Mathew sums up: “State-coerced, force-fed media should not be what Europe is about.”

An appeal for this type of intervention is all the more surprising in the context of the Pascal Decroos Foundation for Investigative Journalism. But perhaps, if the EU is involved, a different paradigm is required.

Chatting with a West African diplomat earlier on the relative value to Africa of China and Europe, I learnt that the former is more appreciated because it gets in there and provides what’s needed (obviously in return for access to raw materials), while the latter tends to wrap up its assistance in red tape and sermonising. In short, the EU ends up supporting bureaucracy instead of democracy. The Chinese are apparently prepared to deal with their African interlocutors on an egalitarian basis, making them feel like partners in the process, whereas Europeans seem to treat them as supplicants, in a manner occasionally reminiscent of missionaries bringing the gifts of Christian civilisation to savages.

What’s the link? The same holier-than-thou attitude. The sort that was on such extraordinary display in the 10:10 video that had people and sponsors running for the hills.

The striking lack of judgment in releasing this film made many people consider that the 10:10 team were evidently so full of self-importance that their take on climate change could be equally dumb.

This spoof of the caricature of global warmists as ecofascists was no doubt intended to make it obviously ridiculous. Instead it made people seriously consider that the caricature is even more accurate than they originally feared.

Perhaps the phrase “and should be supervised” is also a spoof intended to make us think the “EUSSR” idea is overblown?

4 Responses to You can’t force people to love EU »»

  1. Comment by Mathew | 2010/10/16 at 16:47:14

    Gosh, Hugh, I didn’t even know you’d started up a blog here! Running the IABC’s web2EU space not enough for you?

    You make interesting links between my post, China vs EU development aid and “SplatterGate” (!) You’re absolutely right that the idea that “journalists should do better” is part of the holier-than-thou / Superiority Complex so many Institutionalised functionnaires unknowingly suffer from.

    But I doubt the Pascal Decroos Foundation for Investigative Journalism would have enough humour to try a spoof. They look very earnest.

    As you point out in your first post here, of course, there are plenty of journalism organisations prepared to play both sides of the field and take the EU coin. Time the bloggers took serious note.

  2. Comment by Hugh Barton-Smith | 2010/10/16 at 17:26:29

    I wasn’t seriously suggesting it was a spoof. As it’s not clear exactly where the phrase originated, I’d prefer to give the Foundation the benefit of the doubt. It’s the sort of thing that slips past unnoticed even by those who write it, but when picked up, it gives us bloggers a good excuse for a rant.

  3. Comment by Mathew | 2010/10/17 at 10:09:57

    Well, we’ll see. I’ve actually heard this idea expressed several times, so I think it betrays a strand of thinking which runs deeper than a subediting slip.

    Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it on Monday. Will you?

    PS Activate the plug-in which allows people to subscribe to comments by email on a post-by-post basis. I’d have never noticed your reply if it hadn’t popped up briefly on the Blogactiv home page.

  4. Comment by Hugh Barton-Smith | 2010/10/17 at 10:16:21

    I can’t make it either. Perhaps we can rely on @Leigh_Phillips for feedback.

    Plug-in activated.


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