“I hate to be photographed with words that are not mine,” Mr. Macron told me, and after a wave of complaints from readers and an angry appeal from Mr. Macron’s office, the Financial Times withdrew the Internet article – a spokesperson. , Kristina Eriksson, said she doesn’t remember the post ever making it before. The next day, the newspaper published a letter from Mr. Macron attacking the deleted article.
At the end of October, Politico Europe also deleted an opinion article, “The dangerous French religion of secularism”, which it had requested from a French sociologist. The play sparked a firestorm from critics who said the writer blamed victims of terrorism. But the hasty suppression prompted the author to complain of “outright censorship.” Politico Europe editor Stephen Brown said the timing of the post after the attack was inappropriate, but apologized to the author for removing it without an explanation. He did not cite any specific errors. It was also the first time, he said, that Politico wrote an opinion piece.
But the French complaints go beyond these opinion pieces and attentive journalism that questions government policy. A skeptical Washington Post analysis by Paris correspondent James McAuley, “Instead of fighting systemic racism, France wants to ‘reform Islam’,” raised sharp objections for its raised eyebrow at the idea that “Instead of attacking the alienation of French Muslims, ‘The French Government’ aims to influence the practice of a 1,400-year-old faith. The New York Times contrasted Mr. Macron’s ideological response with the Austrian Chancellor’s more “conciliatory” speech after a terrorist attack, and noted that the isolated young men who carry out attacks do not fit perfectly with government attention to extremist networks. In the Times opinion pages, an editorial asked bluntly: “Is France fueling Muslim terrorism by trying to prevent it?”
And then, of course, there are the tweets. The Associated Press deleted a tweet that asked why France “incites” anger in the Muslim world, saying it was the wrong word choice for an article explaining the anger against France in the Muslim world. The New York Times was roasted on Twitter and in the pages of Le Monde for a headline – which appeared briefly amid the chaos of the beheading – “French Police Shoot, Kill Man After Fatal Knife Attack In Street” . The Times headline quickly changed when French police confirmed details, but the screenshot stuck.
“It’s as if we were in the smoking ruins of Ground Zero and they said we had planned it,” complained Mr. Macron’s spokesperson, Anne-Sophie Bradelle, to Le Monde.
As any observer of American politics knows, it can be difficult to disentangle the theatrical outrage and screaming Twitter matches from the real differences in values. Mr Macron argues that there are big questions at the heart of the problem.
“There is a kind of misunderstanding about what the European model is, and the French model in particular,” he said. “American society was segregationist before moving to a multiculturalist model, which is essentially based on the coexistence of different ethnicities and religions side by side.