Chirac's second thoughts on media glasnost
In place of the flag, anthem and a respectful, almost reverential, tone, Mr Chirac was introduced with racy film-clips contrasting his election promises with his performance in office and asked to defend him- self. Instead of deferentially open questions of traditional presidential broadcasts, Mr Chirac was asked real questions, the sort the French "man or woman on the metro" asks, but which political interviewers on French television avoid.
"Why is the country in such a mess?" "Why did you attack technocrats during your presidential campaign, but now surround yourself with them?" "What about the political corruption cases, including those of your own Gaullist party?"
When, as with the corruption question, Mr Chirac veered off in another direction, he was hauled back to address the specific point. The two younger interviewers even had the tem- erity to try the odd interruption.
To British eyes and ears accustomed to the aggressive questioning of politicians on the Today programme or Newsnight, Mr Chirac had an easy ride. No one was trying to catch him out, no one was trying to make him say anything he did not want to say. Even so, the decision to bring to the interview-ing table journalists from out- side France's closed political media clique was a bold step, engineered largely by Mr Chirac's daughter, Claude. She masterminded his appeal to the youth vote during the presidential campaign and has since done her utmost to update the way the president is packaged.
Bringing the presentation up to date, however, means the President, too, has to adapt - and the evidence is that there is still some way to go. As some critics of Mr Chirac's performance said yesterday, it was as though Mr Chirac was a spectator of his own government, as though he had nothing to do with decisions taken and could applaud or deplore the government's performance at will.
Stand by for another DECADE of wet summers, say Met Office meteorologists
'Jail reckless bankers': Report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
Feat of engineering: Incredible photographs show construction beneath New York's Second Avenue
World news in pictures
Google challenges US surveillance gagging order
- 1 Disability campaigners celebrate 'victory' after government rethink over plans to make it more difficult to claim disability benefits
- 2 'Jail reckless bankers': Report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 3 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 4 Uri Geller psychic spy? The spoon-bender's secret life as a Mossad and CIA agent revealed
- 5 Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf
£600 - £700 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager - Front Office - Regulatory IT C...
£33000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
£110 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Teaching opportunites in t...
£21000 - £32000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Primary Teaching opp...