Roger L. Simon

Mon Dieu! What Next? Blogs?

American newspapers aren’t the only ones in trouble. Their French cousins, including the once unassailable Le Monde, now are apparently going through a period of “extreme turbulence.” Of course, we must consider the source, The Independent, only yesterday dismissed on this site for its nonsensical reportage on the movie business. Nevertheless, Le Monde’s controversial editor Edwy Plenel is evidently quitting to go back to the “the simple pleasures of journalism and writing”.

Meanwhile, the oh-so-very-1968 Libération may be the target of a partial takeover bid by Edouard de Rothschild, of all people. What does this all mean (other than a better class of wine at staff meetings)? I’m not sure. We do know their papers are not selling. Some of our French readers will have more to say about this, I hope. (I’m not sure this has much to do with it, but I have observed that the French press is far more uniform than ours about foreign policy, as if democracy ended at their border.)(hat tip: AB)

UPDATE: Howard emails this explanation: Lagardère (formerly Matra) – controlled by the Lagardère family – has a major stake in the European aerospace and weapons sectors, along with control of the Hachette group. Hachette encompasses Paris Match, Elle, the only national Sunday newspaper and most newspapers in the Marseilles-Nice region. It is the biggest book publisher, the largest book distributor and the biggest newsagent in France. Dassault – controlled by the Dassault family – has substantial aeospace interests (eg produces the Mirage fighter) and in 2004 took control of Socpresse, the group that owns conservative daily newspaper Le Figaro, weekly news magazine L’Express, two of the largest regional newspapers (in Lille and Lyons) and over 60 other publications. Socpresse was formerly controlled by Robert Hersant.

That is why there is unanimity of opinion. The press is only interested is serving their weapons industry.