News reports on political demonstrations and protest marches have kept the New York Times busy this past week.
In the print and on the web it has run a least three dozen articles on the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, while also covering civil rights protests in Ferguson, Mo., student protests in Egypt, pro-Kurdish protests in Ankara, and Shia protests in Yemen.
Perhaps this surfeit of protests was what led the Times to ignore demonstrations in that far off place called France.
Paris police reported that over 78,000 “pro-family” demonstrators (organizers claim several hundred thousand) marched through Paris on Oct. 5, 2014, with tens of thousands marching in support in Bordeaux, denouncing the Socialist government’s support for same-sex marriage and IVF and surrogacy rights for same-sex couples.
The marches have dominated the headlines of the French newspapers and animated political discourse. The Friday before the rally organized by the Manif Pour Tous coalition, Prime Minister Manuel Valls caved into one of the groups key demands.
Radio France International (RFI), the government supported broadcaster, reported:
As hardline Catholics and family-values campaigners prepare to demonstrate in Paris this Sunday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has performed an about-face on surrogate motherhood, declaring that it will never be legal in France.
The report on the march by RFI was not charitably inclined towards the protestors, but the event did merit coverage from newspapers across the spectrum. The left-leaning newspaper Libération gave the story front page coverage -- taking the editorial line the protests were a waste of time as the government was not going to rescind its same-sex marriage laws. However, Libé speculated the true purpose of the march was not to change current laws, but to signal the rising political power of the pro-family conservative vote.
The center-left newspaper Le Monde also gave the march coverage on its front page on Oct. 6, and agreed with Libé that protesters were exercising their political muscle in the face of a vulnerable government.
Continue reading "Silence from Paris" by George Conger.