Daily Beast Editor Fears French ‘Far-Right’ Will ‘Exploit’ Paris Shooting

Appearing on MSNBC in the 3 p.m. ET hour on Thursday, during breaking news coverage of a shooting along the Champs Elysees in Paris, Daily Beast World News Editor Christopher Dickey was more worried by the prospect of France’s “very far-right party” using the incident as an issue in the nation’s upcoming presidential election than he was with the welfare of people caught up in the violence. 

Talking to anchor Brian Williams, Dickey warned: “Marine Le Pen, who is the head of a very far-right party that will – believe me, will exploit this to the maximum if the shooter, the man who was shooting on the Champs Elysees, turns out to have been an immigrant or the child of immigrants in any way, shape, or form, or a Muslim in any way, shape, or form.”      

              

Dickey continued his rant by decrying: “Because she is running a very anti-Muslim, very anti-immigrant campaign and always has. It’s – some would say it is racist, many people do say it’s racist. But it certainly builds on the divisions that already exist in this society.”

Williams framed Le Pen’s candidacy as part of a “global situation” that included Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and “fears about Angela Merkel’s successor in Germany.” Dickey wrung his hands: “Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, everybody is thinking, well, Brexit and then Trump and now Marine LePen?...And so, if that sounds like an echo of things we've seen in the United States, and to some extent, heard in Britain, it is.”

At the same time on CNN, Foreign Correspondent Hala Gorani expressed similar fears: “Sunday is the presidential election. The front-runner is Emmanuel Macron, he’s a centrist politician, but very, very close in the polls after him is Marine Le Pen, who’s a far-right candidate, who has spoken a lot about the terrorist threat. She’s anti-immigration, she wants to close the borders.”

She scolded: “And it's mainly the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen who’s talking about this terrorist threat because she is linking it to mass immigration she is linking to the refugee crisis, and she is hoping to score political points by putting it in that context, if you will.”

In January, Dickey appeared on MSNBC to link Donald Trump to "fascism" and to say that Europe thinks he is "out of his mind." 

Here are transcripts of the April 20 exchanges on MSNBC and CNN: 

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MSNBC Live
3:37 PM ET

(...)

BRIAN WILLIAMS: A much talked about and widely-watched election. Tell the folks watching – set the stakes for that election. What should we know?

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY: Well, I think what you have to know is that there are four candidates now who are only separated by the margin of error in the polls. Three of them are actually very pro-Russian and fairly anti-American. Two of them are from the extremes, the political extremes, and either of them, or both of them, could get into the runoff election two weeks from Sunday that will decide the president of France. The most famous of them is Marine LePen, who is the head of a very far-right party that will – believe me, will exploit this to the maximum if the shooter, the man who was shooting on the Champs Elysees, turns out to have been an immigrant or the child of immigrants in any way, shape, or form, or a Muslim in any way, shape, or form. Because she is running a very anti-Muslim, very anti-immigrant campaign and always has. It’s – some would say it is racist, many people do say it’s racist. But it certainly builds on the divisions that already exist in this society. 

WILLIAMS: So her election would further a spark that really started with Brexit. A spark that people looking at the global situation include the election of Donald Trump. There are fears about Angela Merkel’s successor in Germany. But that would be a piece of this whole, correct? 

DICKEY: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, everybody is thinking, well, Brexit and then Trump and now Marine LePen? But it wouldn’t just be Marine LePen. The far-left candidate also is against the European Union as we know it. And so, if either or both of them – conceivably, we could have far-left and far-right as the only choices for the French people two weeks and some days from now. And both of those characters want to get – essentially get out of the European Union and also weaken N.A.T.O., they are very pro-Russian. And so, if that sounds like an echo of things we've seen in the United States, and to some extent, heard in Britain, it is. And it would be really the – a nail – the nails in the coffin of the European Union and very probably of N.A.T.O. as well. 

(...)


CNN Newsroom
3:28 PM ET

HALA GORANI: Tonight is an important night, Ana, because there is a huge 11-person television event featuring all the presidential candidates. Sunday is the presidential election. The front-runner is Emmanuel Macron, he’s a centrist politician, but very, very close in the polls after him is Marine Le Pen, who’s a far-right candidate, who has spoken a lot about the terrorist threat. She’s anti-immigration, she wants to close the borders. These type of events are frightening Parisians and French people across the country. There were these terrible attacks at the Bataclan and Charlie Hebdo, and then the Nice truck attack not even a year ago. So obviously something like this is going to cause a lot of nervousness and a lot of tension across the country. 

(...) 

ANA CABRERA: You talked about the proximity to the elections that are coming up in just a few days and some of the different candidates who are part of this election, 11 different candidates. Now in terms of the lead-up to this big presidential election, have we seen there an increase in any kind of confrontations between different groups that are campaigning for their candidate? 

GORANI: Confrontation between the supporters of the candidates? No. But we're seeing, obviously, these major security and terrorism themes brought up by the candidates because they’re important to French people right now. And it's mainly the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen who’s talking about this terrorist threat because she is linking it to mass immigration she is linking to the refugee crisis, and she is hoping to score political points by putting it in that context, if you will.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC