The French edition of the Huffington Post, that media outlet’s first presence in a non-English-speaking country which dates from January 2012, is the “new boy” on the French media scene. That’s probably what makes it think it has extra license to come up with this sort of on-the-edge coverage of the upcoming regional (“departmental”) elections there:
First, the tweet text: “The FN [that’s Marine Le Pen’s right-wing Front National] and its hundred-or-so repulsive candidates.” But how can they legitimately call them dérangeants (“disagreeable,” “repulsive”)?
Libération, L’Obs, Rue89, Le Figaro, France3, La Nouvelle République… All have worked hands-on to dissect the social media accounts of some thousands of candidates put forward by the party of Marine Le Pen, aided considerably by cybermilitants . . . more-or-less openly hostile to the FN.
In other words, a pack of researchers from the news organizations named above supplemented by interested “cybermilitants” have simply dug deeply into what these candidates have themselves been putting out to the public on social media.
The result is a Google Maps mash-up which you can see at small-scale in the tweet, and which you can examine in all its glory by clicking through to the article. But what do all those little flame-like marks mean? Here’s the Key to them; I think no translation is really necessary, other than “Combo” = “Combination”:
And there you have your handy guide to the FN’s more distasteful candidates for those upcoming elections, and why they are distasteful. Now, it’s true that much of this can be merely a matter of opinion: again, it has to do with interpreting the language on various social media messages, although I should think that in many cases it’s fairly clear when someone is being anti-Semitic, racist, etc.
Although certainly partisan, this sort of enterprise is all the more a necessary contribution because French opinion polls show that the FN is the party most likely to gain the most representation from those elections. One would think this sort of mash-up technique cannot be copyrighted – wouldn’t we like to see the same sort of thing as well just before national elections held elsewhere, e.g. Israel, the US?
UPDATE: While we’re on the subject of innovative, informative maps of France, here is another one (this time from Le Monde which shows, again by département, the number of cases of “radicalization” reported since last April, basically incidents of people either succeeding or not in traveling to Syria to fight for ISIL. As you would expect, the Paris area takes the prize.