The Press: Fools & Opposition

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Death for the Director. Judging from its stormy past, Le Figaro's next 19 years should be lively enough. Founded in 1826 as a weekly theatrical review, Le Figaro helped pay its way at first by collecting bribes from authors and playwrights for favorable notices. It later changed its ways, lured promising young authors to its pages, and was so successful, that it became a daily newspaper. When it printed pro-Dreyfus articles in the '90s, crowds stormed Le Figaro's plant and burned its equipment. In 1914, after Le Figaro published a series of bitter editorial attacks against Joseph Caillaux, the scandal-ridden Minister of Finance, Madame Caillaux slipped into the office and shot the paper's Director Gaston Calmette to death (a court acquitted her).

Le Figaro still carries a great deal of literary and theatrical criticism, but these days it lays more emphasis than ever before on sports, serial stories of topical interest and Page One editorials by Mauriac and Author Andre Siegfried (America Comes of Age). The change in ownership will presumably bring no change in policies. Under Director Brisson, Le Figaro will continue to mock whatever fools and opposition it chooses.

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