Monday, November 29, 2004

It’s how you tell ’em (2)

Following the extraordinarily loaded piece in the Independent yesterday about the EU's REACH directive the same newspaper is at it again today, with an article headed "Will French Socialists kill EU reform?"

This is a long piece about the forthcoming internal referendum in the French Socialist party to decide whether to support or oppose the EU constitution in the national referendum, due next year. (We have covered this extensively in the Blog, not least from Independent copy.)

But what particularly grates is the "spin" attached to the story, where the newspaper positions the EU constitution as "reform" and takes it from there. Once again, EU activities are cast in glowing, positive terms and the opposition is given a negative dimension.

This subtle – or not so subtle - propaganda pervades the whole piece, with the strap line announcing that the Socialists "could skewer the reforms Tony Blair has backed". By this means, it sets a highly pejorative framework for what is a factual account of how, as The Independent puts it, "the Socialists will decide the future of their own party and, quite possibly, the European Union."

For its factual content, the story is worth reading (link above) but once again the treatment illustrates how any specific issue can take on a wholly different resonance, depending on how it is presented.

To complete the circle, this Blog’s own "take" on the situation – i.e., our "spin" – is that the Frogs have got it hopelessly wrong in that they are fighting the constitution because it is too "liberal", whereas we oppose it (correctly) because it is dirigiste.

To be fair though – and why not, just occasionally? – the Independent is only conveying what the Socialists think, which in itself, I suppose, is a contradiction in terms. After all, if they could think, they would not be socialists.

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