Monday, February 19, 2007

The election will not be televised [not by Duhamel, that is]

Interesting story last week about Alain Duhamel, respected French television journalist who was sacked for revealing who he would vote for in the upcoming presidential election. Here's the story, as recounted by someone more familiar with the case than I [thanks Ben!]:

Duhamel writes editorials for newspaper, he is a journalist and a political
interviewer on RTL (the French radio with the largest audience) and on
France 2.

The basic story is: last November this journalist is invited to talk at a
small conference by some students (young members of Bayrou’s party the UDF)
at Sciences Po in Paris (the equivalent of the LSE for France some would
say). In the course of his speech he negligently mentions that he intends to
vote for Bayrou in the next presidential election. He claims not to have
known that the conference was being videotaped. At the beginning of
February, the students put the video on their website and on, a few blogs mention it, but no one seems to pay attention
to it. Yesterday morning, the video had only been seen 265 times. That’s
when Guy Birenbaum puts the video on his blog (he is a very complex figure,
he has a PhD in political science with a thesis on the Front National and is
officially a political science professor at a French University although he
doesn’t teach anymore, he created his own publishing company where he
publishes mainly essays that would not be accepted by other companies
because of their polemical content, he writes editorials for different
medias and polemical books, and has a blog with a wide audience). Soon the
information that Duhamel votes for Bayrou appears on the website of all the
big medias (le Figaro, le Monde, LibĂ©ration…) and arguing that Duhamel now
lacks the independence needed to do his job he is suspended, first from
France 2 and then from RTL. He was actually scheduled to interview Bayrou on
France 2 yesterday evening. The whole thing started a big buzz about the
independence of journalists... and about the impact of
internet compared to traditional media.

No comments: