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A.P. Scare Report: A 'Brutal' Socialist Future Facing France

 

Reading, watching and listening to the mainstream media in America, it gets harder and harder to tell the difference between journalism and rank propaganda. Consider the coverage of the French parliamentary election currently underway.

Most Americans who read newspapers probably learned about this via the Associated Press report that went out on the weekend for Monday’s papers (AP is the de facto “foreign correspondent” for almost every newspaper in America now that all but a few papers have eliminated their foreign reporting staffs). It stated that recently elected Socialist President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party “stands positioned to take control of the lower house of parliament.”

Okay so far, right? But then the reporter, Elaine Ganley, who may well have been writing from the US given that the article, as it appeared in my paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, didn’t carry a Paris dateline, or indeed any dateline at all, went on to say “...so he can revamp a country his partisans see as too capitalist for the French."

Ganley went on to warn readers that “A leftist victory in the voting, five weeks after Hollande took office, would brutally jar the French political landscape.”

Whoa! Last time I looked, “brutally” was a word reserved for nasty over-the-top abusive behavior.

Hollande "partisans" cheering the election of France's first Socialist president in 17 yearsHollande "partisans" cheering the election of France's first Socialist president in 17 years

 

I suspect that the hundreds of thousands of Parisian “partisans” who poured into the streets around the Bastille on learning of Hollande’s victory would not consider their victory “brutal” for France. In fact, if anything, they would probably say that the experience of several years of austerity and a raising of the French retirement age by the ousted conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy was what was brutal.

Would Ganley have described the election of conservative Jacques Chirac as president following the second and final term of the last French Socialist president, Francois Mitterrand, as “brutally jarring” for the French political landscape? Hardly! In fact, an AP report on that election to replace Mitterrand, who was legally barred from running for a third term, said that the victor, conservative former prime minister and Paris mayor Jacques Chirac, “was elected by people who wanted a change.” Indeed Chirac, who after leaving office was convicted of epic corruption, was widely hailed in the US press upon his initial election. A reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 1995 on the crowds celebrating his victory and predicted that his government would “concentrate on the battle against unemployment and the problem of ‘the excluded,’ those who are outside the mainstream of France's economic and political system.” The change from Socialist to Conservative government was described as “dramatic,” not as “brutal.”

The Los Angeles Times called his 1995 election “a formidable force for change” in France.

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