Au Revoir, Le Monde

It seems the nation that prides itself on doing things just a little differently has succumbed to the newspaper industry’s woes just like everyone else. The French paper of record has accepted a bid from three business tycoons in order to stay afloat. One of the paper’s new patrons made his billions in pornography, though the trio insists that journalists will maintain editorial control, says Paid Content: UK.

Le Monde has been an evening daily newspaper since 1944, when General de Gaulle ordered its establishment after the liberation of France. But now the country which most resembles European socialism, whatever that means, has shrugged off a courting gesture from the State. French President Sarkozy pulled a Berlusconi when expressing his displeasure with the trio’s private bid, instead offering Le Monde public funds to pay off its debts.

Italian President Silvio Berlusconi controls four of Italy’s five public TV channels: two privately as a media tycoon and two more under the direction of the State. Le Monde declined Sarkozy’s offer, preferring a group of men who lead liberal lives and who have ties to the opposition socialist party—besides the pornography producer, the trio who will now control the finances of Le Monde includes an former associate of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

Le Monde has been plagued with crises both capitalist and socialist in nature, demonstrating how technological revolution respects no political ideology. The paper once attempted to raise its cover price, only to be stymied by the State, and now that circulation has dropped to the point of losing money, it was once again the State who (attempted) to step in.

Sarkozy’s bid, made officially through the state media company France Telecom-Orange, has now been withdrawn. A third official bid was made for the paper by the Spanish media group Prisa, which also owns Spain’s most popular daily, El Pais. Now Prisa is said to have withdrawn its bid as well. 

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