The attack in Moscow versus Kate Middleton's cancer

Posted byadmin Posted onMarch 30, 2024 Comments0
The attack in Moscow versus Kate Middleton's cancer

Florent Guyotat, deputy editorial director of Franceinfo, is at Emmanuelle Daviet's microphone to answer questions from listeners

Emmanuelle Daviet: On the evening of Friday March 22, two subjects of very different but simultaneous importance dominated the news. In Moscow, the death of several people. We did not then know the exact number of victims in a shooting, followed by a fire in a concert hall in the suburbs of the Russian capital. The country's authorities then denounced a bloody terrorist attack and the same evening, the announcement by the Princess of Wales, aged 42, of her cancer, requiring preventive chemotherapy treatment. As early as Friday evening, listeners expressed criticism in their messages regarding the editorial choice to give broad coverage to the personal story of Kate Middleton, while a major and tragic geopolitical event was occurring. Florent Guyotat, what do you say to listeners about the editorial arbitration between information of public interest, the attack in Moscow and medical news concerning Kate Middleton?

Florent Guyotat: First of all, as you said, the particularity of these two events is really that we learned about them almost at the same time. So, from 6:30 p.m. on Friday March 22, we have the first information reaching us from Moscow and the announcement of her cancer by the Princess of Wales via a video broadcast on social networks. It’s around 7 p.m. Basically, therefore, the question posed to us by the listeners is, do these two events have the same importance? And should they be given the same space on the air? Clearly, I tell you, the answer is no. The attack on Moscow, in terms of the number of victims, in terms of its consequences elsewhere in the world, is a more important event. And overall, in the evening of Friday, between 8:30 p.m. and midnight and in the morning of Saturday, two thirds, even three quarters of the franceinfo channel was devoted to this attack on Moscow. And Kate Middleton's cancer has taken a back seat, treated as a second title.

Emmanuelle Daviet : So we hear your explanations. But despite everything, Florent, some listeners are troubled because at the very beginning of the evening, between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., they have the impression that Franceinfo gave too much importance to Kate Middleton and not enough to the attack on Moscow.

Florent Guyotat: So in my opinion, there is an essential element to take into account. Around 6:30 p.m., when the first information reached us from Moscow, it was very incomplete, very fragmented. There are images on social media of men shooting into crowds, but they are difficult to authenticate. There is also incomplete information on the number of victims and the precise course of events. So, that's the rule for us at franceinfo, we take the time to check the information that reaches us to be as precise as possible and we try to stick to the facts. So, from 7 p.m., we offer very regular updates on the air with our correspondent in Moscow, Sylvain Tronchet, with our journalists in the studio as well, Virginie Pironon, Julie Pietri. Regular points so I told you 7 p.m., 7:10 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 7:40 p.m., 7:50 p.m. 8 p.m. I looked again at the program schedule for that evening. But once again, at this time, as we have little information, it is difficult for us to devote all the air time to this Moscow news. Moreover, the specialists on Russia that we contact and solicit tell us that it is too early, that they do not have enough information, that they want to wait until they know more so as not to to say stupid things and to react on the air, which, I think, is quite healthy on their part. So that's the reason why at that time, between 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m., it's true, the air time is shared between the Moscow attack and Kate Middleton's cancer. Then, around 8:20 p.m., importantly, a first consolidated report reached us from the Russian security services: at least 40 dead and dozens injured. This toll, of course, will increase subsequently. But from that moment on, well, we devoted most of our coverage to the situation in Moscow. We only talk about that on Les Informés from 8:20 p.m. to 9 p.m. And at this time also, the Russian authorities blame Ukraine, which affirms that it had nothing to do with this attack. Then, later in the evening, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. And in these conditions, with all this information flowing in, Kate Middleton's cancer continues to be discussed on the air. But very clearly, it takes a back seat compared to Moscow.

Emmanuelle Daviet : So thank you for these insights. Despite everything, why relay the announcement of Kate Middleton's cancer, listeners ask?

Florent Guyotat : So there are undoubtedly some listeners who consider that we are too interested in the British royal family, that this family, basically, has little political power. That there are more interesting current topics. I respect this opinion, but I also think that we cannot deny the interest, even the passion that this family arouses, rightly or wrongly, it is up to everyone to judge. I can give you several examples, including the success of the series The Crown. So clearly, there was a wait around Kate Middleton, her operation, her prolonged absence from public appearances, apart from the famous retouched photo. And so it seemed necessary to us to discuss the choice that was ultimately made by the princess and the royal family, that of transparency. And to publicly announce to the British subject and to the world that she is suffering from cancer. But once again, on Franceinfo, this news has taken a back seat and it is an assumed choice on our part in relation to the terrorist attack in Moscow.

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