When the 4th Power flirts with Politics

Journalists have always been expected to convey news with exacting neutrality. However, measuring objectivity is not an easy task when the media are equivocal about their party alliances.

Obama against Fox’s editorial policy

White House staffers have officially declared war upon Fox, the network that never gave them a fair shake. The TV channel is accused of raising criticism of Obama’s reforms and having Republicans to fan the flame. The tumultuous relationship between Obama and Fox is old as the hills. Last July, Fox host Glen Beck said Obama was a racist with deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.

This month, the straw that broke the camel’s back was a story line about anti-Obama protesters at congressional town hall meetings. The White House felt that Fox was trying to illustrate how unpopular Obama’s healthcare proposals are by reporting this news. They also believe that the news report was inexact.
Anita Dunn, Obama spokeswoman was recently interviewed on CNN. She poured her heart out:

The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party. Let’s not pretend they’re a news organization like CNN is.
When he [Obama] goes on FOX, he understands he’s not going on, it really isn’t a news network at this point, he’s going to debate the opposition and that’s fine.

When Obama was asked to comment on is spokeswoman remarks, he compared Fox News to a vulgar talk-radio show:

And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing. And if it’s operating as a news outlet than that’s another. But it’s not something I’m losing a lot of sleep over.

Excuse my french…
The saga between media and politic is not an American speciality. French president Sarkozy could write a novel about his love-hate relationship with the media.
Every Monday to Friday at 7:55 p.m., the TV network Canal + broadcasts a satirical show called Les Guignols de l’Info (News Puppets). On the latex puppet show, Sarkozy is often parodied as a Joe Dalton, hot-tempered leader with a rolex on one side and a brainless Barbie at the other (Carla-Bruni Sarkzoy).

Nicolas et autres - Les guignols de l'info

Sarkozy and others - Les guignols de l'info

The press is no exception to burlesque remarks. The independent newspaper Le Canard Enchainé also regularly dedicates their cover to the French President. At first sight, the Canard looks like a comic with all these funny black-and-white sketches; but don’t get fooled by the simplistic design. Wednesday’s satirical newspaper hasn’t used up its biting observations. The president can often be seen with a M-shaped hairstyle that gives him a diabolic look.
When it comes to its political decisions, they are often put under a microscope and largely weighed up. The newspaper operates with an elevated writing style that contrasts sharply with gossip magazines.

Nicolas et Carla-Bruni Sarkozy dans Le Canard Enchainé

Nicolas and Carla-Bruni Sarkozy in Le Canard Enchainé

But Sarkozy doesn’t only have enemies. In the 80’s Sarkozy forged ties to influential people. He used his position as a mayor to network with businessmen and media moguls. Last year, Spiegel Online published a list of his most loyal friends:

– Martin Bouygues controls TF1, the largest TV broadcaster in France
– Serge Dassault: the Dassault’s group owns 82% of Socpresse which controls the major French daily Le Figaro as well as l’Express. He used to be a client of Sarkozy’s law firm.
– Arnaud Lagardère: he partially owns the book-publishing arm of Vivendi Universal. He also has shares in CanalSat, the digital satellite that owns the Canal + Group.
– Vincent Bolloré: he has under his belt a TV broadcaster (Direct 8), free daily newspapers (Direct Soir and Matin Plus) and possesses shares in two ad companies.

Here’s your bonus:

Obama's puppet from Les Guignols de l'Info

Obama's puppet from Les Guignols de l'Info

Sources: Fox News, Huffington Post, Spiegel Online
Picture credit: sarkostique.over-blog.com, embruns.net, ozap.com, 24heures.ch, purepeople.com

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