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The Republic of Far, Far Away [Update]

by afew Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 04:39:37 AM EST

Let's imagine a presidential election in the Republic of Far, Far Away, or Freedonia, or anywhere you like from the movies or books, just so long as it's holding a presidential election that has nothing to do with, you know, a presidential election that might be taking place soon in a European country that shall remain nameless. And let's imagine a candidate who:

  1. firmly intends to contest every patch of ground, every demographic, every social or professional group, and to that end uses the usual paraphernalia of private polls and focus groups;
  2. does not have to fear intense media examination of her policies and propositions.
What might this candidate fail to watch out for carefully? How might she go overboard?

Well, how about promising too much, too often, to too many people? A promise here, a promise there, so many votes gathered... But then the promises might become demagogic. There might be so many that some of them are contradictory. (Don't forget this candidate doesn't fear media scrutiny). Some might be simply unfeasible. The whole package taken together might be completely over the top financially.

So what? There's a French political proverb (I know I said Far, Far Away, but that was just to trick you into getting past the first line, dear reader, knowing as I do that yet another article on the French elections is borderline likely to make you scream and run) that says that a promise is only binding on the person who believes in it. (Nasty, cynical, Machiavellian people, the French...) As long as no one notices, our candidate can go on promising. After the election, screw you, voter!

All right (say you, reader). You lied about Far, Far Away, it was France again after all, and now I know what you're going to say: Ségolène Royal has gone and made too many promises, wow does she get everything wrong! Well, in fact, no. Of course, discussion of her programme has focused almost entirely on its cost, and the absence of costing, and the presence of costing, and arguments about costing, and meta-arguments about costing, and on the human drama involved in costing... All of this with the subtext, serious people in suits know that women on the left are sublimely ignorant of the weighty realities of state and will tax and spend the country to its knees. So Ségolène Royal has gone on getting the full treatment. Before, she didn't have a programme, and that was bad. Now, she has one, and as we expected it costs too much.

Sarko's Programme

Sarkozy always had a programme. No one tried to pick holes in it, or cost it, but everyone knew Sarkozy had a programme. It's on his campaign website, Ensemble Tout Devient Possible (Together Everything Becomes Possible):

Click for a one-page pdf with a nice picture. It's dated 14 January 2007, but that's odd because on the 5th of February I got a different programme from the same link... Both "programmes" go in for vague generalities, but the new one, the one that's up now, is no kind of programme at all. A series of high-flown quotes from Sarko and others. Here's a piece that isn't even cherry-picked:

«Ma France, c'est celle de tous ces Français qui ne savent pas très bien au fond s'ils sont de droite, de gauche ou du centre, parce qu'ils sont avant tout de bonne volonté. Je veux leur dire, par-delà les engagements partisans, que j'ai besoin d'eux pour que tout devienne possible.»

My France is that of all the French who don't know if they're on the left, right, or centre, because they are first and foremost people of good will. I want to tell them, beyond partisan commitments, that I need them so that everything becomes possible.

In fact, Sarkozy's "programme" was out there in bits and pieces, delivered in speeches to different constituencies. Some people were pulling them all together and looking at their coherence, feasibility, and cost. Not the MSM, of course. but a business-friendly think-tank, l'Institut de l'entreprise, set up a costing taskforce called Débat2007 that found (as one would expect) that Royal's plans would be costly, but also that the bill was piling up alarmingly on Sarko's side. Meanwhile, economist Thomas Piketty took one of Sarko's really big demagogic "promises" to pieces in a Libération article. Sarkozy vowed to take four (4) points off the tax burden, currently standing at around 44% of GDP. Piketty shot him down in flames. No way, no way at all, was it possible to take 4% of GDP off the tax burden in five years.

Quatre points de PIB, cela représente, par exemple, davantage que toutes les recettes cumulées de l'impôt sur le revenu, de l'impôt sur les successions et de l'impôt de solidarité sur la fortune. Si Sarkozy envisage de supprimer ces trois impôts d'un geste auguste, qu'il l'annonce !

La vérité toute simple est que jamais aucun pays développé n'a abaissé de 4 points son taux de prélèvements obligatoires. Au moment où la révolution thatcherienne a produit ses effets les plus forts, de 1985 à 1995, les prélèvements n'ont baissé au total que d'à peine 2 points de PIB au Royaume-Uni (avant que Blair ne les réaugmente de 2 points, retrouvant ainsi aujourd'hui le taux d'environ 37-38 points de 1985). Nicolas Sarkozy envisage-t-il de faire des coupes deux fois plus lourdes que Margaret Thatcher dans une période de temps deux fois plus courte ?

Four GDP points represent, for example, more than all the combined revenue of the income tax, the inheritance tax, and the wealth tax. If Sarkozy means to abolish those three taxes in one majestic gesture, let him make an announcement!

The plain truth is that no developed country has ever lowered its tax burden by 4 points. When the Thatcherian revolution was producing its most powerful effects, between 1985 and 1995, taxation only dropped by barely two points of the UK GDP (before Blair put it back up again by two points, so getting back to the level of about 37-38 points of 1985). Is Nicolas Sarkozy planning to make twice as big cuts as Margaret Thatcher in half the time?

Still, this wasn't the MSM, and Sarkozy could have gone on. But even in his own party, the UMP, which has been completely on message up to now, there were stirrings of unease, expressed in a meeting Thursday. The team responsible for "budgeting" the candidate's propositions, headed by Pierre Méhaignerie, came out and said there were promises that would have to be, er, de-promised (meaning forgotten about, or put off for years). The "4 points off the tax burden" would have to go: only "one point in five years" was reasonable. Promises to reduce the inheritance tax would have to be scaled back. The promise to pay family allowances from the first child on (currently family allowances kick in on child number two) would be postponed sine die. The entire programme had to stay under a ceiling of €30 bn. (It was reckoned by l'Institut de l'entreprise at over €50 bn, plus the 4 points of GDP, worth €68 bn; Sarkozy now says his programme will cost €32 bn).

Campaign Infighting

Up to now, Sarkozy's campaign has seemed a model of on-message professionalism (not the case with Ségo's). But it has started to show cracks. He's lining up polls that show him clearly beating Royal in the second round of the election. The MSM are on his side. What can go wrong? Well, that his campaign people and political backers at the UMP start dreaming about the spoils. And start fighting each other. And take their eye off the ball. And annoy the boss and his wife. Leading to... This week's Canard Enchaîné (no link) reports huge blow-ups at campaign HQ, Sarko (who is known for his bad temper) yelling at everyone and calling the UMP offices to tear a strip off them too. He has got rid of his main communications advisor, Frank Tapiro, and has grounded one of his surrogates, Nadine Morano, and complains of others. "I've had enough of people speaking in my name," the Canard reports him as saying. Personally, I don't always find him very good, and his surrogates seem to me to have been efficient (would that Ségolène had some feistier ones!), but, if that's the way he wants it, why not?

So the candidate's programme is nothing but a string of out-of-control promises he has had to renege on already. And his campaign is showing signs of serious strain after a month's campaigning. This could be a turning-point?

Well, it could. But what did I hear last night on TV News (France3, public broadcasting?) The nice lady who reads us what's on her prompter told us all about the polls saying Sarko would win. And how there was une accumulation de couacs (a concert of false notes) coming out of the Royal campaign, the latest being the quarrel over costing (you guessed it!) leading to the resignation of Royal's budget specialist, Eric Besson. It's true that's a false note, but it happened last Wednesday and we're still being reminded of it on Saturday evening. Even this Sunday morning on public radio France Inter, where two journalists' questions to François Hollande went back again and again to the bad polls and the false notes and the mess Ségolène Royal was in, and where Hollande had to fight to be allowed to say that Sarko had completely redimensioned his "programme" and was therefore not credible. If it isn't in the MSM, does it really happen?

A final encouraging update: a new poll says 8 out of 10 French think the campaign is not over yet...

Update [2007-2-19 16:29:33 by afew]: Le Monde comes through today with articles on these questions, in particular a long and interesting piece by Philippe Ridet, "embedded" journalist with Sarko, who tells more about how the fake chummy relationships grow (and are Sarko-cultivated) over the years.

Le Monde also gives some info on the above points about the shake-up in the Sarko campaign. The article admits these elements have not been talked about much in the media. The point is that Royal has openly said she's making changes in her campaign staff (about time and let's hope she brings in more efficient people), and all the media are talking about that: one more piece of evidence she's going down the toilet, right? Meanwhile no one talks about Sarko's team changes.

Most important is a pretty precise and damning piece of writing by Raphaëlle Bacqué about how Sarko has "embedded" himself with the media over the last 25 years, particularly by his friendship with big media bosses. This is such an important article it calls for separate treatment in a piece on the media (as suggested by someone). So perhaps there's some sense of shame at Le Monde? Some wish to fight, on the part of some of the journalists?

Sorry there's so much in these articles I haven't time to translate.

At least you people in Far Far Away have a Republic. The more I saw the story of the death of the Roman Republic in the HBO Series Rome, the more depressing living through one of the QWEIH becomes.

Though the Repub... sorry, Democratic party convinced 17 members of the Imper... sorry, Republican party to cross the aisle on the Non-Binding Resolution, and it was carried in the Associated Press as a "hotly contested" vote, so the bias in media is, at least, familiar.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 05:27:35 AM EST
the bias in media is, at least, familiar.

Having followed American politics via Internet for the last few years, I can't help thinking of the American media every day in this French campaign. Even the So-Called Librul Media (.FR) take on the cloak of "neutrality" and "balance" while they amplify a totally distorted view of the facts.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 05:53:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a parallel comment you say

As you say, the media don't count any of this as the least false note in Sarko's campaign. There are no false notes in Sarko's campaign.

It may be that those of us who have been paying attention to American media are better equipped to see what's going on in Europe. It's actually pretty disturbing, and I wonder how much power alternative media really have. We have suggested before that DKos thrived in the vacuum left by the MSM. I want to hope that in Europe we can draw from the American experience and make a difference.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 06:20:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In France, semi-alternative media do exist and have some circulation : Canard Enchaîné and Charlie Hebdo, for example, which run no advertising, are widely available. Libé is quite left-wing among the dailies. Arrêt sur Image, a media criticising show is available on all French TVs...

Those media all have their problems, but it seems they don't have any real influence... There is no real vacuum to be filled by websites, as alternatives are already available.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 06:44:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we do have cable and satellite, but they reach smaller audiences, and thus the main TV channels still hold disproportionate influence.

And TF1, the first channel is private and unashamedly on the right. Its owner is Bouygues, the construction group that thrives on public contracts, and its boss, Martin Bouygues, is an old personal friend of Sarkozy.

And its journalists/stars (they spend more time in the "people" section of magazines" than working, it seems sometimes) are more interested in protecting their cozy relationships with those in power and with money.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 07:13:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I'm arguing is that there already are some media critical of the Sarkozist MSM, and they are unable to counter the narrative of the MSM, usually at least.

However, for the 2005 Constitution referendum, they were able to counter the yes campaign. But it seems the MSM is campaigning much more strongly against Segolène than for the constitution.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 07:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a bit contradictory, what you say. Alternative media do exist, (as per your list, and I just watched Arrêt sur images..!) But, as you say, it seems they don't have any real influence. So it seems to me there is a gap to be filled. A democracy gap, because at the moment the broader perceptions of the French are being manipulated by the MSM.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 07:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure the undecided voters are more likely to be decided by blogs than by the semi-MSM media... I'm afraid those undecided voters are mostly found in the semi-informed.

At least in America with its importance of money, fundraising has a chance of making changes - but there is no such mechanism in France that grassroots could leverage.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 07:58:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see it as persuading the undecided or the swing voters, but creating a new medium that has influence on the rest of the media.

And that can also federate the roots and give them a fresh impulse.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 08:03:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A good comment in this discussion thread about Le Monde's not unreasonable editorial about citizen journalists...

esko : Des vrais journalistes n'accepteraient pas de jouer les faire-valoir les 14 juillet, date où le PR accepte, la SEULE FOIS dans l'année, de répondre (sic) aux questions. Des vrais journalistes refuseraient la Légion d'Honneur. Des vrais journalistes n'accepteraient pas de se faire tutoyer par des hommes politiques. Des vrais journalistes n'accepteraient pas de rester dans un service politique lorsqu'ils couchent avec des politiques. Parmi les plus connus, faites le compte de ceux qui restent...

Real journalists would not accept to play the PR game of the 14 July interview (the only time in the year when the President even accepts to answer questions). Real journalists would refuse the Légion d'honneur. Real journalists would not accept to be tutoyés (spoken to with the familiar "tu" rather than the formal "vous"). Real journalists wouls leave the political dept. of their paper/TV if they slept with a politician. Count how many that leaves amongst well known journalists...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 07:10:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde talked about the malaise of professional commentators and pundits at a time when "anyone can editorialize on Internet"! Well, I hope they do feel malaise. About time. :-)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 07:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry but this is nothing but extreme-left anarchistic standpoints :

the 14th of July exercise is a ritualised press-conference where the president "answers" questions. It's not very different from some WH press-conferences. It's supposed to be softball. Try to ask a nasty question to a US president and you'll never be invited again. Besides Chirac does other press conferences, often abroad and does "answer" questions even from French journalists covering the event. As all presidents do. It's the name of the game in many (all?) countries (even in Nordic countries) so what is the "real journalist" supposed to do ? watch TV and comment ? Mr Clean ?

Refuse the Legion of Honor ? why not abolish it when you are at it. This is only posturing.

the "tutoyer" story is a false debate too. It mainly happens in infotainment's programs when the politician want to show he is "one of the guys"... big deal...

About the last one, there is a real problem. But it concerns only a minority. And nobody can accuse Christine Ockrent or Anne Sinclair of doing a bad job because one is married to Kouchner and the other to DSK.

The author of the comment seems to ignore the fact that the vast majority of French journalists are leaning to the left and the ones on the other side a minority, and a well known one. Too bad if the lefties can't avoid Segolene's blunders. Probably we wouldn't have heard this comment (except from a right-winger) when a socialist is in charge. Normally in the later case the public-service is compared to the Pravda.

Real information, vital information always leak out, sooner or later. For whatever interests it may serve.

I think that the problem with the French media (besides the fact that the system lacks "automatic" transparency like in the Nordic countries, but that's another story) is that French journalists (as many other journalists in other countries) have a very high opinion of themselves and prefer to drink wine at the local Café with their friends and wonder what pun could be the neat one for the latest headline of the article they copy from Reuters or AFP, instead of doing investigating journalism. Because the later is so much harder to do, and in the end the paycheck won't be higher. This is the real problem with journalism, not stories of "tutoiement"and decorations.

by oldfrog on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 10:50:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The tutoiement story arises from the fact that Sarkozy deliberately calls political journalists following his campaign "tu" so as to create a false buddy-buddy atmosphere.

It was discussed on Arrêt sur image last week with Philippe Ridet, who follows NS around for Le Monde. Asked why he accepted this compromising familiarity, Ridet said he personally found it difficult to use the formal "vous" with someone who called him "tu". One wonders how many people, and which ones, he would apply this precept to!?

This is all about "access", and the political figure handing out favours. And journalists playing the game instead of keeping the necessary professional distance.

I don't agree with your final paragraph. True, there is insufficient investigative journalism in France. But your picture of journalists spending their time swigging wine while thinking up puns is yet another of the reactionary stereotypes you like to spout.

Tell us rather about the "automatic" transparence of Nordic journalists. How does that work?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 11:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Swedes have a law where every act related to government (even local) must be public. There are few exceptions like defense and  medical records for example + investigation secrets from police and judges (to protect the presumption of innocence).

which means practically that any journalist can walk up to any public office and ask them to open their files and they cannot deny. Any file entering and leaving an admnistration must have a special number, according a special system. Both the computer/paper file must be archived at least 10 years. If a civil servant "loses" a file, they often get into trouble.

if somebody within a public (or private) office "leaks" information because he/she finds out that something illegal or immoral is happening, that person cannot be prosecuted. If the person remains anonymous which is often the case, it is forbidden in law to try to trace that person.

to go back to the original discussion : the rat game between people of power and journalists has always existed and of course is worse in a non-transparent system (thus the Nordic comparison). Of course there are media whores in France but sometimes I wonder if they get to the level of Judith Miller, not to talk about "creations" like Jeff Gannon. So talking about "vous" and "tu", organized receptions and legion of honors, not mentioning who is sleeping with who is only the top of the iceberg. If the journalist culture was more into investigation and real interrogation about what is really going on, the French media would be better. Whining about "look at the American freedom of press (???)" or the "BBC is best" won't help. When will French journalist organisations act for lawmaking "à la Swedish" ? I bet that 99% of them don't even know it exists.

that was my point and obviously irony isn't understood.  

by oldfrog on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 03:00:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the journalist culture was more into investigation and real interrogation about what is really going on, the French media would be better.

Sure, I agree with that. But I think the main reason is not happening is that the media belong mostly to private interests who have consolidated their power over the last twenty years, and who have no intention of paying people to work as you say.

Sorry if my irony detector was on the blink...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 04:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ridet said he personally found it difficult to use the formal "vous" with someone who called him "tu". One wonders how many people, and which ones, he would apply this precept to!?

I'm like that. Even when I don't feel comfortable using the familiar with someone, if they consistently address me that way I'll start finding my use of the formal somewhat awkward. It might have something to do with the fact that my primary linguistic socialization was in English, but even there you have the first name thing going which I find annoying from people who I don't know and am not interacting with in an informal setting, but I still tend to swallow my discomfort and go along.

by MarekNYC on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 03:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's still a lousy explanation for a professional at Ridet's level to offer for accepting Sarko's patronising behaviour.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 03:58:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Both for phony first names are for inappropriate familiar tu/vous (tu/Vd.).

As the older rock critic reminded the young protagonist in Almost Famous ... they are the enemy (or maybe that was a member of the band telling the protagonist 'you are the enemy').

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 19th, 2007 at 09:21:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You take a literal view to dismiss what are very real problems

  • there are alwmost never hardball questions to politicians, on 14 July or otherwise. But that 14 July interview is symbolic of the sycophantic nature of the top political journalists;

  • the Legion d'Honneur, similarly, is a symptom of political journalists being institutionalised and being fully integrated in the system. Look at who the top names are - they've been around for as long as Chirac, Sarkozy or Royal - or longer. The head of Europe 1 is Elkabbach. His sidekick 25 years ago, Jean-Marie Cavada (until recently, the head of Radio-France, and previously of France Television), is now a MEP for Bayrou's UDF. PPDA is the Establishment's Establishment. Duhamel, who's paying today for having admitted his preference for Bayrou, has been around for more than 20 years. Catherine Nay, Michele Cotta, Anne Sinclair, etc..; have been around for ages. They go on holiday with politicians, sleep with them, are godparents to one another's kids and live the exact same lives in the same circles. And the same goes with the owners of the media, the Bouygues, Lagardère or Dassault families.

  • the "tu" is part of that as well - it reflects that these people know each other too well (and I saw that the two times I was in the Europe 1 studio last month: all of these people are very obviously intimate and friendly with one another, even when in opposite political sides.

  • as to the intimate relationships, it's a LOT more widespread than you pretend. It's pervasise, and most of the insiders know about it, and they protect one another.

And you can call me populist or extreme-lefty all you want, it's your credibility that's at stake when you say that, not mine.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 12:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't call you extreme left, I just state the the writer of the comment falls into that kind of attitude.

The original comment transpires that kind of "rebellious" attitude that the "true journalists" would all be like the people at Charlie Hebdo, the rest is only media whores.

Talk about a simplistic attitude.

I don't go the 14th of July party
I refuse the Legion of Honor
I only say vous to everybody
I immediately resign from my job if my wife goes into politics.

I am a true journalist

by oldfrog on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 03:09:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of simplistic attitudes, you just proved that I'm a wiking. True wikings don't have horned helmets. I don't have a horned helmet, so I am a wiking selon vous.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 03:50:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Charlie Hebdo is not the only newspaper following these rules. Libération, for example had only one journalist that had received the Legion d'Honneur - and that was for a reporter wounded in a war zone.

These rules are basic deontology - do not become a client of the people one is reporting on. Or stop claiming the press is independant.

The Legion d'Honneur was specifically created to make sure the fonctionnaires would obey Napoleon - as a carrot.

Accepting to be entertained by politicians, to get on overly friendly terms with them, does end up making friends of journalists and politicians, even lovers. Friendship is certainly not independance.

This connivence between the aristocracy of French journalists and editorialists and politicians is a large part of the reason politicians rarely get hardball questions that are followed upon. One simply doesn't verbally assault a friend.

Indeed if Royal is getting such a rough treatment in the media, it might be because she didn't have the sort of friendships Sarkozy depends on, (with people like Elkabbach), or Strauss-Kahn or Fabius would have had.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 03:56:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm  not sure if the French media are any better in this regard than the American media. It's difficult to determine, however, because of the different nature of the two country's elites - the French ones are far less ideological.  There isn't the genuine ideological commitment to neo-liberal socio-economic policy, and in foreign affairs they're both less ideological (Bush I, not Bush II) and much more limited due to France having less power to get stuff done. Chirac and co. remind me a lot more of big city political machines writ large than the Cheney, DeLay, Norquist, AEI, et al. American right wing machine. They're in it for the perks, the power, and the money but not into anything more.

That said, Jerome has already pointed out that the French media is dominated by government infrastructure and defense contractors - the French equivalents of Bechtel and Lockheed Martin. I've also noticed a rather annoying lack of critical curiousity as to France's policies and actions in Africa - the one place where France does resemble the US imperialist model.

Furthermore the incestuousness of America's journalists and politicians is somewhat offset by the fact that the Republican political elites to a certain degree come from a different social milieu than the journalistic ones, the latter tend to emerge from the sort of big metro area bourgeoisie educated at elite institutions that resembles the French model. The latter are more liekly to be from geographically dispersed local business elites.

by MarekNYC on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 03:55:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the fact that current Minister for the Economy, and sarkophile,  Thierry Breton flatly stated that Sarkozy's promise to lower taxes could not be acted upon before 2010. That was somehow not seen as a couac, as commentary focused on his critique of Royal's programme cost.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 05:33:27 AM EST
Right, I forgot that one. And Sarko's chief spokesperson, François Fillon, saying the 4-points-of-GDP promise was to be understood as spread over two five-year mandates, thus pre-empting on the election to follow...

As you say, the media don't count any of this as the least false note in Sarko's campaign. There are no false notes in Sarko's campaign.

This morning on France Inter, journalists Roland Mihail and Pierre Weil mocked François Hollande when he called for Socialists to unite in support of SR: Is that a cry of "Help!"?

I'm not a betting man, and I have no idea of what may happen. But I have the feeling that Sarko is a bit too close to overweening pride at the moment, and that this one-way media narrative will end up by being too obvious. Turning-point soon?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 06:04:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it'll be those public radio journalists turn to cry for help when Sarko is prez. I'll just laugh, "too late, guys, you asked for it !".
by balbuz on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 08:00:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Comment Royal règne sur Dailymotion (Le Figaro)

Quatre vidéos sur Ségolène Royal figurent au « top 10 » mensuel du site de partage de vidéos « Dailymotion ». Toutes ont été publiées par l'équipe Désirs d'avenir - du nom des clubs de la candidate socialiste - de Seine-Saint-Denis, qui a mis en ligne 110 vidéos, vues par plus de 11 millions de spectateurs. Une initiative comparable existe à droite. Mais, avec ses 87 vidéos, BlogUMP ne représente que 7 % de l'audience de l'équipe Royal.

Four videos about Ségolène Royal are in the ten most views on "DailyMotion", a video sharing site. They were all posted by the Seine-Saint Denis [the département near Paris which concentrates a lot of "suburbs"] team of Désirs d'Avenir, the online movmeent that supports Ségolène Royal. That team has posted 110 videos, which have been viewed 11 million times. Similar videos are posted on the right, but Blog UMP, with 87 videos, only reaches 7% of the audience of the Royal team.

« Ce n'est pas un hasard si les vidéos les plus regardées correspondent aux sujets les plus délaissés par les grands médias », souligne-t-il sur son blog. De fait, les sujets les plus regardés ne sont pas les parodies et autres bêtisiers qui pullulent sur Dailymotion, mais des débats en Alsace ou à Bondy, jamais diffusés à la télévision.

"It's not by chance that the most viewed videos are those about topics ignored by the mass media", underlines André Gunthert on his blog. The most watched topics are not jokes or parodies (which are very numerous on DailyMotion), but the debates in Alsace and in Bondy, which were never shown on TV

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 09:27:15 AM EST

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