Tag: French

What Trump could learn from French history

Let me explain: I was born and raised in Paris, France and on the eve of the 2016 US presidential election, I relocated with my family to the southern state of Georgia for CNN International.

We were still unpacking our suitcases on election night, when the polls sent then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton home and Republican nominee Donald Trump to the White House. And I had barely gotten behind the anchor desk by the time Trump spoke of “American carnage” in his inaugural address, setting the tone for his presidency.

In the years that followed, I had a front row seat as Trump took a wrecking ball to presidential norms. As I watched the endless presidential transgressions, unrelenting media coverage, and bitterness on both sides of the political divide, it started to feel… familiar.

It reminded me of France a decade earlier, where then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy had reveled in incensing liberals, dominating the headlines, and borrowing from the lexicon of the far-right.

To say the norms of presidential behavior were broken during his first term would be an understatement. Highlights of Sarkozy’s colorful conduct as president include him telling a hostile bystander, “get lost, asshole!” and egging a heckling fisherman to “come down and say it!” His post-election holiday on the private yacht of a French billionaire — a no-no in French politics — was never quite forgiven. And his controversial push to strip French nationality from foreign-born citizens who committed grave crimes never made it past parliament.

Of course, he is not Trump. Sarkozy is a conservative career politician who knew the affairs of state inside out. He didn’t make a habit of insulting political opponents, promote conspiracy theories, or alienate France’s closest allies. And he was chummy with US Democrats: In 2008, he embraced Barack Obama, then a senator vying for the Democratic nomination, in Paris; in 2016, he favored Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Sarkozy even tried to pump the brakes midway through his presidency. Following a rout in regional elections and a waning popularity, he softened his tone — to “presidentialize himself” as the French press described it. More in control, less erratic, less confrontational. “We need authenticity, not histrionics. I must be minimalist,” Sarkozy told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, a year before his reelection bid.

But it was too late. And this is where the parallels matter most: After Sarkozy’s million-miles-an-hour presidency, France — like America now — was running on fumes. The country was exhausted. For many voters, the passions unleashed, the acrimony, the national soul-searching hadn’t been sustainable.

And Sarkozy’s raucous re-election campaign, like Trump’s today, did nothing to suggest a second term might offer something different. When your brand is firebrand, it’s hard to slow down. On all his signature issues, Sarkozy leaned in: Naked appeals to the far-right, a pledge to halve the flow of immigration because there were “too many foreigners in our country,” attacks on the media and diatribes against vague “intermediary bodies” impeding his government’s

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‘Kid influencers’ regulated under new French law

When kids become YouTube or Instagram sensations, should they be considered child workers? And who looks after their money? The French parliament has attempted to answer those questions with a new law passed on Tuesday.

An increasing number of minors have huge followings on social media, often inviting viewers into their family and school lives as they discuss daily issues from bullying to music, or review products including games and make-up.

The money available for so-called “kid influencers” — some are known to earn millions of dollars a year — has raised fears of pushy parents encouraging their offspring to spend more time posting online than pursuing their education.

According to the MP who has sponsored the new legislation in France, Bruno Studer, most countries are yet to regulate this new space which touches on issues from child rights to privacy and labour law. 

“Child labour is forbidden in France unless there are special dispensations, including on the internet,” Studer said on Tuesday after the text cleared the French parliament in a final reading ahead of its signature by President Emmanuel Macron.

The minister for children and families, Adrien Tacquet, hailed a “precise and balanced” law.

“Since 2017 the government has committed itself on several occasions to better regulating the digital world so that everyone is better protected there,” he added.

The law extends safeguards that already cover child performers and fashion models to significant online influencers, meaning that their income will be held in a special bank account until the age of 16. 

The legislation also requires any company wanting to employ a child influencer to obtain permission from local authorities in order to put them to work — and a failure to do so can lead to court action.

Thirdly, the new law gives kid influencers a “right to be forgotten”, meaning that internet platforms are required to remove content when asked to do so.

The new regulations will not apply to all children posting material online — only to those spending significant amounts of time doing what can be qualified as commercial work, which provides an income.

– Huge earnings –

The “influencer” model of advertising has exploded in recent years as brands funnel money and products towards social media users with large followings, who help promote products in return for the sponsorship.

The Influencer Marketing Hub, an industry group, estimated that firms were expected to spend almost $10 billion (8.5 billion euros) on “influencer marketing” this year, up from $6.5 billion in 2019.

Digital advertising revenues for the most popular channels on sites such as YouTube can also run into the millions.

The Google-owned website said in 2019 that its top-earning creator was an eight-year-old called Ryan Kaji who made $26 million in that year with his channel “Ryan’s World” which was started by his Texas-based parents.

Initially called “Ryan ToysReview”, the channel once consisted mostly of “unboxing” videos — videos of the young star opening boxes of toys and playing with them.


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