When I became a student again back in 2013 I took the opportunity to benefit from a very attractive student discount on the nation’s daily, Le Monde. For a mere 16€ a month I could get it 6 days a week, including the magazine on Saturdays, and get into the habit of keeping abreast of French news, politics and opinion while improving my level of French.
However, in recent months, perhaps as my understanding of French politics has improved, I have become a little concerned with the political agenda of the editorial team, leading me to ditch my daily subscription in favour of a weekly one in the hope that their machinations will become less obvious.
What am I talking about? Well, Le Monde is supposed to be centre-left leaning in its politics. That is largely supportive of a social agenda, balanced with practical economics. A position which I applaud. Or at least would, if they actually wrote articles that made you think as much.
Since the election of Macron, Le Monde appear to have decided that they are more socialist than republican and that Macron is more republican than socialist – and he therefore must go at the next election. This is evident in the daily attacks on his administration, often based on little more than rumour or a dodgy ‘opinion poll’ they have put to the public.
Indeed, things had become so obviously anti-Macron over the summer that the paper was forced to defend its coverage of the Benalla “affair” – when thousands of column centimetres were dedicated to the relationship Macron’s security man had had with members of the government, following being caught on camera beating up protesters in May.
When you have been in France for some time you know that any changes to legislation do not take effect until January 1st of the following year, yet Le Monde have consistently attacked Macron for a lack of results – full well knowing that at least 12 months are required following any new law change to objectively assess its impact.
While the editorial team may be hoping that Macron’s failure at the next Presidential elections might provoke the renaissance of the now almost extinct PS (Socialist Party) I fear that it will simply push wavering voters into the arms of Marine Le Penn’s re-branded National Front and Melanchon’s Rebels – the two populist, anti-immigration parties.
But, as Valls’ absurd departure for Spain shows, where he hopes to be elected mayor of Barcelona, the likelihood of a Socialist revival before the next presidential elections is remote.
I don’t think Macron deserves any special treatment, however if your paper’s political stance is supposed to match that of the man in power – it seems absurd to spend so much time and energy attempting to destabilise him, certainly when there is no alternative that you would actively support.
(What’s most worrying about this is the decline of proper journalism, perhaps typified in a recent back-page editorial that had been all but copy-pasted from the BBC!)
For the time being I remain hopeful that Le Monde will understand where the path they are treading eventually leads and tone down their criticism of perhaps the only man in Europe currently capable of keeping Europe together. If not, I will be cancelling my subscription and joining La Republic en Marche!