NBC Hails 'Fantastic' New Liberal Policy From French: 'Vive La France!'

The journalists at NBC's Today on Friday rhapsodized over a liberal economic policy coming out of France. Regarding new rules that would bar some employers from e-mailing workers after hours, co-host Matt Lauer enthused, "[The French] get some things very right over there!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.

Co-host Savannah Guthrie praised, "Vive la France!" Al Roker deemed the concept "fantastic." At no time did any of the hosts ponder whether this kind of problem could best be decided between businesses and their employees. Nor did they note the disastrous election results the country's socialistic government just endured. Instead, the on-screen graphic declared "Freedom in France." 

ABC's Good Morning America covered the story on Sunday.  Co-host Dan Harris savored the proposal, insisting it "may provoke a tsunami of envy" in America. However, unlike the journalists at NBC, reporter Jeffrey Kofman noted, "It may be good for workers, but it's not necessarily good for the struggling French economy where unemployment in France is over ten percent and growth is almost stagnant." 

The journalist also cautioned, "The idea of turning off e-mails appeals to people we talked on the streets of New York, but no one thinks that the French disconnect could work in the U.S." 

He included a clip of a New Yorker declaring such an idea "wouldn't work in the states." 

Despite the praise for the French on NBC, the network skipped the near-collapse of the socialistic government.  (ABC also ignored the story.) The Economist explained on March 31: 

A CRUSHING defeat at French local elections has intensified pressure on François Hollande to reshuffle his government. At a second round of voting on March 30th, Mr Hollande’s Socialist Party lost over 150 towns, most of them to the opposition centre-right. This morning, the French president was holed up at the Elysée, the presidential palace, consulting close advisers over reshuffle plans, which could be announced as early as today.

The Socialist losses were devastating. Although, as expected, the party hung on to Paris, where Anne Hidalgo becomes the capital’s first female mayor, the rest of the country snubbed the ruling party. Among the more dramatic losses were Toulouse, a city in the south-west that it had thought was safe, Roubaix  and Tourcoing, two industrial cities in the north with a deep left-wing heritage, and a string of other cities, including Amiens, Caen, Tours, Reims and Limoges, held by the left since 1912. Even some towns in the Paris region, which had been governed by Communist Party since the second world war, such as Villejuif, swung to the right.

This electorial disaster triggered tax cut proposals from the very liberal government:  

PARIS — France’s new prime minister, facing a confidence vote Tuesday, promised an economic turnaround built on plans to let corporations keep more profits, cut taxes for all households, and redraw a new, less bureaucratic map.

Selling the proposals of a deeply unpopular president to his own Socialist lawmakers, Prime Minister Manuel Valls acknowledged that the Socialist defeat in recent elections showed a France of “too much suffering and not enough hope.”

Perhaps these results could have some bearing when discussing a new policy that could restrict business in France? 

A transcript of the April 11 Today segment is below: 


8:14:14

MATT LAUER: Here is a big question for everyone on a Friday. What if after you left work every day, you didn't have to answer a single e-mail or phone call from the office? Sounds like a dream, right? Well, it's a reality for some workers in, where else, France. This, the result of a ground breaking deal between union workers and their bosses. If the government approves, workers will have the right to stop using work tools, like e-mail and smart phones, after logging a 13-hour day. Now, the agreement covers less than a million workers in the engineering and tech sectors, but it still has a lot of people all over the world wondering, what if? 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And saying vive la France! 

LAUER: They get some things very right over there. Wouldn't it change your lives? It would be impossible in our business. 

GUTHRIE: Impossible. 

LAUER: But in a lot of businesses, wouldn't it be life-changing if you didn't have to deal with work after the day is over? 

CARSON DALY: You might be excited to go to work the next day if you had a period off from thinking about it. 

AL ROKER: That's fantastic! 

GUTHRIE: I know my kids would appreciate that if we could put the phone down every once in a while. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org