Wednesday, November 09, 2005

„V USA psali, že celá Paříž hoří“

“In the USA they have written that all of Paris is burning”
- Czech daily Lidové noviny

…nervozita mezi cizinci už je cítit. „Dneska se mě dokonce jeden manželský pár Američanů zeptal, jestli je bezpečné jít se podívat k Eiffelovce. Že prý v amerických novinách četli, že celá Paříž hoří, a když jim chvíli nejelo metro, měli strach, že to je kvůli těm střetům,“ dodává číšník Džamel v kavárně Le Petit Pont ve čtvrti Saint Michel.

“…you can already feel the nervousness amongst foreigners. ‘Today an American couple actually asked me if it was safe to go and look at the Eiffel Tower. It seems that in the American papers they had read, it said that all of Paris was burning, and when the metro didn’t come for a while, they were afraid that it was because of the clashes,’ said Jamel, a waiter in Le Petit Pont café in the Saint Michel quarter.”

I hope it’s not true, that the American papers are not really reporting that all of Paris is burning, but it brings to mind a problem that seems to exist everywhere, basically that the media presents exaggerated impressions of whatever is actually going on. Not to make light of what is happening in Paris, which is very serious indeed, but it is obvious that the line between fact and fantasy has been blurred.

When I lived in Israel during the first intifada, much of the foreign media made it appear as if there was general chaos all over the country, while in actuality the violence was confined at the time to the West Bank and Gaza. A few years ago, the threat of SARS was blown out of proportion by the media, much the same as the threat of avian flu is being blown out of proportion now. The threat of terrorism has been exaggerated as well.

Media is a commercial industry and sensationalism sells. Threats (e.g. avian flu and terrorism) do exist, and the riots in Paris are real, but the media cannot be trusted to paint a picture that stands up to reality.

23 comments:

Riggs is Crazy said...

Hmm. Seems you're backing up what I've been selling for years. So now can we shed some light on what the real picture in Iraq looks like, instead of what the Media is spinning?

Max said...

Go for it, Riggs. I'm listening (reading).

Sinister Steve said...

I like how you threw in there that the threat of terrorism is exaggerated. Although you can dispute what the root cause of terrorism is, when you have riots in France, a hotel in Jordan blowing up and a terrorist plot in Austrailia broken up all within two days I don't think you can say it is being blown out of proportion.

Riggs is Crazy said...

What are those birds that bury their head in the sand called? Jimmy Carter birds?

Max said...

I never said there was no threat of terrorism, SS. I only said it was being exaggerated. How many times have we gone to an escalated threat level in the US, and how many times has something actually happened? We don't know that there was actually a terrorist "plot" in Australia. And I don't know that I would classify the riots in France as "terrorism" (in today's sense of the word) although there are certainly aspects of the riots which you could name as acts of terror.

sinister steve said...

Terrorism - The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

Sinister Steve said...

MM,

How do you know that nothing has happened because various measures have been taken?

Riggs is Crazy said...

Keep sticking your head in the sand and everything will be just fine. The rest of us will stay alert and protect everyone. You sound like Canada.

Max said...

It's just a difference of opinion, kids. I happen to think that the threat of terrorism has been exaggerated so that governments can do whatever they want. It seems that you think (by all means, correct me if I am wrong) that we are safe only because our government has been able to do whatever it wants.

Riggs is Crazy said...

Did you see them fly those planes into the WTC or bomb the subways in Europe? What is exaggerated? If you don't see it now, you never will.

Max said...

I repeat: I did not say that the threat of terrorism does not exist. I only said that it is being exaggerated.

Sinister Steve said...

It's kind of like the people in Germany who turned their heads when the Holecost was going on.

Lauren said...

My sister is currently in Paris with her boyfriend for a vacation. From what I've read about what's going in Paris, no one said the whole city was burning down. There have been reports of riots and car burnings on the outskirts of Paris, but nothing I read ever said that it was dangerous to visit the city or that it was consumed by flames and riots. I think what we have here is another case of sensationalism.

Audie said...

I think this whole thing about exaggeration is being exaggerated.

Audie said...

Riggs, is the Iraq war part of this "protecting everyone" that is allegedly being carried out? It's more like a fireman running toward a fire with a bucket of gasoline, yelling to us, "It's OK! I'm going to put out the fire now!" and then tossing the gasoline on the fire. Jeez, thanks, Mr. Fireman. Real smart, there.

Riggs is Crazy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Riggs is Crazy said...

Audie, let's agree to disagree, but I'll just say that you're wrong. :)

Sinister Steve said...

Riggs,

I think you are exaggerating the fact that Audie thinks all this stuff is overexaggerated. And I'm not exaggerating.

chatsy malone said...

The US media tends to sensationalize reports. CNN and FOX are big on that. Stick to the BBC and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting coorporation) which report aspects of the news American's don't know about. For example, Paris is not burning in fact the situation is slightly better and there are reports of solutions the UN has come up with to calm the situation completly.
The riots in Paris are not a result of terrorism but of the frustration immigrants have with the French not helping them integrate into French society. I will argue that certain groups of immigrants don't necessarily make an effort to integrate into society anyway. This is what I sometimes see here in Canada.
I am sure you all have an opinion on that notion.

Sinister Steve said...

I think that it is funny that an event in which the UN has to be called upon to solve is considered to be sensationalized.

What was Katrina to you guys a "bump in the road"? "A mishap"? "An OOOPPPS"?

Riggs is Crazy said...

What's the UN?

Anonymous A-Hole said...

Late to the party, of course, but U.S. papers have said remarkably little about the French riots. And I certainly never read anything that suggested all of Paris was burning.

chatsy malone said...

SS

I don't know what it was to the rest of Canada but to me it was a major fuck up.