April 6, 2012

François Hollande and the Power of the Media

François Hollande
It was Oscar Wilde—not a short-sighted anti-freedom-of-speech reactionary—who said, back in 1890, “In the old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press.” “That is an improvement certainly,” he continued, “[b]ut still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralising. Somebody—was it Burke?—called Journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time, no doubt. But at the present moment it really is the only estate. […] We are dominated by Journalism. In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever.“

Well, he was definitely right, but what was true more than a century ago is even truer today with the additional support of cable and satellite television, internet access, etc. Whether you like it or not, the media have never been more influential than they are today, that’s for sure. To the point that they seem persuaded that most people have the same disposition as sheep… Take the case of France, where, as Mirino says in this post over at Viewfinder, they are confident of their divine power to influence public opinion in order to promote the election of a socialist candidate and government next month. “One notes that since Nicholas Sarkozy was elected in 2007,” he says, “certain media have constantly worked against him, discrediting him and denigrating his considerable efforts and accomplishments during one of the most difficult economic crisis in history.”

But François Hollande—the Socialist candidate for president of France who has virtually been “fabricated by the media and programmed to win the next elections”—besides being probably “a calculator and an opportunist” (if we look at the way he handled the DSK affair), is a politician who has never had any ministerial experience, and a man whose ideas are “totally unrealistic, isolationist and irresponsible.”

All this and much more in the above linked post, for which, I must confess, I bear some responsibility… A heartfelt thank you to my good friend Mirino for such an informative and insightful look into what is going on in French politics.


  1. You just need to go across the Atlantic and look at the way the press has dealt with Mr.-can-do-no-wrong Obama....

  2. Obviously the wielding power of the media and their 'holier than thou' attitude with their readers and commentators, is not limited to any one country. The only way one might be able to do something about it, is to publicly expose it, point out the incoherences, and finally manifest one's distrust.
    For example, this article was published in the Express in 2007, the year when Sarkozy was elected. Since then the Express has gradually invested its efforts in working against Sarkozy, in order to promote a socialist candidate for the presidential elections.
    Hollande, ironically, is the result.
    For those who can read French, this was the last comment I wrote for the Express. They obviously felt that they couldn't remove it (although they have censored much milder, comments of mine).

    'Avant que ce commentaire qui sera mon dernier sur l'Express, ne soit retiré, j'aimerais souligner que j'estime que l'Express fait parti des media responsables du niveau peu louable de la tenue des présidentielles.Tout le monde est bien conscient de ce matraquage antisarkoziste injustifié qui dure maintenant depuis des années.Si aujourd'hui on assume le droit d'insulter gratuitement et sans vergogne le Président, c'est probablement la conséquence de l'œuvre irresponsable des medias intéressés. Quant à 'l'image' de Hollande, c'est absurdement retouchée, ce qui ne peut que renforcer l'idée de la fabrication médiatique du candidat socialiste.'

    Many thanks Rob for linking to The Dutch nightingale and for your kind comments regarding it.