Mar 11, 2017

Marine Le Pen feels the media's Trump effect

Steve Helber / AP; Francois Mori / AP

As President Trump knows, saying controversial things during a presidential bid gets you a lot of free press and sucks up airtime from your opponents (poor Jeb!). So it's not surprising that Marine Le Pen's nationalist — and by nearly all typical metrics, politically incorrect — bid for the French presidency is receiving the same sort of sanctimonious yet breathless media coverage around the world.

  • The British press were 4.5 times more likely to mention Le Pen than her chief opponent, centrist frontrunner Emmanuel Macron, per an analysis of UK headlines by Buzzfeed News. As a comparison, Trump got more than twice the amount of nightly news coverage that Hillary Clinton did.
  • All about the clicks: Buzzfeed found that the top 20 stories about Le Pen had more than 15k engagements on Facebook, while only the top story about Macron broke that number. Again, Trump did the same — getting 3 times as many page views per article than Clinton, according to
  • Sound familiar? There's a strong worry in France that the Kremlin is using bots to amplify positive social media chatter about Le Pen and increase online engagement with content sympathetic to her. There's also significant evidence that Russian state-run media corporations are producing pro-Le Pen content that's designed to be highly shareable.
  • The most viral Le Pen headlines often come from right-wing outlets, painting her on the verge of victory and the European Union on the edge of collapse from mass immigration. Condé Nast International's CDO explained her UK coverage to Buzzfeed, "Euroskeptic newsrooms want to conflate all 'populist' right-wing parties as part of an uprising of anti-immigrant, anti-Brussels sentiment." You can see the same here in the United States — Breitbart has fawning headlines for Le Pen while branding Macron as her "globalist rival."
  • But here's the really big thing: Donald Trump won. That automatically grants Le Pen legitimacy in her media coverage that requires both her and her agenda to be taken seriously — even when she's comparing to Islam to Nazism.
  • One headline that sums it all up from Foreign Policy: "Marine Le Pen Is Donald Trump Without the Crazy"

Go deeper

Acting Navy head apologizes for calling fired captain "stupid"

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly testifies on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly apologized Monday for calling Capt. Brett Crozier, the ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt "too naive or too stupid" over his letter pleading for help following a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

The big picture: His apology came after President Trump told a news briefing earlier Monday he would "get involved" following a leak of Modly's remarks on Crozier to the ship's crew, obtained by CNN. Modly said in a statement.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,346,299 — Total deaths: 74,679 — Total recoveries: 276,636Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 367,507— Total deaths: 10,908 — Total recoveries: 19,598Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  4. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  5. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  6. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Former Vatican treasurer George Pell's sexual abuse convictions overturned

Cardinal George Pell at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer, has won his appeal and had his child sexual abuse convictions overturned by Australia's High Court.

Why it matters: The cardinal became last year the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to go to trial and be convicted for sex abuse. But the High Court's ruling means he can be immediately released from prison, where he was serving a six-year sentence.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - World