Bolloré vs. Macron
Raphaëlle Bacqué and Ariane Chemin, Le Monde‘s indefatigable political profilers, published today a profile of Billionaire Vincent Bolloré, whom they credit with having established “un pôle réactionnaire” in the media, which extends from CNews, the would-be French Fox, to Europe1, the Journal du Dimanche, Paris Match, several publishing houses, and—most intriguingly—a YouTube channel named Padreblog, where you can find unctuous homilies on such fascinating subjects as “Three Keys to Understanding Purgatory.” (Watch—you won’t be disappointed!)
Although the piece goes on at considerable length, you may come away as disappointed as I did if you want to know what Bolloré’s game really is. The premise of the piece is that he despises Macron, but the reasons for his detestation seem minor compared to the magnitude of the means devoted (we are told) to defeating the sitting president. Brigitte Macron asked a question she apparently asks of all her quests—”How can we help you?”—which Bolloré allegedly took amiss, replying curtly that he didn’t need any help, thank you very much. Or was it that he blamed Macron for forcing him to stand trial in a case involving bribery of African officials when he had already pleaded guilty to the charges? Or is it that he really believes in the “Great Replacement” theory of Renaud Camus, who has been a guest on his TV networks? Or does he believe, with Eric Zemmour, another of his network’s stars, that to destroy Catholicism is to empower Islam and then somehow blame Macron for the destruction of Catholicism? The article closes with a quote from Bolloré: “I am not very intelligent, but I am very determined.”
The authors describe this as “false modesty.” They may be right. Bolloré is described as convinced that Zemmour’s presence in the race will divide the far right and thus create an opening for a center-right candidate to defeat Macron, provided that candidate embraces Zemmour’s anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant attitudes:
Le grand patron en est certain, LR ne l’emportera qu’en adoptant le discours de son polémiste vedette. Même l’ancien négociateur du Brexit, Michel Barnier, invité personnel de « Vincent » aux mariages de ses enfants, se met à rêver d’« un bouclier constitutionnel » afin de mettre en œuvre un « moratoire sur l’immigration » sans se soumettre au droit européen.
Barnier is not the only candidate to enjoy a close relationship with Bolloré. The article reveals that the father of Valérie Pécresse, Prof. Dominique Roux, was named president of Bolloré Télécom in 2007. It has to be said that when French capitalists mingle in politics, they know how to play the long game.