French Court Rules in Favor of TV Station in Al-Durah Affair

To like like a bulletin… Or a television station.

It’s an old phrase, current in the early 19th century among Napoleon’s Grande Armee, in reference to the General-Emperor’s many bulletins, or press-releases as they are referred to more currently, which were sent from his headquarters whenever he was on campaign for the very widest possible dissemination. That incidents in a particular campaign or battle appeared very different once written up as a press release, then they originally did to the troops who had participated should come as no surprise to anyone. It is a perception with an age-old lineage, and with examples as readily found in today’s newspaper or television newscast. So is cynicism in the ranks, and the expression “to lie like a bulletin” eventually became proverbial, especially as Napoleon’s fortunes began to dim, and it became more and more difficult to square the reality with what was published.

Credibility is a precious thing, easily lost and most difficult if not impossible to regain. I have written before of my own disappointment and horror at how willingly main-stream media seems to be throwing it away like handfuls of confetti; of how self-isolated they are. In their great media palaces that they are not even aware of their own biases, and seem pitifully eager to embrace the slick, the superficially attractive, the tastefully-wrapped meme… and how appallingly credulous they appear when something too good to be true is presented to them on a silver platter. It is as if they are not even bothering to practice journalism any more, but instead have chosen to perform as publicists for a variety of organizations, personalities and movements; all the while insisting very loudly that they are too models of impartiality and professional conduct.

I picture our major media grandees brandishing a white handkerchief and huffing about how dare you little un-credentialed non-j-school commoners question your betters! The very idea! This is an amusing vision… but still doesn’t restore any of their credibility in my mind. In a ruling today, a French court has upheld the rights of a major French television station to actually lie like a bulletin as regards the al Durah affair, and to punish their critic with a large fine. I wonder how much of a precedent this will set, in the minds of our own most recently bruised-by-criticism media personalities in our own country… and sincerely hope that this is a custom, like eating horsemeat, which the French can keep to themselves. As a way to restore lost credibility, it’s the original lead balloon.

“Sgt Mom” is a freelance writer and retired Air Force NCO who blogs at www.sgtstryker.com, and lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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