This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights for May, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 17 May 2019
Media Outlet: France Soir, online daily newspaper with a populist stance
Headline: “His parliamentary assistant disguises himself as a Jew, Nicolas Bay sees it as a "private matter"”
Description of the antisemitic content: The issues with this case are twofold, with the photo itself and the way France Soir reported on it. Nicolas Bay is the General Secretary of French far-right party National Rally and it was uncovered that his aide, Guillaume Pradoura, dressed as an anti-Semitic caricature in 2013. The photo reemerged recently and was picked up widely by the French press. In the photo, Pradoura is pictured dressed as an Orthodox Jew while grimacing and extending claw-like fingers at the camera. Responding to the incident, Bay stated that “it was a disguise, a mere joke made in bad taste and made privately.” There were many articles on the case, with newspapers such as L'Observateur and Libératio rightly describing the photo as an “antisemitic disguise” and La Parisienne and Paris Match referring to an “antisemitic photo.” The Huffington Post and Le Figaro used quotation marks for “dressed up” and “Jew”, to highlight the antisemitism in the photo. France Soir was the only newspaper to not do any of this: their headline states that Pradoura “disguised himself as a Jew”, without any quotation marks and the article itself never clearly calls the image is antisemitic.
Myth debunked: France Soir takes a decidedly neutral tone in this clearly antisemitic case, seeming to disregard the seriousness at play. The photo of Pradoura is alarming as it perpetuates some extremely harmful antisemitic tropes. The claw-like fingers suggest an evil greediness, a much-used antisemitic idea also employed by the Nazi regime. The National Rally party has had cases of anti-Semitism exposed within the party in the past, and so it is clear that this is not an isolated case. With all this in mind, taking a neutral journalistic stance on the case is not ethical. It should be made clear to the reader that this is a case of anti-Semitism and that Pradoura’s behavior is unacceptable. France has been experiencing a sharp rise in anti-Semitic acts, with a 74% jump in anti-Semitic incidents between 2017 and 2018. It is of the utmost importance that journalists play their part in combating it, something which France Soir failed to do so in this case.
More to read: