A war of words has erupted between President Emmanuel Macron and the French media over his reluctance to give them interviews.
In a striking similarity to the fall-out between Donald Trump and the US press, President Macron angered French outlets by granting an interview to CNN International instead of them.
Ignoring their requests to talk immediately after his United Nations General Assembly address on Tuesday, September 19, the French president chose instead to sit down with journalist Christiane Amanpour to discuss his diplomatic policy, North Korea and climate change.
To compound matters further, Mr. Macron chose to speak in English rather his own national language, a move that has further incensed many of his countrymen.
Later Mr. Macron, who has refused to give an interview to French television since his election victory in June, 2017, rounded on his media critics, accusing them of being “totally narcissistic.”
“I am at the United Nations and a journalist offered to do an interview on my diplomatic policy, and I did it. Given the seriousness of the issues, let’s talk about the challenges facing the planet and stop talking in such a circular way about communication,” Mr. Macron said.
The president continued: “When I see the time spent in the past four months commenting only on my silences and my sayings, I think that it is a totally narcissistic system,” he said, adding that French outlets appeared to be more interested in communication than “content.”
The fall-out comes at a bad time for the French president whose popularity is already starting to wane. His economic reforms resulted in a mass rally in Paris on Thursday, September 21.
Under Macron’s proposals, it would be easier for companies to hire and fire workers, as well as give them more authority over pay and working conditions.
The French government is also considering moves to outlaw the country’s macho culture by making it a criminal offense to harass someone in a work place, including wolf-whistling.