Today’s episode of the EU for You podcast is the third of a series of six podcasts, featuring unedited recordings from our November 2005 conference on Media and Politics. The conference took place in three sessions, each consisting of a keynote address, followed by a panel discussion. Previous episodes featured recordings from the first session, Freedom Movements and the Press. Today’s recording is from the second session, Transatlantic Media Wars. Introducing the session is Irena Grudzinska Gross, former director of the Institute for Human Sciences. The keynote speech, which you hear today, was given by Michael Naumann, German politician and publicist. Panelists included Sylvie Kauffmann from Le Monde, the syndicated columnist William Pfaff, and Jacek Zakowski from the Polish Polityka Weekly. The discussion was moderated by William Drozdiak, President of the American Council on Germany.
The focus of the second session was on shifting perceptions across the Atlantic, and the role played by the press in the growing rift between the United States and Europe. In his keynote speech Michael Naumann said the topic was only slightly exaggerated. The Internet, for all its popularity, represents an amassment of political and informational power in the hands of one—American—nation. He briefly discussed the growth of media conglomerates and declining quality of print journalism in the US. He was critical of the US media coverage of Europe, the virtual absence of reporting on Germany, but noted that Europe is not the only thing missing from the pages of US newspapers. He cited his own paper’s scoop that Collin Powell’s source on mobile chemical labs in Iraq was unreliable, a piece of information that reached the American public only a year later when the Los Angeles Times published the story.