Home > France, Journalistes de France, Les elections Presidentielles, Les Guignols de l'Info, Nicolas Sarkozy v. Francois Hollande, Politique Francaise > Les Guignols de L’Info: Les journalistes les plus professionnels en France

Les Guignols de L’Info: Les journalistes les plus professionnels en France

It is awkward to watch French journalists interviewing Nicolas Sarkozy. They look nervous, flustered, incoherent, and most importantly, they look like a bunch of amateurs. They don’t ask the questions that need to be asked of an incumbent president. They don’t talk about his record. They let Sarkozy lead the interview, answer the questions he wants to answer, and ask himself questions and then answer them, and so on. It’s a pitiful spectacle. It is no longer journalism; it’s idolatry.

Take for example Franz Olivier Giesbert, supposedly a famous journalist with the magazine Le Point. In his last interview of Sarkozy, Mr. Giesbert asked the incumbent president–it wasn’t really a question, or a comment or rhetorical question, quite honestly, i really don’t know what he was doing–about his sad eyes. He said, “je vois de la tristesse dans vos yeux!” Oh my goodness! Is that a question or a love declaration? Instead of asking the president about his flip-flopping on many of his previous positions and policies, or on the aggressive tone of his campaign, or on his numerous lies on the campaign trail, or on his record/plan to fight France’s chronically high unemployment rate, Mr. Giesbert asked about the president’s eyes. Wasn’t that a heartwarming question? I literally cringed when i heard that comment/question/whatever you want to call it. Would that be a question that Joe Nocera or Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times would ask? Would that be a question that Mike Wallace or Steve Kroft or Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes would ask? No, they would not because those questions allow the interviewed to gain control of the interview, to lead it, to have the upper hand, and therefore, to escape and avoid answering the most pertinent questions. Instead, Sarkozy gets asked softball questions and he gets to knock them out of the park. The man has yet to answer one hard question on his record or on his campaign. No one has yet to date to ask him the tough question(s).

Don’t get me wrong, Franz Olivier Giesbert is not the only stupid journalist in France. There are plenty of them–especially on television–and all of them seem to be awestruck when they have the incumbent president Sarkozy in front of them. They really remind me of those teenage girls who yell and scream and cry when they meet Justin Beiber or their pop music idol. They are ridiculous. It’s a shameful spectacle that degrades the noble profession of journalism.

However, there are still journalists in France who do their job and ask the real questions, and try to highlight the flagrant inconsistencies and contradictions of Sarkozy the candidate. They are just not human. They are figurines made out of rubber, foam, plastic, and fake hair. Yes, those journalists are the puppets of Canal Plus, also known as Les Guignols de L’Info. They are the only professional journalists in France or what is left of professional journalism in that country. They wrap and mix serious questions with satire, laughter, and jokes, but their questions are right on the money; and they are deadly serious.

These two short clips posted below show one very important thing that no journalist in France has yet to highlight. Les Guignols point to the most obvious, to the biggest elephant in the room: the contradictions, the lies, and the inconsistencies in Sarkozy’s campaign and record. They do that in a very clever and yet accurate way. I think that all journalists in France should sit down, shut up, watch a few clips, take notes, and then try to be as professional as les Guignols de l’Info.

En 2012, je change tout sauf les shoes (courtesy of Canal+.fr)

Nicolas Sarkozy peut-il faire oublier Nicolas Sarkozy (courtesy of Canal+.fr)

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  8. Ajknonx
    April 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    May be you don’t watch the significant TV program ?
    You are right when you say that many French journalists have difficulties to ask the good question when Sarkozy is in front of them.
    However, you must know that almost in EVERY other cases (TV program, most part of newspaper, ans every radio which are almost all left-wing), when a journalist (or a celebrity) talks about Sarkozy, there are never a good point given.

    Moreover, although you critizice the question about his eyes or whatever : in fact, journalists critizice almost everything from Sarkozy : his private life, his personality, his height, his watch, and even sometimes (when they have enough time) his politics.

    Les Guignols are very funny, but the main problem is that they make fun of people without knowing evrything (case of Strauss-Kahn, doping in Spain, and so on). I enjoy watching this program, but one must take into account that it’s for fun, not real (in the majority of the cases).

    Whatever, it’s very interesting to know what journalists from other countries think about our political life.

    I want to precise that I don’t want to be the keen advocate of Sarkozy, but I think you should watch some “innocent” programm (TV or radio), and may be you’ll mitigate your point of view.

    Sorry for my bad English level, (French wiil be French…)

    • April 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      I did watch most of the one-on-one interviews that Sarkozy has had (TV and radio) since the beginning of the campaign and most of the time I didn’t notice any serious question that was asked.

      I don’t care about Sarkozy’s private life or his watches or his “bing-bling” as the Guignols would say, what i care about is asking questions that go into the heart of the campaign; questions that highlight his contradictions–i.e., the contradictions between his record and his campaign promises and his program.

      I used the Guignols are an example because they point to a very specific aspect of Sarkozy’s campaign: the contradictions in his programs, in his record, and his promises. That’s a job that journalists should be able to do, and not some puppets no matter how funny they are.

      PS: Your English is fine and please don’t hesitate to contribute again.

  9. Dédé
    March 20, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    You are right. As a french citizen I am simply saddened by what journalism has become on french television. Les guignols have a pretty incisive tone but it feels good to see that. Everything else (related to politics) seems to be sponsored by our President. I am surprised you didn’t talk about Pujadas, he is like the leader of stupid french journalists, and one of Sarkozy’s favorites.

    • March 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I just simply do not know Pujadas very well. I follow French politics through the internet and i watch most of the political shows on the website of the news channels.

      But now that i know he is as you said “the leader of the stupid journalists”, i might pay special attention to him from now on 🙂

      • Dédé
        March 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm

        Haha ! You’ll see, he is very bad.

  10. March 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    lol les guignols! I never understood why Sarkozy seems to have so much charisma, despite the stupid mistakes and inconsistencies, he is still liked. The French are a lot like us I think, even in colonialism we’ve been colonized by the wrong bunch, they infected us with their stupid ways lol!

  11. March 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    You never heard of “Le Canard enchaîné” ? This one is a real journalists’ newspaper . No ads in it, widely read in France .
    And Giesbert is not stupid . He is just a servant of his masters, like every TV, radio and newspaper . They all belong to billionaires, and they obey their bosses .

    • March 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I do know “Le Canard Enchaîné.” The only problem is that it is not online. So, i can’t read it since i don’t live in France.

      As for Giesbert, to me being subservient to his masters is a dereliction of his duty as a journalist. Thus, stupid is a good and an accurate adjective to describe him. Or he could be a servant as you called him 🙂

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