Desperate Emmanuel Macron attacks ‘narcissistic’ French media

Instead of first taking questions from French journalists after his address to world leaders at the UN General Assembly this week, the young leader – whose approval ratings have plummeted since his election in May – chose to grant an interview to CNN International.

And when quizzed by a French reporter why he had spoken with the American press first, the 39-year-old replied by accusing the French media of being more interested in “communication” than “content”. 

He went on to attack his nation’s press for the constant criticism levelled at him for largely refusing to speak one-on-one with French journalists since his landslide election victory. 

Defending his decision to be interviewed by CNN, beleaguered Mr Macron said: “I am at the United Nations and a journalist offered to do an interview on my diplomatic policy, and I did it.

“Given the seriousness of the issues, let’s talk about the challenges facing the planet and stop talking in such a circular way about communication.

“When I see the time spent in the past four months commenting only on my silences and my sayings, I think that it is a totally narcissistic system.”

The president’s feud with France’s media comes as his approval ratings have seen a record slump, with an August poll showing 57 per cent of the French public were “dissatisfied” with his performance so far. 

In the same poll, just 40 per cent said they were satisfied with Macron – making him even more unpopular than his predecessor Francois Hollande. 

This outburst against his country’s media is the latest in a series of attacks by the French centrist leader. 

Earlier this month he accused journalists of being “too interested in themselves” while visiting a school in eastern France. 

Mr Macron said the TV reporters who had travelled with him to cover the event should be talking about the 12 million students returning to school after the summer break, not asking about him. 

But BFM TV, France’s most-watched rolling news channel, hit back by saying the president’s comments “appeared contradictory given the lengths [he] goes to manage his image since the start of his mandate.”

In June, he tried to justify his lack of contact with French journalists by arguing his “complex thought process” did not lend itself well to one-on-one interviews. 

However, despite his running battle with the media, Macron praised freedom of speech in his speech at the UN this week.

Addressing world leaders, he said: “It’s the UN’s job to protect the freedom of those who think, reflect, speak out, and particularly the freedom of the press. That’s why I’m calling for a special representative of the secretary general for the protection of journalists in the world.”