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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

French journalist Vanessa Burggraf gives Philippe Poutou a lesson on how to humiliate a presidential candidate…without trying too hard

Media bashing has, in the wake of The Donald’s tediously repetitive “fake news” and “alternative facts” diatribe, become something of a recurring theme in the French presidential election.

Some supporters of the centre-right (although there’s not too much “centre” about him) candidate François Fillon, have been only too keen to lay the blame for the so-called Penelopegate affair (charges that Fillon had employed his wife, Penelope,  as a parliamentary assistant for the modest sum of €900,000 for work that was perhaps never done) at the proverbial door of journalists. The controversy has highlighted the shameful (but, it has to be said, not illegal in France) practice of disabusing tax-payers’ money and prompted the judiciary to get involved.

And the far-right’s Marine Le Pen…well, she’s more in the mould of The Donald in launching regular barbs concerning biased reporting or insufficient media coverage for the Front National while at the same time popping up whenever invited on prime time news to polish and preen her electoral image.

Journalists in cahoots with the political classes? Well, it makes for good fodder and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true (or fake or even an alternative fact). Most pundits would agree that the French are generally pretty cheesed off with their elected (national) representatives as a whole (and who can blame them?)

Vanessa Burggraf (screenshot "On n'es pas couché")

And an event on Saturday evening, will surely for many, only “add grist to the mill” (love a good cliché) that journalists and politicians are in their own little Parisian bubble - far away from the concerns of the general electorate.

It happened during a segment of Laurent Ruquier’s weekly talk show on France 2, “On n'est pas couché”.

The invited political guest was one of the so-called “minor candidates” in a field that currently boasts a total of 49  (although not all of them are expected to be able to gather the required signatures to be able to stand) Philippe Poutou from the far-left Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste.

Philippe Poutou (screenshot "On n'est pas couché")

One of Rouquier’s regular interviewers, Vanessa Burggraf, proved her full journalistic credentials in posing a question about the role of company bosses in preventing redundancies but somehow never managed to wrap her lips around what she really wanted to ask, especially after she was interrupted by the show’s host.

There then followed over two minutes of buffoonery from Burggraff, Ruquier and others as Poutou looked on, bemused and evidently uncomfortable. After all, his party - and it doesn’t matter what you think about its policies - is one the declares itself to “look after the little guy”.

Complete humiliation for Poutou, totally shameful on the part of Burgraff and Ruquier and simply unnecessary.

After all, the recorded segment could simply have been edited. But it wasn’t.

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