France 2 Update
La manif pour tous (France 2) by Le_Salon_Beige
The information in my previous post about what seemed to be a news blackout at France 2 needs to be updated. The first clarification is that the news was in fact shown on television the night of January 13, but vanished from the France 2 website the next day. The same was true of France 3 that also produced a segment on the demonstration. There was such a protest that eventually the videos were restored. Above is the ten-minute video from France 2. We see the great enthusiasm of the marchers, the comments by parents loyal to the principle of traditional marriage. We see Jean-François Copé, chairman of the UMP party, and most importantly we see the members of the Front National. The announcer makes a point of emphasizing Marine Le Pen's absence. Her absence from the rally, and her general reluctance to take a stand on several issues have resulted in a major outpouring of criticism from various patriotic websites. She has been heavily (and unfortunately) influenced by the man she appointed as vice-president of the FN: leftist Florian Philippot. She has also been unwilling to ruffle the feathers of the numerous homosexual members of the Front National. This is very bad news because it places her in a weakened position, and exposes the gulf between herself and other Front National members, such as Bruno Gollnisch, the former vice-president who received very little support from Marine, deputy Gilbert Collard who refused to join the FN because he wanted to keep his independence (no wonder), and Marine's hard-working and telegenic niece, deputy Marion Maréchal Le Pen, who I heard was upbraided by her aunt for knowing nothing about politics! But it is Marine Le Pen, who suddenly knows little about politics, having lost still another unique opportunity to defend in person, at a momentous event, the basic principles she claims to espouse. She has greatly compromised her prestige among her own constituents, and only time will tell if she can repair the damage, or if she is moving to where her heart really is - to the left. For the record, her sister Yann and her father's wife Jany were there, as was her "companion" Louis Aliot.
To be clear, Marine Le Pen's actual presence at the rally was not the issue so much as the unsatisfactory reasons she has been concocting to explain away her absence. She has said she did not want to be an auxiliary ("supplétif") to Jean-François Copé, a ridiculous statement since a party leader and presidential candidate cannot be an auxiliary to anyone. How could she be an auxiliary to Copé, unless she marched in his delegation, which is not what she would have done anyway. She has also said that the whole topic of gay marriage is just a smokescreen by the government to cover up more important issues. Another ridiculous comment since it was patently clear last November that Christiane Taubira's bill on gay marriage and adoption had mushroomed to become a major concern of traditionalist Frenchmen, those very Frenchmen liable to vote for Marine Le Pen. Some say that she feels it is beneath her dignity to march in a demonstration. Nonsense, since she has marched in political rallies side by side with her father. If it is beneath her dignity to march, then she is haughtily looking down on all those who came out, braved the cold, exhibited exemplary behavior and expressed the soul of France's heartland.
Back to the video for a moment. France 2 explained that it had withdrawn the video because it showed a female journalist in an unacceptable light. What this meant was that a woman with glasses was seen laughing with Gilbert Collard - a mortal sin. This woman, it turned out, was a reporter for France 3, but France 2 felt it had to censure the segment! Totally crazy. Anyway, the woman with glasses is not even visible in the video above except as the opening image.
One reader at Le Salon Beige reports this incredible comment from a television executive:
"We had a complicated choice to make. Either we retained the segment and engaged in an intense internal power struggle. Or we were, for a few hours, interrogated by everybody and suspected of censoring. We chose what seemed to us the least complicated solution."
In substance, they prefer to look like fascists skilled at censoring than to fight against their left-wing editors. That tells us something about the atmosphere…
More to come. The quantity and quality of commentary from the French websites surpasses anything I've seen since the election.