Macron is carrying on like a king
So much for liberté, égalité, fraternité. On this year’s Bastille Day, the day devoted to celebrating the founding principles of the French Republic, new French president Emmanuel Macron would rather carry on like a king.
This is the news that he has refused to participate in the traditional televised press interview because, according to an an Elysée Palace source, his ‘complex thought process’ doesn’t lend well to a media Q&A. In other words, he thinks us journalists are too stupid to understand him.
This is not the first time Macron has revealed a worrying anti-media streak. After he won the presidency in May, he tried to cherry-pick which journalists would accompany him on his first trip outside of Europe. And he has only deigned to give one interview, to Le Figaro, since his election.
Macron’s refusal to be questioned by journalists speaks not only to his distrust of the media, but to his distrust of the public. His fear that journalists will misunderstand or misrepresent him betrays a view of voters as inelegant, easily led and open to media distortion.
What’s more, his reluctance to engage with the press shows a disregard for one of journalism’s most important roles: that of holding the powerful to account. The arrogant implication here is that Macron and his ‘complex thoughts’ are beyond reproach.
How ironic that Macron should choose Bastille Day to make his disdain for the press and the public so clear, when it was on that day in 1789 that the French made clear their feelings about having an unaccountable head of state.
Naomi Firsht is staff writer at spiked and co-author of The Parisians’ Guide to Cafés, Bars and Restaurants. Follow her on Twitter: @Naomi_theFirsht