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France, Politics

The French media and the rise of the Front National

Thanks to its victory in the cantonal elections of Brignoles in the Var on October 13, Marine Le Pen’s  Front National has become the focus of media attention and projected to the centre of the political news.

When it comes to the Front National, the media are never short on scoops, sensationalism and doomsday “predictions” based on pointless opinion surveys. This fall, while for several months the Front National has undeniably had success, if not electoral, at least politically speaking, it is in reality a small number of opinion polls that provide the raw material for the media promotion of the far-right .

Understanding where the Front National’s vote springs from, the real footprint on the ground of the party, the composition of its leadership and the electorate would require the rehabilitation of social, investigative reportage, and especially to break with the traditional tricks of political journalism, wedded to its opinion polls, popularity and voting intentions.

During the week of October 6 to 13, most of the mainstream media gave in to the siren voices of the pollsters that the National Front would triumph in the next elections – the municipal and European polls in March and May. The results of the now famous partial cantonal election in Brignoles LINK, were a timely materialisation of these dire predictions.

Yet a glance at the political context of this election shows no reason to infer anything from the results, which were, moreover, not very surprising! Indeed, not only did has the extreme right scored well in this town, and more widely across the region, for decades, but the abstention rate was particularly strong in an election that has already been cancelled twice – circumstances that have obviously aided the National Front. Suffice to say that the election of a National Front councillor should be treated as a relatively trivial political episode and in any case strictly local.

Front de Gauche website

Translation/edit by Revolting Europe

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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