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French press review 4 August 2018

The American President Donald Trump continues his war against journalists, those purveyors of fake news and ill-founded criticism. French leader Emmanuel Macron is on holidays, but has plenty to think about. The computer and phone designer Apple becomes the richest company in history.

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Donal Trump's war against the media is beginning to worry some of the news industry's biggest names, Le Monde reports.

The television channel CNN and the daily paper the New York Times, both qualified by the American president as "enemies of the people", have warned that Trump is creating a climate of hate in which their reporters are finding it difficult to work.

Last week Trump supporters disrupted a live report from CNN's White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, shouting "CNN is crap" and "Stop telling lies". A few days earlier, one of Acosta's colleagues was refused access to a White House press conference. Acosta says someone is going to get hurt.

The president, who is campaigning for the mid-term elections due in November, continues to target a certain sector of the US media, wondering "What has happened to our free press. Where are all the honest journalists?" Trump believes that some reporters refuse to mention his successes, concentrating instead on painting a black picture of his presidency.

Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times, warned Trump of the dangers of his anti-press rhetoric during an off-the-record meeting at the White House. Trump then tweeted about the meeting several days later. 

The president says reporters are putting lives at risk, and not just their own, by revealing the internal workings of his administration. But he admits that not all journalists are enemies of the people -just the vast majority who insist on publishing what he considers "fake news".

Enjoy your few days off

The editorial in right-wing Le Figaro wonders what French President Emmanuel Macron will do during his two-week summer holiday.

Worry, is the short answer.

French economic growth is going to be weaker than predicted this year; oil prices are on the way up; inflation is panting on the doorstep.

Unemployment figures continue to climb. The boost to national pride and prestige provided by the French World Cup win seems like a distant memory.

There's plenty to think about. Especially for a president who promised that the effects of his leadership would take 18 months or two years to be felt. Time is running out.

Macron has only one option, according to Le Figaro: he must attack state spending. Let's have fewer civil servants, less tax, fewer constraints, it says.

And let's have clear answers to such divisive social questions as who can benefit from medically assisted conception and the place of Islam in France.

It sounds like a lot for one man to sort out in just two weeks.

The richest company in the world

The computer company Apple this week became the first business in history to be worth more than one million million dollars. Le Monde asks how it happened and what, exactly, it means.

To answer the second question first, one trillion dollars (one followed by 12 zeros, or 864 billion euros) is more than the combined value of the top 10 companies on the Paris stock exchange.

It would be enough to buy a house for every man, woman and child in Ireland, my native country, where property prices are notoriously exaggerated. It is more than Mexico can produce in a year, or twice the gross domestic product of Belgium.

It's one hell of a pile of boodle.

Le Monde is less clear on the first question, which can be resumed as "How did a company which began in a California garage 42 years ago get to be worth so much?"

Ingenuity, innovation and genius are clearly parts of the answer. But so are tax avoidance and an ability to ignore the dismal working conditions of the thousands of Asians who slave to produce Apple phones and computers.

And we're not finished with these tech companies which have more money than many states. Le Monde points out that Amazon, Google and Microsoft are well on the way to the same trillion-dollar financial status as Apple.

Editor's note: this article was corrected on 8 August 2018. Arthur Gregg Sulzberger is the publisher, not the owner, of the New York Times. It was not in a letter that Sulzberger warned Trump of the dangers of his anti-press rhetoric, as previously stated, but rather during an off-the-record meeting at the White House on 20 July.

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