Sunday, January 09, 2005

Reporting on the Cultural Wars: Quoting the French Government Officials and Caricaturing the Americans

While Daniel Vernet gives us a typical The Other Side of America (replete with America's unilateralism versus "the rules of international life", "the president […] penetrated by the almost divine mission of his country", and — using an active verb [emphasis mine] — the "odious image that the United States has built for itself around the world"), Nicole Vulser presents an article on cultural diversity, enemy of the United States, in which we are kept informed of
  • "the pugnacity of the Americans"
  • "an economic battle … led daily by the Americans"
  • lots and lots of examples on the "tactics of the Americans", including a "scale in the pressure of the Americans", an attempt to "rid the [Unesco] text of its substance", and the lobbying (through the MPAA) of the Americans
  • the fact that, as a French delegate said, "'in order to avoid the worst, there was no choice but for Jacques Chirac to intervene with the Americans'"
A French delegate? Ah oui, there you have it: in an article where almost one half of the text is made up of quotations, just about all of said quotations in the newspaper of reference are provided by …members of the French government.

And what is the language that is used, both by the politicos and by the journalist?

The Americans, the Americans, the Americans. As I have written before, the use of this general word allows for a caricatural view of the situation — and of …the Americans — which, needless to say, is how many, if not most, French citizens view citizens of the United States and any situation involving …Americans.

And why not? With articles and independent newspapers such as these…