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Cablegate: French Tv Tf-1 Request to Interview Potus

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS PARIS 004176

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR R, EUR, EUR/PPD, EUR/WE
DEPT PASS TO FOREIGN PRESS CENTER

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL FR
SUBJECT: FRENCH TV TF-1 REQUEST TO INTERVIEW POTUS


1. SUMMARY. France's leading private television station has
contacted the Ambassador to request an interview with President Bush
in advance of the G-8 meetings. We strongly endorse this request
and ask (para 6) Department concurrence and support in securing
White House approval. END SUMMARY.

2. France's TF-1 television's primetime hour-long evening newscast
boasts 39% of the audience share for that time slot, thanks in part
to its refusal - unusual in this media environment - to take an
identifiable editorial line. TF-1 draws viewers from across the
French middle classes because of its popular series programmed for
immediately after the nightly newscast.

3. TF-1's nightly news anchorman Patrick Poivre d'Arvor is a
well-respected media figure, one of the most identifiable in France,
and akin to Walter Chronkite in his heyday. He has interviewed
guests ranging from movie stars to heads of state, including
Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2003. Despite repeated requests

SIPDIS
to the White House through its Washington bureau, TF-1 has not
interviewed an American President since President Clinton in 1999.

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4. At a lunch for Ambassador Stapleton and in subsequent contacts,
Poivre d'Arvor raised the idea of an interview with President Bush.
He has proposed to do this in the run-up to the G-8 meetings in St.
Petersburg. Questions would focus on the U.S. agenda for the G-8,
U.S.-European relations, Iraq, Iran, and the U.S.-French bilateral
relationship. Details such as precise topics and exact date remain
to be negotiated with TF-1.

5. U.S. and French positions are close on a number of key issues
including Iran, Syria/Lebanon, Hamas, non- and counter-proliferation
and other aspects of our global agenda. Partly as a result of
France's own experience, French officials are restrained on
difficult issues such as Guantanamo and the allegations of secret
detainee flights in Europe. A Presidential interview with TF-1
would constitute a major media event, reach the prime TV viewership
here and affirm the positive momentum in our bilateral relations and
the importance of U.S.-European cooperation in support of the
freedom agenda.

6. ACTION REQUESTED: Embassy strongly endorses TF-1's interview
request and requests Bureau and Department concurrence as well as
support in securing White House approval for this interview.

STAPLETON

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