Friday, December 17, 2004

"Independent Since Its Inception"

In the context of its 60th anniversary commemoration, which Le Monde has been celebrating with 60 articles, one for each year and one per day for the past two months, the newspaper of reference has published an article on the birth of the independent daily.

The 60th Anniversary Celebration of Le Monde

What is hard to understand is why the International Herald Tribune's John Vinocur would evoke "the newspaper's close relationship with" the French Foreign Ministry and why John Keegan would call it the "organ of official opinion and of the ruling class", when it is a well-known fact that the daily's motto is: "Indépendant depuis sa création".

Especially when two members of the French media (who happen to be Le Monde's partners), RTL and Arte, featured broadcasts on the anniversary, called respectively Birth of a Free Newspaper and A Free Press.

Ah, well… let's take a look at Le Monde's version of the circumstances of its own birth. We are in late 1944, Paris has been liberated, the war is not yet over, and… a vow is made…

"I will present the full information. I will force them to read me!" That vow is made by the first director of Le Monde
So far, so good. Hubert Beuve-Méry sounds exceedingly forceful and independent. But wait a minute; let us read the rest of Laurent Greilsamer's sentence:
That vow is made by the first director of Le Monde as he is given the mission to create a newspaper of reference worthy to represent France abroad.
Huh? "Is given"? "The mission"? "To create" not a newspaper but "a newspaper of reference"? "Worthy" not to bring the news but "to represent France abroad"? What's going on here?!

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