De Gaulle and the Press: A 30-Year-Long Misunderstanding
The difficult and ambivalent relationship between de Gaulle and the French press forms the focus of this chapter. While de Gaulle took a strong interest in the press, he made no mystery of his dislike of journalists, whom he often referred to as “a coalition of corrupted writers”. The chapter pays special attention to the General’s relationship with Le Monde, and in particular de Gaulle’s relationship with Le Monde’s most famous editor-in-chief—Hubert Beuve-Méry. De Gaulle constantly lamented what he regarded as the hostile attitude of the press towards him; he famously declared “The press is against me, the television is mine.” Brizzi challenges this myth through a thorough analysis of the positions expressed by the main French dailies and weeklies during the 1958 and 1969 general elections. What emerges from this analysis is a far more balanced and complex attitude on the part of the press than portrayed by the General. Data shows that during his presidency 50% of the newspapers broadly supported de Gaulle.