Emmanuel Macron has criticized French journalists for being “not enough” interested in the country but rather in themselves. However, his comment left the media somewhat bewildered, as it was accompanied by a tweet in which dozens of kids are seen running toward the president, cheering his name.
The recently elected French leader was confronted by French reporters earlier this week, with journalists wondering why the president has decided to give very few interviews.
“I’m not interested in journalists, I’m interested in the French people, that’s what you need to understand,” Macron replied, before bringing down criticism on the reporters by accusing them of not being interested in the state of affairs in France, unlike him.
“Journalists have a problem. They are too interested in themselves and not enough in the country,” he said while visiting a school in eastern France, accompanied by the press.
The comments backfired when the president chose a video from the very same school visit, to share with his nearly 2 million followers on Twitter. It showed dozens of pupils cheering, “Macron,” and hugging the president.
The tweet made the media raise their eyebrows.
“Like all modern heads of state, Emmanuel Macron posts on Twitter videos of his public activities. So, a few moments after he had knocked journalists for professional narcissism, he posted [this video], whose high informative value about the country, its energy, and its hope shines through,” French weekly L’Obs wrote.
BFM TV channel has called Macron’s actions “contradictory,” while Paris news magazine Le Point also questioned the president’s criticism of “our beautiful profession.”
“When he was running for president, he was basically walking on water, they could not have enough of him and he could not have enough of the journalists, and it was a complete love fest,” a Paris-based columnist at the Telegraph, Weekly Standard and the Sun, Anne-Elizabeth Moutet, told RT of Macron, who has been estimated to have three times more coverage than his opponents at the height of the presidential campaign.
“And then he decided that he was going to frame his own message and frame what he was going to say and journalists are not going to be a part of this at all. So suddenly the press was pushed back in every possible physical way,” she said, adding that “the honeymoon” and “the good times are over, this is it.”
Meanwhile, a poll carried out in France in the end of August showed that Macron’s approval rating had nosedived to 30 percent. Despite his overwhelming presidential and parliamentary wins, after his first 100 days in the office fewer than one in three French voters said they were content with the performance of the 39-year-old president.