Is the media responsible for the war in Iraq?

Philippe Cayla has been Chairman and CEO of EuroNews since 2003. A graduate of the Ecole des Mines de Paris, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, Cayla began his career as a civil servant in the Equipment, Industry and Foreign Trade Ministries and as a technical advisor to the French Minister of Foreign Trade, Michel Jobert. From 1985 to 1992, Cayla was the Sales and Finance Director, the Strategy Director and finally the Deputy Managing Director and Strategy Director for Matra-Marconi Space, Europe's largest spacecraft manufacturer and a provider of communications ground terminals, sub-systems for rocket launchers and supplies for the International Space Station. In 1993, Cayla joined Eutelsat, one of the world's leading providers of satellite infrastructure and telecommunications. Cayla began working in television directly in 2000, when he became Director of International Development at France Televisions. At EuroNews he succeeded Stewart Purvis. Ideas recorded at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival on: 7/2/07

  • Transcript


Question: Is the media responsible for the war in Iraq?

Philippe Cayla: Certainly it was. I don’t remember how long it lasted, but CNN titled it “War on Terror” for a while. I suppose they don’t do it anymore now, but it lasted at least for one year, I think. And then there’s the fact that there is war on terror. It’s simple wording. Everybody understands what it is, but it creates the idea that you have to wage war in order to solve the terrorist problem, which is not conspicuous to say the least. And that there is no other possibility that the … have no way … . So it’s certainly created in the U.S. the feeling that war was the only solution. And after that, of course, they had war. It was easy for … to wage war, since everybody thought they had to make war. Because an alternative was not presented, so I think it is the responsibility of media to … possibilities and … the one that maybe they would like, or they think would be good. And there was at the time – and I don’t know if it is the case now – a lack of alternatives in media coverage in the U.S. And I think if I can preach from my perch, your news presents such alternatives. In some way, … the U.S. And we are the only international news channel other than the U.S. Because the CNN you have is not CNN International. As far as I know, it’s CNN National, CNN U.S. And Fox News is very national. Euro News is the only international news channel. And so we hope we … We hope we have some audience in the U.S. in the future as well.

Recorded on: 7/2/07