Amid a growing scandal involving Labour Minister Eric Woerth, in which new revelations seemingly appear daily, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s already tense relations with the French press are being further strained.
Nicolas Sarkozy and the press
June 2006. The editor of Paris Match (Lagardère Group) Alain Genestar is forced to resign after posting a photo of the president’s second wife Cecilia Sarkozy with her lover and future husband.
January 2008. The publication director of the newspaper Libération, Laurent Joffrin, is snubbed by Nicolas Sarkozy during a press conference.
January 2010. The secretary general of the Elysee, Claude Gueant, denounced as "reckless really guilty" the two France 3 journalists taken hostage in Afghanistan.
June 2010. Two journalists placed under investigation following a complaint from Elysee Palace. Rue89 had broadcast a video showing Nicolas Sarkozy on the offensive, even aggressive, ahead of a debate on France 3.
June 2010. During a meeting with the director of "Le Monde", Nicolas Sarkozy seeks to influence the paper’s corporate investors.
On July 7, at the height of the scandal, when the online news service Mediapart published multiple reports of impropriety implicating French cabinet members (including allegations that implicated French President Nicolas Sarkozy directly), several voices among Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party reacted with particular ferocity.
The party's Secretary General Xavier Bertrand was among those who pounced on the allegations and slammed the "fascist methods" of the press.
In contrast, just five days later, Sarkozy invited France's most popular TV news presenter, France 2's David Pujadas, to the Élysée Palace for a rare summertime interview during which the president used considerably tamer language to reaffirm support for his embattled labour minister, Eric Woerth.
On that occasion the president controlled every detail: the setting, the time, and the topics. Sarkozy was at his smooth, urbane best, seemingly supremely confident during the interview itself and dominating the exchange.
Provocation and domination: two methods that speak volumes about the complex relationship between President Sarkozy and journalists.
News agencies squaring up
Date created : 2010-07-21