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French press review 25 January 2017

The Truth of the False" is the front page story on left leaning Libération. This hot button topic is what's lately become know as "post truth". 


Libé's front page image is of newly installed US President Donald Trump looking stern as make-up artists armed with brushes work on his face which, like his bouffant hair, is a curious and now familiar shade of orange.

"Lies, rumours, slanders, Donald Trump, like the advocates of Brexit, has brought political communication into an era of uncomplicated intoxication where "alternative facts" supplant information."

Libé devotes four inside pages to the issue, including its editorial, entitled "Flute Player."

Quite why escapes me.

The problem, says Libé, is that many critics of journalism are in no way lovers of facts.

They only want to substitute what they denounce as "official truth" for their own truths, which are above all the crude translation of their ideological prejudices.

If we postulate that there are no facts but only interpretations the tweets of Donald Trump take as much strength and credibility as New York Times' articles.

No one can see this as progress, the paper argues.

Journalism must focus on its elementary values, Libé cautions, the cross-checking of information, citation of sources, verification of facts and immediate correction of errors as soon as they are detected.

Or, to put it another way, Seek Truth from Facts.

Who said that? The late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on a visit to France 40 years ago.

Right wing le Figaro continues to relish the spectacle of the Socialist party's stumbling quest for a Presidential credible candidate in the Spring election.

A Head of state dissuaded from running by his own camp, a Prime Minister who tries his luck and a chancer who seems to be on the way to winning, is the paper's thumbnail sketch.

"Decidedly, the five year's in office of François Hollande, which never sparkled, ends in the most complete confusion," it chortles.

And, the coming days might not make any sense - especially if it is confirmed that the organisers of the poll artificially inflated the figures of participation in the first round of voting - it's the misery of a failing party.

Post truth again - perhaps.

If we understand Manuel Valls Benoît Hamon is a public danger to the country, which is quite true.

If one understands Benoît Hamon, Manuel Valls is a crypto-liberal, which is false.

The truth, say le Figaro, is that they are both socialists and embody the two sides of a French left which has still not reached its Bad-Godesberg.

I didn't understand that reference either so I looked it up.

The Godesberg Program set the political course of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in November 1959 in the town of Bad Godesberg which is today part of Bonn.

It signalled a fundamental change in the goals of the SPD, rejecting the overthrow of capitalism and abandoning Marxist theories of materialism and class struggle.

So now we know.

But do French Socialists ?

The front page lede of the popular daily le Parisien promises an exclusive report on what it calls "the map of radicalisation".

The paper tells us that between 15,000 and 16,000 radical Islamists are identified in a dossier of individuals warranting surveillance.

A third of them are in what's known as the Isle de France, that's to say Paris and neighbouring areas.

The list is long but the paper's editorial reassures us that not all are suicide bombers or terrorists.

And, "We mustn't forget the millions of Muslims in our country don't share the fantasies of extremists or their delusional interpretation of Islam," the paper says.

Which comes as relief in these troubled times.




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