EU Commission Refuses To Explain Why It Published Medium Article Mocking The Public's Concerns Over Article 13
from the moving-along-now dept
As you may recall, last month, the EU Commission published — and then unpublished — a bit of horrifically misleading propaganda, in favor of Article 13, mocking those who criticized it as a “mob” whose strings were being pulled by an evil dragon (apparently Google) to “slay a knight” (apparently valiant copyright). The article can still be found via the Internet Archive. This wasn’t from a politician or bureaucrat who had officially come out in support, but from the EU Commission’s very own Medium account. It was certainly an insult to the European public. After some outcry, the article was removed, but the “apology” that was put up instead was similarly insulting, saying that it was removed because “it has been understood in a way that doesn’t reflect the Commission’s position.” Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. It was just that crazy mob who “misunderstood” you calling them a “mob” for pointing out that the poorly drafted law might create all sorts of problems.
Anyway, some in the EU Parliarment were reasonably concerned about the EU Commission acting this way, and sent some questions. European Parliament Member Tiemo Wolken has tweeted out that they’ve finally received some “answers” even though it took way longer than normal and the “answers” don’t actually answer the question. Also of note, is that Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the EU Commission himself was the one who sent these non-answers. As Wolken notes, it’s “very rare” that Juncker himself would answer such questions. Wolken posted the questions and answers as a screenshot, but I am doing my best to translate them via typing them all into Google Translate. I believe these translations are pretty accurate, but they may not be perfect. Let’s start with question and answer one:
Who authorized the publication of this entry, in which the EU citizens, who exercise their democratic right to protest, have been labeled as a “mob” and the dissemination of the article through the EU?s official Twitter account?
The Commission published a blog post on the proposed Copyright Directive on 14 February 2019 on the “Medium” platform.
Hmm. Um. Look, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but even I recognize that when you are asked “who authorized” this article, you’re supposed to actually say who authorized it. Responding by just restating the fact that everybody already knows that the article was published… is not answering the question. At all.
How will the Commission ensure that such a disrespectful tone regarding the EU citizenry is never used again in publications?
Concerns and possible misinterpretations should be dispelled with this article. This was not intended to attack people who disagree, and especially those who are democratically involved in the legislative process
Right, so… again. This is not answering the question. The question is how will the Commission make sure it doesn’t publish such an insulting and disrespectful article, such as calling its own citizens a “mob”. And rather than answer that Juncker just responds that it “was not intended to attack people who disagree.” Right, but it did. And the question is how do you prevent it from happening again.
Given that the EU Commission and Juncker can’t even bring themselves to admit error and apologize, apparently the answer is that it has no plans to prevent such insulting articles from being published again, because it can’t even recognize when it’s disrespecting the public. Incredible.
How will the Commission ensure that its official publications are not biased, but that they provide European political information in a neutral and non-judgmental manner?
The Commission has acknowledged that language and title are not appropriate, apologized and deleted the blog post. It attaches the utmost importance to a respectful public debate and also applies this standard to its own communications.
I realize that baseball is a mostly American pastime, but hopefully those in the EU understand what I mean when I say “strike three.” This comes nowhere near actually answering the question, and is a bit of historical revisionism. The EU Commission did not acknowledge that the language was inappropriate and apologize — rather it complained that the mob mistook the EU Commission calling the public a mob as meaning the EU Commission thought they were a mob, and passive aggressively blamed the public for forcing it to remove the article over the mob’s misinterpretation.
But, more importantly, nothing here answers the actual question of how will the EU Commission make sure that the EU Commission’s own publications are neutral, rather than political, in nature. Indeed, this kind of response is nearly as insulting as the original article — completely disrespecting the public and their concerns about why the EU Commission decided to lobby for one version of a proposed Directive.