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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Welcome to Geneva - Switzerland's capital, according to TF1

It would seem that France's main private television channel, TF1, has decided to follow a lead set by the country's president, François Hollande, in showing just how geographically challenged it can be at times.

Remember Hollande's gaffe back in June while on a trip to Japan when he mistakenly expressed his condolences to the Chinese rather than the Japanese for those killed during a hostage crisis in Algeria in January?

Well, TF1 decided to go closer to home for its foot-in-mouth blooper.

It came during a recent pre-recorded (and therefore perfectly editable) lunchtime news report as part of a delightful series "La France à bicyclette".

It took viewers on a trip around Lac Léman (or Lake Geneva if you like, because it's one and the same thing) from Lausanne to...Lausanne. A round trip.

Gorgeous scenery - both on the Swiss and French sides - although guess where the traffic was a little more difficult?

Cyclists take to the streets of the "Swiss capital Geneva" (screenshot from TF1 report)

Breaks for meals and meet-ups with other halves - enjoying the countryside and a leisurely lunch before setting off again to the encounter the liveliness.....of the capital, Geneva!

Listen at two minutes and three seconds.

Now, it might be all right for far flung countries and their broadcasters to get things wrong geographically speaking - and CNN certainly has in the past and will probably also do in the future

But how can a French reporter get his (in this case) information so obviously wrong about a country with which it shares a border and to some extent a culture?

Easily probably, especially if there's nobody around to take a listen to the piece before it's broadcast.

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