France sought to keep a computer hack of frontrunner Emmanuel Macron’s campaign emails from influencing the outcome of the presidential election, with the electoral commission warning on Saturday that it may be a criminal offence to republish the data. Macron’s team said a “massive” hack had dumped emails, documents and campaign financing information online just before campaigning ended on Friday and France entered a quiet period, effectively forbidding politicians from commenting on the leak.
Polls have been predicting that Macron, a former investment banker and economy minister, is on course for a comfortable win over far-right leader Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s election, with the last surveys showing his lead widening to around 62 percent to 38.
…The election commission, which supervises the electoral process, warned social and traditional media not to publish the hacked emails lest they influence the vote outcome…
“On the eve of the most important election for our institutions, the commission calls on everyone present on internet sites and social networks, primarily the media, but also all citizens, to show responsibility and not to pass on this content, so as not to distort the sincerity of the ballot,” the commission said in a statement on Saturday.
“The commission stresses that publication or republication of these data…could be a criminal offence,” it said.
That’s right: withholding information from the voters because they can’t be trusted to be fair and discerning about what is relevant to their vote and what isn’t is to preserve “the sincerity of the ballot.” This is how they reason in countries without guaranteed freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. Florian Philippot, deputy leader of Le Pen’s National Front party, tweeted “Will Macronleaks teach us something that investigative journalism has deliberately kept silent?” Good question.
“What if you knew there was one document, relevant to the decision, but unfair — because there’s no time for the candidate to respond, no time to get at what is true — one document, and no one was saying what was in it, only telling you not to look at it, but all you needed to do was click and you’d see it? Would you look?”
What? What spineless, toadying, future totalitarian boot-lick wouldn’t look? I’ll decide what information is reliable, thanks, not the government. Ann just described about 75% of the political news stories in the Age of the Democratic Operative News Media. The good news: in her blog poll, 94% said that they would look, because they would trust themselves.
I was pondering this story as I learned that actor comic Stephen Fry, the best Jeeves ever, was being “investigated” by Irish police for blasphemy after he called God an ‘utter maniac’ who is ‘mean-minded and stupid’ on television.
And this, my friends, is why I react with disdain when a commenter here, or a pundit, cites as a reason why the United States should have different policies, laws or traditions because “we’re the only Western country/First World nation that doesn’t have X.”
The kind of thinking and values illustrated by these two stories shows why the determination of what is “right” in other cultures is not authority of any kind to be used as persuasion that the United States should have a different approach than it does.
See: health care, capital punishment; gun control, contingent fees for lawyers, et al.