Friday 5 June 2009

The Financial Times Europe: Serving the European elite sphere?

I have come across a scientific article covering the role of the Financial Times (FT) Europe in the EUsphere.

In the freely accessible and primarily descriptive - but not less interesting - article titled
"Exploring the European elite sphere: The role of the Financial Times"
written by Farrel Corcoran & Declan Fahy and published in Journalism Studies (Volume 10, Issue 1; 2009), the FT is depicted as the central press organ in Brussels.

Its journalists receive privileged access to low-, mid-, and high-level officials, leaving their jealous colleagues working for national newspapers behind.

Its news coverage also encompasses seemingly unimportant details of EU law-making, because these details are particularly interesting for the specific audience of the Financial Times: European political and business elites, those who care for bureaucratic details for a living.

The authors conclude that the role of the FT Europe is not that of a contributor to a general European public sphere. Precisely spoken, the FT is part of the European "elite sphere", the unaccountable network of EU administrators, specialists, and lobbyists.

Its exposed position in the wider Brussels system is grounded on this particular role and on the particular interests of its readers.

Based on these findings, Corcoran & Fahy come to much wider conclusions:
European identity may develop along two very separate tracks. One is a continuation of the ‘‘banal nationalism’’ [...] [t]he other track is towards a cosmopolitanism embedded in the transnational culture of European elites, whose material interests stretch beyond national boundaries and whose social imaginary is nourished by elite media such as the FT.
This is, to a large extend, also a theme of this blog.

The question for me is, whether we are able to find a middle way, a communicative bridge between our individual elitist cosmopolitanism and the wider public, or whether there is no choice: We either have to be part of the EU elite sphere or to remain in the lows of the "banal nationalism".

I am afraid I know the answer, but I am still looking for another on.


Ralf Grahn said...

There will always be elites, and it is no shame that the world's perhaps best newspapers covers subjects they are interested in.

These elites have discovered that European affairs matter, to an extent.

The problem is that politicians (largely), political parties, 'normal' media and citizens in general are so far behind the curve.

Both cross-border debate and radical reform are needed to narrow the gap between at least portions of the public and the European Union.

If not, the fringe groups for rejection and hate will become major political forces in a number of member states.

Julien Frisch said...

Yes, there will always be elites; the question is whether they are open elites in the service of a common good or closed elites working for their individual better.