Leslie Stahl Bastes a Franco-American Hot Dog

Posted on October 29, 2007

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I hope you’re not relying on 60 Minutes to provide a factual basis for your political views. Sunday night, in a much-trumpeted feature story on Nicolas Sarkozy, Stahl seemed determined to set the land speed record for journalistic bullshit.

Stahl seemed over-eager to hewe Sarkozy’s Humble Child of Immigrants saw. On more than one occasion, Stahl described Sarkozy as the child “of an immigrant”. Sarkozy himself stated in the interview, “I was from a middle class family, I had no connections, no one in my family had ever been involved in politics.” Stahl followed Sarkozy’s cue and pursued the fanciful cinderella story in all kinds of mythical directions. But Sarkozy’s rags to riches story is at best misleading, and at worst (and at honest), bears a striking similarity to the invented background of George W. Bush. If you’ll recall, while it is common knowledge that Bush grew up in the Northeast to a wealthy oil family, the media prefers the Rovian saga that casts him as a hungry Texax wildcatter out to make good. Like the Bush fairy tale, Sarkozy’s has a curious immunity to daylight; despite the fact that both are so easily proven false, mainstream media and punditry seem hesitant to ever call them in question.

It is true that Sarkozy’s father emigrated to France as a result of the political turbulence in World War II Hungary. But Paul Sarkozy, was a Hungarian nobleman with all of the trappings one would associate with the title, including a castle. Nicolas Sarkozy’s mother was from a wealthy sephardic family. The future French President with no connection to politics grew up in a mansion in one of the richest areas of Paris. Regardless, Stahl insisted on referring to the humble immigrant story when she noted with irony that the “immigrant” Sarkozy, as French Interior Minister, advocated brutal measures against France’s immigrant uprising of 2005. The irony is non-existant, however; Sarkozy, the wealthy son of a Hungarian Nobleman who grew up in France’s richest quarters has little in common with the poor and marginalized descendents of France’s African colonial holdings.

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