Monday, April 04, 2005

Some Realities Behind the French-Love-to-Debate Myth

A row has broken out at state-owned television station France 2 over the cancellation of a programme featuring EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, amid claims it was stopped under pressure from President Jacques Chirac
the AFP reports.
Staff representatives accused station president Marc Tessier of caving in to the government, which feared Barroso's April 21 appearance on the popular debate show A hundred minutes to convince would boost the "no" vote in the referendum on the EU constitution.

Chirac was furious at remarks made by Barroso defending the Bolkestein directive, and at last week's EU summit in Brussels he was overheard telling senior aides to find a way to have the broadcast cancelled, Le Monde reported. A few hours later Tessier made his call.

Le Monde also noted that Tessier is hoping to be re-appointed shortly to his post — a decision on which Chirac's influence will weigh heavily.

There was no official reaction from Brussels, but Le Monde quoted unnamed members of the EU Commission as saying that the affair made France look like a "banana republic."

This, in the country whose citizens, politicans, and media outlets like nothing better than to castigate Fox News and invoke it as being typical of all media in America; whose citizens gleefully mock Americans as being blinded and the vassals of Washington; and who pose their own society as a shining example of liberty for all, with the attendant willingness to debate freely and openly take into consideration all opinions and points of view.

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