French Media Coverage and the Riots

From the AP comes this story about the French media's self-censorship regarding the riots. The story states that:
At least two television stations scaled back broadcasting
images of flaming vehicles — a mainstay of coverage — to avoid stoking violence.
Some channels decided not to provide daily police figures on the number of cars
burned overnight, in the thousands since troubles began Oct. 27.
LCI, an all-news television channel, decided a week ago to
stop showing images of burning cars — nightly fare on all stations at the start
of the violence.

"A burning car is extremely impressive," said LCI
weekend editor Laurent Drezner, adding that the channel continues to show the
hulks of burned-out cars. "We are informing without sensationalism."

The decision followed a series of phone calls to the
station, apparently from the troublemakers, asking "Why haven't you sent
cameras?" The questions came after TV crews who were stoned by gangs started
staying away from trouble spots, Drezner said.

The station concluded that fiery images provoked a
"serial effect."
Now Shannon Love and I (on Hit n' Run) have gone round and round with each other on the issue of self-censorship by the press, and while this story has not changed my opinion that the press should not self-censor in the fashion that she seems to argue for, the actions of LCI and other French news organizations have demonstrated that there is something to be said about the difference between reporting and sensationalism.


Planning & Elitism

Ken Snyder at Planetizen points to the lack of democracy (and thus by implication the elitism) found in the world of planning. Though I am disinclined to agree with Mr. Snyder regarding the worth of planning, I can wholeheartedly agree with his conclusions about the planning community; that "most public participation in planning today is periodic and reactive." I believe this is because of the place where planning comes from; that is from such efforts as the "city beautiful" movement, etc. that were inclined to treat the poor and those without a great deal of political power in a mocking paternalistic manner that could border on hostility.