Breitbart in Paris and Berlin
The real reason Breitbart hasn’t opened up offices in Germany and France
Breitbart has had a magnificent influence on public debate in the US and the UK. Without Breitbart, it is quite possible God Emperor Trump might not have gotten elected. And Breitbart London certainly had a positive influence on the Brexit debate.
So a lot of Breitbart’s fans in Europe wonder what’s the delay with the much heralded offices in Germany and France? In January it seemed like everyone was running articles on the new offices that would be in place for the French and German elections.
And back in February Politico ran a story accusing Breitbart of all talk and no action.
We suspect the issue is more that press freedom is so curtailed in France and Germany, that they don’t know yet quite how to enter the market without getting sued or jailed.
Remember, not long ago in Germany, the comedian Jan Böhmermann was threatened with a lengthy prison sentence for making fun of Turkish president Erdogan. Boris Johnson and the Spectator were happy to flaunt this (to their credit) from the UK with Boris winning the prize for the Best Erdogan poem.
There was a young fellow from Ankara
Who was a terrific wankera
Till he sowed his wild oats
With the help of a goat
But he didn’t even stop to thankera.
*Extempore limerick in conversation with Nicholas Farrell and Urs Gehriger for the Swiss newspaper Die Weltwoche. On the grounds of its spontaneity, it has been judged the winner of The Spectator’s President Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition
Truth be told, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson PC, Secretary of State for the Brexiting UK might also be threatened with prison if he was a German, or resident in Germany, for such high crimes. And there have been plenty of articles talking about the controlled media in Germany.
Of course the effect is a glacial chill on free speech.
Breitbart reports on the migrant crises in Europe, reports on the failing government, reports on groups like the “hipster-right” Identitarians who openly question Merkel’s policies of mass migration. They even report on the fact that the Identitarians are now being monitored by the German secret police. None of that bodes well for entering the German market.
And France isn’t much better.
It seems like every month there is a new story about presidential candidate Le Pen getting accused of saying something she shouldn’t have, or someone else saying something else not allowed, no matter how obviously true.
If you head one of the top three parties in France, and question Muslims taking over entire streets in the heart of Paris, you will be silenced. Point out that 90% of children in some French classrooms being Muslim might not be such a good idea? You risk being prosecuted.
The threat of prosecution can be as effective as prosecution itself.
Do you think if Trump had declared his candidacy in France or Germany with the Mexican rape speech he would have been allowed to continue? No way. Neither truth nor freedom of speech are protected in these places as in the US and UK.
So when Le Pen recently banned the French MSM from direct access, everyone howled, but it made perfect sense. Up until now, the government has been able to block any large, truly conservative news outlets from entering the mainstream. And the French MSM offer anything but balanced coverage.
If Breitbart does enter the French and German markets, we’ll be ecstatic. It can only improve competition and news coverage in these countries.
For the moment though, the water is still just a little cold. Don’t be surprised to see them open their German and French Bureaus ‘outside’ of France and Germany.