TRIBUNE – « Why do you agree to work for FranceSoir? is a question that I am asked quite often, directly on social networks or by private message, when it is not at the turn of an interview, conducted by a journalist affected by a contagious disease which is wreaking havoc these recent years, dogmatism.
So, to all these, I will answer once and for all, on this same news site that is FranceSoir.
The first answer that comes to me is: “Why not? “. The second: I think it’s an interesting medium.
And I could endorse the remark made by lawyer Gilles-William Goldnadel in the preamble to an interview given to FranceSoir: “ I am very happy to receive you, because, even if I do not share all your views, I am for totally defending your newspaper, on principle. And I don’t like what people do to you once in a while. “And following the journalist’s response” you don’t like fascism in general “, the lawyer drove the point home by answering: “Cis one form of it ».
Well, I could answer: I am very happy to work for FranceSoir “, giving the same reasons as this defender of freedom of expression. Besides, I don’t much like being told what to do. I abhor anathemas and dogmatism. And gratuitous accusations horrify me.
So, of course, I have heard the accusations of “conspiracy”, of massive disclosure of “false information” that some are making against this site. Only, each time I asked what was meant by “conspiracy”, I had no explanation. And when I say, “no explanation”, I am not talking about a “bad explanation” but about a lack of explanation. When I ask for a definition of the word “conspiracy” that could apply to FranceSoir, the answer is always a long silence. As if we used this word wrongly and through without ever having wondered about its meaning.
And it is the same silence that follows the questioning of false information: “Like what, for example? “. I explained, in a video recently published on the site, that the journalist Thibault Schepman, working for Freeze frames, to whom I had asked the same question, had been unable to give me a single example. Rest assured, he is not the only one to fail to respond to this request for precision: it’s like that every time. Should we also remember that FranceSoir has never been the subject of any legal conviction?
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I’m not saying that there couldn’t have been errors that have crept into the site, but I don’t know of a single newspaper to which that hasn’t happened. ” To err is human “, but the “diabolical perseverance” (to persevere diabolically) of the Latin phrase, I did not find it at FranceSoir. I can’t say the same for the staunch critics of this newspaper.
I was amazed to see a minister in office attacking a news media, on the pretext that its content displeased her government. Not in China. Not in Saudi Arabia. In France ! In January 2021, the Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, asked ” that the certificate of IPG (political and general information) issued to the online press service FranceSoir be re-examined “, while this certificate had been issued until September 2022. The goal? Deprive the site of certain tax advantages and potential aid from the Strategic Fund for the Development of the Press (FSDP), to which this certificate entitles. As we are still in France, the maneuver failed. The Joint Commission for Publications and Press Agencies (CPPAP) has prematurely re-examined FranceSoir’s IPG certificate, but to grant it again.
I expected the profession to be up in arms about this political intervention setting a very worrying precedent for press freedom in this country. It was far from the case.
And despite the CPPAP’s decision, Google maintained the newspaper’s listing as a news site, while YouTube arbitrarily deleted the channel from the site, which had no less than 277,000 subscribers. 277,000 people were deprived of a legal content, which interested them, in a perfectly arbitrary way.
It was with some bewilderment that I saw what must be called censorship prosper in the land of human and citizen rights. And even worse, part of the press called for it! While allowing themselves to distribute good and bad points of ethics to colleagues and competitors, when they would often have been well advised to strive to do their job correctly and scrupulously and to sweep in front of their door. It would also probably be amusing to bring out the prose of the “fact checkers” and other lesson givers of a year or two ago, in the light of what we know today.
When the publication director of FranceSoir, Xavier Azalbert, contacted me at the end of 2020, he had first all my sympathy, and my support in principle.
I started working for the site, and I saw nothing there that dissuaded me from continuing.
I saw great scientists interviewed there, from France and abroad, who talked about their specialty and not that of their neighbour. Knowing people who intervened in their field of competence, pleasantly changed the spectacle given by too many television sets. Indeed, physicians began to swarm in the media sphere, whom the known conflicts of interest should have disqualified from any public speaking deemed credible and objective, or who allowed themselves to hold forth on subjects far removed from their specialty when they had one. Worse, columnists or journalists, without an ounce of scientific training, began to criticize the work of great researchers, feeling authorized to judge who was a good doctor, a good researcher, and who was not. As if they could have known anything about it!
During the health crisis, it seems to me that FranceSoir was one of the rare media to provide a certain plurality of information. And you see, it interested me a lot! Knowing nothing about medicine, but asking myself, like everyone I think, a lot of questions about treatments, vaccines, side effects, research, I needed these different but qualified, competent points of view and international. Because personally, what a journalist, a politician or even an emergency physician thinks of the quality of a pharmaceutical product or a treatment, I really don’t care. And I certainly do not consider them competent to criticize the work and positions of great professors such as Professor Raoult, Professor Perronne or Nobel Prize winners in medicine! In these areas, an interesting debate is a debate between peers of comparable experience!
In the absence of being able to give me certain examples of “false information” produced by FranceSoir, I was also told about some of its guests to convince me that the site was infrequent. Francis Lalanne and Jean-Marie Bigard arriving at the top of the list. The latter belong to the entertainment world, their comments are therefore theirs alone and above all have no claim to scientific validity. And it is clear for everyone! This last point is important. We recognize that a public figure gives his opinion on various subjects. As long as an opinion is presented as such and does not pretend to be something else, speech is free. From there, that of Francis Lalanne or Jean-Marie Bigard is worth that of Charlotte Gainsbourg or François Cluzet.
Speaking of freedom, I really appreciate the one that FranceSoir gives me. There is not an article that I have been refused, nor a guest for that matter. In particular, I worked a lot on the font for this site. To defend it and make the voices of the “little hands” of this profession heard. Not out of ideological posture, but out of concern for plurality. Because yes, this profession has its black sheep, but I have enough colleagues who have made it their specialty to track down each of its faults, and give them a resounding echo. So I decided to give a voice to the vast silent majority of law enforcement, essential to everyone’s safety, who often work in appalling conditions, are poorly paid, poorly considered, very often mistreated by their hierarchies, who go through extremely traumatic situations that they have to manage as best they can and in too great a solitude, and which, when necessity demands it, reveal a capacity for heroism too often ignored or quickly forgotten.
I think that there are very few media where I would have been given so much space to work on the subject of the daily difficulties of the forces of order, and not only in the “difficult” suburbs. Very few too, the media that would have allowed me to work on substantive issues such as child protection, even in the absence of “burning” news on the issue.
In another register, FranceSoir accepted without any hesitation to invite my colleague Jean-Baptiste Rivoire to speak about his remarkable investigation into Emmanuel Macron and in particular the suspicions of tax evasion weighing on the latter through what has been called the #RothschildsGate. The media to have done the same can be counted on the fingers of their hands, when this affair should have been widely discussed in the public space.
So why work for FranceSoir? Because I can do my job properly and freely there. I don’t work only for this site, but I am very happy to work for this site. Which I defend because I know him, and on principle.