During his forty-year teaching career, a significant number of today’s Czech journalists passed through the hands of Professor Jan Zirac. How do you rate the concluded presidential election? According to him, since the days of artificial public affairs programs, political race has mainly been a matter of marketing. “Already Karel Schwarzenberg’s Clean was a marketing structure to attract young people. It has not yet come out. With Jiří Drahoš, it was an attempt to sell a professor, an educator and an academic. The second time it did not work. Only here the third attempt came out, and perfectly. All three cases artificially “I think they are connected by the mental illness created, first against Zeman, now against Papis,” he says in an interview with Dedenik Echo.
According to him, although the media behave qualitatively and do not give direct advice, he believes that it is not difficult to determine from their behavior who they do not support in the presidential election. John Zirac, He heads the Department of Media Studies at Prague Metropolitan University.
Can you elaborate on a specific example?
If you’ve done a little work and watched even a small part of the pre-election debates, you’ll know that — especially today, when emotions are hidden — some candidates were often interrupted, sharply, countered. Tuned questions than other candidates.
Now you might be thinking of Andrej Babis.
I mean primarily Andrej Babiš.
What’s new this year, says our editor-in-chief, is the reluctance of the big media to deliberately ignore certain information. For example, it is a fact that Peter Pavel never had to directly answer the question: Are you a member of Communist military intelligence or not?
You have opened a difficult topic. In my opinion, it is not so easy, after all, the past of the candidates is discussed. Many of us, including Michael Kokab, are roughly aware of this. But that focus never reached critical mass. This is not to say that we are not aware of this, but rather to say that the issue of the past has been downplayed. This happened because the anti-Popish sentiment was gaining momentum at the time. This is one of the pieces that make up the whole phenomenon of discrimination. And why did I reply that this is a difficult topic? In my opinion, the basic and fundamental problem we are talking about now is that political marketing has escaped any responsibility. He lives by the customer success ethos and nothing else. They made Peter Pavel for a long time, and in his case the so-called portrait had already been going on for a long time. A legendary book was published about him at the Academy (Vladimír Mertlík: Frontline, May 2019 – Editor’s note). He appeared in blue happy birthday Karel Ship. That is in November 2021. Why is he? It was very different.
I guess it’s not just him. Similarly, at one point the economist Danusa Nerudova began calling Otašek Vaclav Moravec, long before she discovered her presidential ambitions.
Yes, but especially in Pavlo’s case, the media managed to get to the point where he took his candidacy for granted. At the same time, the man has no life story for the presidency. It is purely a marketing construct. One realizes an interesting point here. Marketers act irresponsibly for their actions. They are responsible to their customer, their ethics are the ethics of success – he got what he wanted for his money. But, for example, marketers cannot take responsibility for their role in dividing society. No matter how much they try to pretend with some professional codes, those people do not accept social responsibility in practice. But of course not.
How did our media behave before the presidential election? Naturally, or is she stepping out of character?
What is the power of traditional media in tense moments like presidential elections or Covid?
Is there any progress in journalism? Does it change in value?
At the end of the nineties, you were the head of the Czech Television Council. How do you see CT today? Can it be reformed?
How do you feel about the idea that the government can distinguish between information and misinformation and suppress the latter?