Presidents have privacy

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 3:38 | Posted in Media, privacy | Leave a comment
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This video (YouTube) shows the French president Nicolas Sarkozy entering and abruptly leaving an interview with the CBS. The president was stressed and did not want to make the interview in the first place. When asked about his wife and refusing to comment, he interrupted the interview as the reporter did not want to let the topic go.

This is a showcase example of cultural differences between America and Europe. A US president can and will be has been impeached if he is caught telling a lie about his private sex life whereas a president telling a lie about illegal and unconstitutional unauthorized wire tapping of citizens could have a fair chance to get away with it. The European and in particular the French understanding is that even a president has a private family life which is none of the business of the general public as long as it has nothing to do with how he takes care of his job of running the country.

President Sarkozy left the interview because the reporter did not drop the topic but repeated her question. On that point I must give the reporter some right. It is customary to repeat an unanswered question. If reporters did not do that, those interviewed would get away with not answering unpleasent questions.

However, this only applies to questions which are asked in the interest of the public. A presidential divorce is not a matter of public interest which is why that question should not have been asked in the first place.

Read more about the incident at the BBC web site.

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