Monday, March 03, 2008

No, You’ll be Taught to Care, Silly!

A new state broadcaster for the super-state is going to air, and heaven knows where it’s going from there. In a bid to engineer consent by pretending it isn’t propaganda, the new “Euranet” seems to have more of an air of Radio Mockba under Brezhnev.

The station was officially launched in Brussels by Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission and in charge of the EU's communication strategy. The EC felt there was a need for fair and balanced information on EU affairs, she said. One aim of Euranet, in response to a demand felt by the Brussels leadership, is to get closer to the citizens, particularly the young. Ms Wallström stressed that a charter will guarantee the station's editorial independence.
How this independence will be shown is still quite unclear to me:
The sixteen broadcasters are targeting a young section of the population: the 20 to 45-year- olds. They are commonly seen as a difficult target group that is perceiving the European Union as a boring and complicated phenomenon.
I wonder why this is even necessary? Why isn’t a popular interest in integration allowed to grow in a substantive, meaningful, and natural way without being structured by a body somewhere? Are they that untrusting of a population to go on the past twenty years of advertising?

Speaking of a sell job, my favorite fake blogger and Frau Commissar of the Commissariat Margot Wallström is being employed as a sort of token living smiley for this peacetime propaganda operation. In fact it’s rather hard to tell if she’s been airbrushed for this one or had “a little work done”, but either way, her use here as a poster child really gives away the fact that a century of state operation of cultural management (with banal, implausible, “it’s a small world afterall”-like results) has taught them nothing, as has centuries of wars and violence in Europe which stemmed from the strange and pervasive cult of state power that has been it’s hallmark.

Anyway, her “blogging career” has been so illustrious by the standards of the überstate’s mandate to tell their public faces to “get out and blog” like it’s going to make people love them, that just one measly comment on it yielded this dopey email: a request from a grad student to respond to canned-sounding survey questions about a canned-reading blog.
I am a student in communication at the University of Paris-Est, France, and I'm making a memoir (= a small thesis) about several blogs and their roles in the European communication and debate.
To that purpose, I need your contribution, as a commentator of Margot Wallström's blog. I would really appreciate it if you could spend a few minutes to answer my questions (les francophones peuvent répondre en français bien sûr!).
And a sample of the sort of questions that come up when considering the grand and glorious Instapundit and Boing-Boing killing nature of the blog:
Your activity on M. Wallström’s blog ?
A good question I guess, but that was the title. Remember, graaaad student!
- Which types of comments do you usually make (reaction to a post of M. Wallström, to another comment, offer or request of a complement of information) ?
- What incites you to intervene ?
- When you make a comment, do you expect an answer ?
- Which other information technologies do you use to get information or to debate on European questions ?
- Do you only go to English-speaking websites, or do you also go to websites in other languages ?
- Have you ever established relations with other commentators (email exchanges, instant messaging, “real” meetings…) ?
- How did you come to know this blog ?
- How long have you visited this blog, and how often do you go there ?
- To which factors do you attribute the high participation to this blog ?
- Do you go to other blogs partially or totally dedicated to European questions, and which ones? Do you also make comments on them ?
- Have you created your own blog, and if you have, does it deal, partly or wholly, with European questions ?
Could you tell me more about you ?
- Where do you live, where do you come from, how old are you, what is your gender, which diploma have you got ?
- What is your job, and is it related to European questions ?

Thank you very much !
The warning sign here is that if you have to “nation-build” at home and bypass the voting public’s referenda with a treaty passed with perfunctory preceduralism to a disinterested “legislature”, you’re off to a hell of a start.

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