Sarko and the French Media

By Dotcomabc

Jul 25, 2008 8:35pm

While media critics naval-gaze about the American media’s coverage of Sen. Barack Obama’s international adventures, there was a pretty interesting dynamic to behold with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the ravenous French media.

“France is happy to welcome Barack Obama, first of all because he is American, and the French love the Americans,” Sarko said.

Whereupon the French media burst into laughter.

“Now, if I weren’t to say this they’d have been disappointed,” Sarko quipped.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour then grabbed the floor. “Mr. President Sarkozy, you know that in France, the presence of Barack Obama and what he’s done in terms of breaking the barriers in the United States has sort of made a resurgence. The black people in France are very proud and very hopeful for their future. They also live many of them in poor situations and you know you’ve had your own riots here and protests and disturbances in the [...] city.”

Amanpour continued, “At one point, when we were covering those riots, when you were interior ministry, you called the rioters scum. And I am wondering if you feel today when you stand next to someone you so much admire, and who has broken so many barriers that you regret that term or wish you hadn’t said it?”

An odd question, to say the least. Maybe I missed the point, bit it seemed she was saying that Sarkozy had once insulted dark-skinned rioting Frence immigrant youth, but here he was standing with an accomplished African-American, and isn’t that weird and doesn’t he feel like an idiot?

Or something like that.

Sarkozy’s response dripped with sarcasm.

“I congratulate you, Madame, on your exceptional knowledge of French political life and your contribution to friendship between people,” he said. “But precisely things change because there were certain things that weren’t right and I’m very pleased, Madame, you’re speaking in front of Barack about a situation that existed before I was President …

“I’d like you to appreciate not one single shot was fired by the police in France. The only innocent person was a member of the police. But, since my election, there have been no riots because we have put into place a development plan which is considerable. … The political adventure of Barack Obama is not just simply reserved for that great country of the United States. … I don’t know if it was to please me, but your question really pleased me. Do come back, thank you.”

C’est strange.

- jpt

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