Call to block Marine Le Pen, the dilemma of the media

ASSEMBLY THE HUFFPOST

The front pages of “Inrock” and “L’Obs” published between the two presidential rounds in 2022, as well as that of “Libé” dated May 7, 2017, the day before the 2nd round of the presidential election .

PRESIDENTIAL – Call (or not) to vote for Emmanuel Macron? This is the question that many media have asked themselves in this between-two rounds of the 2022 presidential election. A choice that seems more difficult than in 2017.

Some very early positioned themselves against Marine Le Pen. This is the case of Mondewhere the director of the newspaper Jérôme Fénoglio took up his pen the day after the first round, on April 11, to encourage his readers to vote Emmanuel Macron.

“The election of Marine Le Pen as President of the Republic would constitute an attack on the rule of law, a regression in taking into account the climate catastrophe, a revision of our external alliances at the worst time, while the the atrocious war imposed by Vladimir Putin on Ukraine completes the unveiling of the true nature of a regime with which the candidate has been so complacent”, he wrote in an editorialrenewing its opposition to Marine Le Pen, as in 2017.

This is not a surprise for the historian of the media, Isabelle Veyrat-Masson. “Historically, thehe newspaper is intrinsically committed, it has always had a political color”, she recalls, quoting The Gazetteone of the first titles (it was founded in 1631) to cover the action of the then Prime Minister, Cardinal Richelieu.

The “at the same time” of the media

But since 1631, the media have obviously evolved a lot. Thus, in newsrooms, there are two types of journalists: on the one hand those who are in search of neutrality and on the other hand those for whom objectivity is impossible to achieve and who defend opinion journalism.

These two visions of the profession collide in this in-between time when debating the position to adopt as a media. This explains why some media do not give clear instructions. ”The position taken by a media outlet risks causing divisions within the editorial staff itself, which again is something that should not be overlooked”, analyzes Isabelle Veyrat-Masson. Pushing the editorial staff to do “At the same time”.

Thereby, Le Figaro did not call to block the RN candidate. In an editorial published April 10, the editorial director Alexis Brézet “wished” the re-election of the president against a Marine Le Pen on the “dangerously unfunded” program, without however launching a call for a vote. This text was signed in his own name and did not commit the entire editorial staff. A detail far from trivial.

A dilemma for journalists… and shareholders

A decision that is sometimes not only the responsibility of journalists. To Mariannethe society of editors denounced on April 19 the “interference” of the majority shareholder Daniel Kretinsky who came to “modify the front page” devoted to the between-two-rounds.

Instead of “Anger…or Chaos?” chosen by the editorial staff, readers discovered on the front page “Despite the anger…avoiding the chaos”. A different message than that initially decided, which was intended to “make a factual distinction between the two candidates without dictating their conduct to our readers”, explained the SRM in a press release.

The editorial director, Natacha Polony responded on Twitter, believing that the title of the final version “translates the journalistic reading that Marianne fact of the political situation in France, developed in the editorial of the newspaper”.

Giving voting instructions to readers also means risking losing some of them, disappointed by the position taken by the newspaper. And at a time when paper sales are down, such a decision is not without risk.

“The press has become more and more objective in order to increase its readership. It has every interest in remaining so to keep it, in the midst of an economic crisis”, continues Isabelle Veyrat-Masson. “The risk of a voting instruction is to move away from the voters of the other candidates. And therefore to lose more readers.”

For the newspapers, the risk of a voting instruction is to distance themselves from the voters of the other candidates. And therefore to lose more readers.Isabelle Veyrat-Masson, media historian

Moreover, the ultra-conservative weekly, Current values refused to give any voting instructions in the second round, claiming to want to “address all the rights”. And so don’t offend anyone.

Release still marked by its front page of 2017

To Release, the situation is different. Of all the dailies, the title founded in 1973 is the one on which all eyes are riveted after 2017. That year, Freed had chosen to give an order to (e)lectors on the day of the second round of the presidential election: “Do what you want, but vote Macron”. A choice that had caused a lot of reaction on social networks, even five years later. And who had also marked part of the writing.

At the time of this writing, the newspaper had not stopped its line for its edition of Sunday, April 24. But according to our information, such a front page, identical to that of 2017, was automatically excluded internally. There will be no voting instructions strictly speaking and even less formulated in the form of an injunction. The cult front pages of 2002 should be the source of inspiration.

Proof of the crucial importance of this front page, it will be the subject of an open debate with all journalists in order to identify its weaknesses. In addition, an editorial by Deputy Editor Paul Quinio should call readers to the polls.

“A fault of doing nothing”

Faced with this dilemma of calling to vote or not Emmanuel Macron, the magazine The Obs decided to base itself on its history and its values ​​to establish its position, namely a refusal of the project proposed by Marine Le Pen, but not a formal voting instruction.

“It would have been a mistake not to do anything about the history of this newspaper”, explains to the HuffPost Cécile Prieur, editorial director of The Obs. The latter wrote an editorial published on behalf of the editorial staff after consultation with all the journalists. “Our readers follow us for the quality of our articles and the values ​​we uphold: anti-racism, humanist values… It seemed important to us to clarify our position at that time in the public debate.”

In her editorial, Cécile Prieur insists “that between Macron and Le Pen, an unequivocal choice must therefore be made to preserve the fundamentals of the Republic. From this point of view, ‘don’t give a single voice’ on the far right, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon hammered four times on the evening of the first round, cannot be enough.

Au HuffPost, the question of calling to block (or not) Marine Le Pen was raised and debated in an editorial conference with all the editorial staff’s journalists. Rather than writing an editorial and giving any voting instructions, it was decided to produce an article entitled “What would Marine Le Pen’s France look like if she were elected?”, in which the main lines of her program and its consequences for France are summarized. A way of giving readers the keys to forming their opinion, without however deviating from our journalistic neutrality.

See also on The HuffPost: All those times Anne-Sophie Lapix did her job in the face of politics


Source: Le Huffington Post by www.huffingtonpost.fr.

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