French President Rebuked Journalist Over Lebanon Article

French President Rebuked Journalist Over Lebanon Article
AFP/POOL/Gonzalo Fuentes | Richard Brunel

“…What you did was grave, unprofessional, and mean,” French President Emmanuel Macron angrily told renowned French journalist Georges Malbrunot, over an article he recently wrote about the French President’s visit to Lebanon.

The video of Macron’s heated exchange with the journalist caught fire after the former concluded his 2-day visit to Lebanon, to push for reforms and meet Prime Minister-Designate Mustapha Adib.

Perhaps one of the most prominent remarks Macron made during his stay was the indication that sanctions could be imposed on Lebanese politicians in case they were proven to be corrupt.

With that said, Macron was apparently aggravated by the fact that Malbrunot, a specialist on Middle Eastern affairs, had reported earlier that the President was considering sanctions against Lebanese politicians who resist reforms.

Le Figaro article in question was published on August 31st, hours before Macron landed in Beirut, and quoted Macron as saying: “Yes, we are thinking of sanctions, but we have to do it with the Americans for it to be effective.”

According to the Elysee, what particularly angered the French President was the fact that Malbrunot did not seek out a response before making the claim and didn’t give the Elysee “the possibility of reacting to information.”

“What you have done, taking into account the sensitivity of the subject, taking into account the history of this country, is irresponsible,” Macron told the journalist to his face after the press conference he held at the Pine Residence in Beirut, on Tuesday.

“You have always heard me defend journalists, I always will. But I tell you frankly, what you did was grave, unprofessional, and mean,” he added.

Later, Georges Malbrunot commented on the encounter, saying: “I was very surprised by the virulence of this attack, which is unacceptable.”

He noted that he had talked the incident over with the Elysee. “For me, the incident is closed.”