Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Do we not like that?

Reading Le Figaro online the other day I was struck by the fact that every article is open for comments. This is a far cry from the British press which seems to cherry pick access to expression on its more inflammatory articles, presumably fearing that many of those opposed to uncontrolled, third world immigration and the ever-ambient terrorist threat might actually be able to vent their spleen from time to time. No such problem in France, but they keep dissenters under control differently…

One of the more intriguing details on internet comments threads is seeing how many recommendations each comment gets. This is useful for taking the temperature of a particular subject. On French newspaper websites you'll never find this function; I'm sure they think it smacks of populism. Bearing in mind how recent talk radio and phone-ins are, here, and how resistant to giving the people a voice the broadcasters were (It's worth reading the autobiography of eminent French phone-in radio host, Jean-Jacques Bourdin) it's maybe no surprise that the country's august dailies draw the line at a sort of online street protest, looking down their nose, as they do, on any form of demagogy. Before voting in Fran├žois 'Flanby' Hollande, one of the most demagogical presidents of all time, but that's another story.

So, the message is: Read, but Don't Touch. A bit like what you do when confronted by large breasts in a textualised tee-shirt.

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