NEW YORK TIMES
The Times Scolds Sarkozy [Mark Finkelstein]
Perhaps I'm being naive, but was the New York Times really rooting for the victory of an anti-American socialist in the French presidential election? Apparently so, judging by the Times' scolding editorial of this morning, France Under New Leadership .
The Times begins by warning that "Mr. Sarkozy will need to keep his own impatience, and his destructive penchant for divisive rhetoric, under firm control." Wouldn't want to offend those urban youths who burned 790 cars in the wake of his election.
The paper then confuses cause and effect in describing France's economic woes, claiming that "for most voters, the compelling issues were domestic, especially the challenge of invigorating an economy weighed down by decades of slow growth, high unemployment and suburban decay." Wrong. It was the high taxes and stifling regulation of French governments past that weighed down the economy and resulted in slow growth and high unemployment.
Despite decades of failure of statist policies, the Times is agnostic as to whether change is needed, blandly observing: "Mr. Sarkozy’s call for tax cuts, smaller government, longer working hours and tougher labor policies won out over his Socialist rival’s contention that she could administer the needed economic jolts while preserving the security and comfort of the social status quo."
The Times concludes in full multicultural flight:
Mr. Sarkozy will especially have to overcome the distrust of young urban immigrants, whom he has demeaned with insulting stereotypes and frightened with simplistic law-and-order prescriptions.
If Mr. Sarkozy means what he now says about being “president of all the French,” he needs to recognize that there are many equally legitimate ways of being French. And that the problems of poverty and unemployment require much broader solutions than simple law and order.
The Times erects a straw man in warning that law and order is insufficient to rectify France's ailing economy. Sarkozy has proposed an array of free-market oriented reforms — ones that the Times is loath to embrace.
Finally, unless France is content to be no more than a geographical designation, if it wishes, rather, to remain a unique culture and nation, then the Times is wrong in asserting that there are multiple "equally legitimate ways of being French."
05/08 12:11 PMShare