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Going Carla crazy

Peter Barron | 15:22 UK time, Friday, 28 March 2008

Newsnight logoA couple of weeks ago I was talking to a French diplomat about the forthcoming Presidential visit to Britain about what the key issues might be. I struggled to think where points of controversy might arise and concluded that the big story could actually be Carla Bruni. The diplomat shot me a look of Gallic disdain.

Why has the media gone quite so mad about the new Mrs Sarkozy? The Daily Mail devoted more pages to her than even their beloved plastic bags, and today the high-minded Guardian's G2 did a six page front cover feature. Are they satisfying a genuine public fascination or does this represent a new low in the media's obsession with supermodels, celebrity and gossip?

Carla BruniIn the Newsnight office Carla Bruni has, I admit, been the most talked about subject of the week, although so far our coverage has been limited to Jeremy's more-detailed-than-usual scrutiny of the front pages (which you can watch here).

In this morning's meeting we had a long discussion about an appropriate Newsnight response, and concluded that we should discuss the Carla Bruni phenomenon and the media's handling of it on tonight's Newsnight Review. Let us know what you think.


  • 1.
  • At 06:43 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • Jeanette Eccles, London wrote:

I liked the G2 Jim Shelley take on Paxo very amusing more so than the use of the word pins really !


Carla Bruni – Shilpa Shetti: what’s in a name? It’s all a matter or rhythm n’est ce pas? And the pathetic politicians and media go all ga-ga. Send for John Major, and let’s have some Back to Basics decency restored. Carla or no Carla, I still want a referendum and I still want my laws enacted where I can get at the charlatans who make ‘em. This is the land of the tea-cosy. Sarkozies should be turned back at the border, whatever charms the wife may have.

  • 3.
  • At 10:49 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • clifford wrote:

" we should discuss the Carla Bruni phenomenon and the media's handling of it"

News about news? No thanks.

  • 4.
  • At 11:43 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • Paul D wrote:

' - and today the high-minded Guardian's G2 did a six page front cover feature.'

So how did they manage to put six pages onto one page? (I take it that G2 does only have one front page).

Is this a question of numeracy or literacy? As to Mrs. Sarkozy's pins, they look good to me but hardly justify the media frenzy that surrounds them.

  • 5.
  • At 01:15 AM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • june Gibson wrote:

Pass the sick-bag, please.

  • 6.
  • At 07:56 AM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • Bill Lee wrote:

Who? Wasn't she some minor
flag bearer at the Turin olympics?

What will you say in two years
time, pace Diana Spencer

  • 7.
  • At 09:04 AM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Is it strange that foreign leaders' wives are always feted: Mme Sarkozy, Jackie O; whereas we always tend to hate the wives of our own politicians?

  • 8.
  • At 11:39 AM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • roland wrote:

I was surprised by the complete adulation of Anne McElvoy and others. If a senior politician here aspired to a celebrity wife who had a free living past the press would explode in indignation. Traditionally we require a stable and sober lifestyle believing this conducive to honest leadership. So why, amidst the tide of admiration, did Newsnight Review (not normally given to hysteria) not have one insightful word? Is portraying a "Camelot" image to be universally admired or could not someone find just one word to say in favour of substance?

  • 9.
  • At 05:07 PM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • DaveH wrote:

I wonder how the Mail and the Sun reconcile their vehement opposition to the EU with their blanket coverage of Mrs. Sarkozy? Who knows, if the NW European peso drops much further against the coinage used by the lady, we might see the media about-face of all time with demands that we join the euro!

  • 10.
  • At 08:38 PM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • Anon wrote:

It's because she's pretty. If she looked like a bag of spanners, there would'nt be one story on her in the media. The media is very shallow.

Everybody loves a star with brains, brawn and beauty. So Carla Bruni has mesmerized the British and French press and her hosts and has catapulted her husband into the lime-light. Without her by his side the French President would have received normal attention: her presence has galvanized the state visit into a media circus with even the British Royals visibly struck by the 'beauty' in their midst.

  • 12.
  • At 10:08 AM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • Tom Kennedy wrote:

Sorry I'm late replying to this - I don't normally read the Editor's blog.

Re Carla Bruni: please stop dumbing down.

Re the Newsnight Review: stop navel-gazing. Haven't you media people better things to do than discuss each other? Like, for example, reporting and analysing the real news?

  • 13.
  • At 12:12 PM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • Rumy Vakarelska wrote:

Sarkozy an Bruni showed a real interest in the UK and made an effort to get noticed. They also said positive things about the UK and Europe's emerging axis. Well, that does not happen everyday. They want to be popular and they have become popular.

UK and international politicians can learn from that as political communication can be positive and inspiring, too.

I do not follow politicians, who show off, but they did more than that and I would be interested more in how they have achieved this chemistry and how much they got a support from the President's spin doctors.

Rumy Vakarelska, London-based journalist

Paul D (4)

It was the cover story of G2, which had a 6 page feature inside - I thought that was reasonably clear.


  • 15.
  • At 02:23 PM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • Emma wrote:

I actually really like Calra Bruni. She seems like a really nice person, in one of the clips showed on the news (dmittedly quite a while ago, but I've not had access to the internet) she did a little laugh (when she was stood with the Queen et al) and it seemed really genuine.

Plus, the more the papers write about her, the less room there is for Amy Whinehouse, Britney Spears Diana and so on....

My main problem with the visit? Sarkozy's over-zealous brown nosing in his speach!

  • 16.
  • At 10:11 PM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • Robin wrote:

There is no reason to wonder whay she receives so much attention if we knew that the press is dictated to By those who usually have ulterior motives. Of course such attention does not sound justified.
May be it is time to call for freedom of the press in terms of publics

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