NBC Gushes Over French Socialists Waging Obama-Style Presidential Campaign

During a report for the April 18 edition of NBC's Rock Center, correspondent Ted Koppel was right at home with French socialist campaign workers: "...it is the Socialist campaign directed by these three young men, Vincent, Arthur and Guillaume, that has the distinctly American flavor." Guillaume declared: "We've been pushing this, you know, let's do what Obama did for two years."

At the same time, only seconds earlier, Koppel touted attacks against current French President Nicolas Sarkozy for being too American: "This US-style rally is one reason that President Sarkozy's rivals call him La American, 'the American.' It is not meant as a compliment."

Koppel gave the young socialists an opportunity to dismiss American conservative critics: "Don't take this the wrong way, but you realize, particularly among Republicans in America, if you really want to insult an American political candidate, you accuse him of being a French Socialist."         

Vincent replied: "So now you – now you see what France socialism look like....It's not people with knives and ready to do the revolution. It's people believing in change. I guess it should make all Republicans confident that even with [Socialist candidate] Francois Hollande as a president, we'll be very good friends with the United States."

Talking to Koppel after the taped segment, host Brian Williams proclaimed: "The kids are great. They're instantly identifiable. They look like kids who work in campaigns here."

Much of Koppel's report was dedicated to fawning over the French electoral process, marked by heavy-handed government regulation:

...[French political candidates] do not, they cannot buy political ads on TV. Did you hear that? A presidential campaign and no political advertising....With no political commercials, the only mass exposure is on network news and public affairs programs, but here's where the French obsession with egalite, equality, comes in. To ensure that every candidate receives equal time, there is a government agency. Ten staffers record and count every single minute that any one of the 10 presidential candidates is on radio or TV.

At the top of the broadcast, host Brian Williams promoted the segment: "Ted Koppel goes off to find if there's a better way to elect our president that doesn't require a billion dollars and an endless campaign." Koppel teased: "You know who may have something to teach us about running presidential elections? Would you believe the French? Imagine a campaign without political TV ads."

Koppel was also impressed with the complete lack of family values in French politics: "Segolene Royal, was the socialist candidate for president in 2007.... Back then, she and Hollande were in a long-term relationship. They never married, but have four children. Monsieur Hollande is now living with a journalist to whom he is also not married. That's okay. It might be an issue in the United States, but not here. How civilized, how French."


Here are excerpts of the April 18 segment:

9:16PM ET

KOPPEL: This US-style rally is one reason that President Sarkozy's rivals call him La American, "the American." It is not meant as a compliment. Sarkozy's campaign, running behind the Socialists, is pulling out all stops, including frequent appearances now by his glamorous wife, the former supermodel Carla Bruni. Actually, though, it is the Socialist campaign directed by these three young men, Vincent, Arthur and Guillaume, that has the distinctly American flavor.

GUILLAUME: You know, we've been advocating for, you know, more America in French election for two years. We've been pushing this, you know, let's do what Obama did for two years.

KOPPEL: The three met at Harvard and MIT.

If anyone on the Hollande campaign is over the age of 40, you throw them out the window there, or what do you do?

VINCENT: Absolutely. We already had a few casualties. It's a very young staff because, you know, it's people in charge of the Web, it's people in charge of mobilizing orders, so we need energy and it's true that we end up being very – a very young team.

(...)

KOPPEL: Don't take this the wrong way, but you realize, particularly among Republicans in America, if you really want to insult an American political candidate, you accuse him of being a French Socialist.

ARTHUR: Yeah.

KOPPEL: Right?

VINCENT: So now you – now you see what France socialism look like.

ARTHUR: Yeah.

VINCENT: It's not people with knives and ready to do the revolution. It's people believing in change. I guess it should make all Republicans confident that even with Francois Hollande as a president, we'll be very good friends with the United States.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC