Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Fascist!"

Christian Estrosi compares Mediapart to the extreme-right gutter press of the 1930s, and Xavier Bertrand, eschewing such historical subtlety, calls the site "fascist." Press historian Christian Delporte looks at the history of scandal-mongering by the French press, in particular the suicides of two ministers, Roger Salengro in 1936 and Pierre Bérégovoy under Mitterrand:

Concernant Salengro, « ce n'est pas comparable » car « il n'y avait pas d'enquête judiciaire, uniquement de la calomnie », rappelle l'historien :
« Là, Mediapart prolonge une enquête judiciaire en interrogeant cette ancienne comptable qui s'est déjà confiée à la police.
De toute façon, à chaque fois qu'un homme politique est atteint personnellement dans une enquête, on sort l'épouvantail Salengro, la calomnie qui finit par détruire un homme et aboutit à son suicide. »
A propos de la mort de Bérégovoy, Christian Delporte trouve aussi la comparaison peu pertinente. Pour deux raisons :
« Dans un cas, il s'agissait d'une affaire de prêt personnel. Dans l'autre, il est question du financement d'un parti politique et d'une éventuelle violation de la loi. Ce n'est pas Woerth en personne, mais le financement de la campagne électorale de tout un parti, l'UMP, et de Nicolas Sarkozy.
A mon sens, Mediapart a fait son métier. On peut aussi rappeler à M. Estrosi que la droite de l'époque avait exploité les articles du Canard Enchaîné sur Bérégovoy. »

6 comments:

Kirk said...

And Mediapart is suing for slander for the "fascist" bit. Are they that thin-skinned? And can they actually get away with a slander accusation for something like that? Seems a bit tenuous.

Wow, imagine if one could do that in the US. Fox News would go out of business.

Anonymous said...

It's different here. Mediapart is not "fascist", so Xavier Bertrand declarations are unlawful (diffamation, because Mediapart is doing journalism, not inquisition).

But, it's standard operating procedure between politics / people and medias. Bettencourt and Maistre have also sued for diffamation other medias. It's not something very important (worst outcome is a fine).

Kirk said...

OK, Mediapart is doing their job; I'm a big supporter of investigative journalism. (However, "fascist" is an opinion, so, for me, their case isn't that solid.)

However...

Do you _really_ think this whole thing - whether it's true or not - isn't being orchestrated by the socialists? Why would this person go to Mediapart, a relatively new, left-leaning web site, with this news? Why are the "revelations" well spaced out, one per day? This is clearly a well-planned campaign.

I'm not saying that it's not true; the truth will out (or may out) eventually. I'm just saying that the way it's being presented is obviously manipulative.

And, as I said earlier in a comment on another post, the socialists should be very careful here. My guess is that Bettencourt gave money to more than one party, as has been seen in similar cases in the past. The socialists may end up shooting themselves in their collective feet if it turns out that some of the money went to them.

Unknown said...

Kirk,
Two points. Edwy Plenel of Mediapart is hardly a friend of the Socialists. He is a former Trotskyist. While editor of Le Monde, he exposed scandals under Mitterrand and was subject to eavesdropping by Mitterrand's spooks. He is a leftwing muckraker but not a party hack. And the latest exposé, published in L'Express, comes from an editor rumored to be a close friend of Carla Bruni, Christophe Barbier.

Kirk said...

I didn't think that Plenel was that far left. I still have no doub that, given that Mediapart is somewhat young, they're using this to get attention.

Anonymous said...

We can also add that young internet medias are the most likely to publish news and scandal in France.

They want publicity, and they check their source a lot (an error, a rumor, and they are out of business). So they will hunt affairs like that to raise attention (and public).

But the first to report this story was l'express, which is the one who reveal the tape of the personnel.