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LIBERATION
Libération is a French left-leaning daily. Co-founded by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1973, it later moved away from its original far-left and anti-advertising stance to embrace a social-democrat view. It was acquired by Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi in 2014.
Screenshot of a meme showing a photoshopped image of Greta Thunberg doing a V sign over Andrew Tate's grave
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Greta’s Andrew Tate Takedown Shines Light On Toxic American Males

Greta Thunberg dealt a knock-out blow online to self-proclaimed "misogynist" Andrew Tate. However, taming the spread of toxic masculinity online is not as simple.

-Analysis-

Two rounds, two knockouts in the all-out verbal dustup that saw Greta Thunberg win the year (or at least, the internet) in the final moments of 2022.

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“Hardly anyone is as skilled as Greta Thunberg when it comes to making supposedly grown men cry with rage,” writes Spain’s El Pais.

This, then, is a tale of Tate’s tears told in four tweets.

Greta v. Tate

First, the American boxer, social media influencer, and self-proclaimed “misogynist” Andrew Tate lashed out at the Swedish climate activist, gratuitously tweeting a picture of himself fueling a sports car. Noting that he had 33 such cars, Tate tauntingly offered to send the teenage Thunberg an account of their combined emissions.

Thunberg responded in a language both Tate and his audience would understand: “yes, please do enlighten me. email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com.” It’s a response that has since become the fourth most liked tweet in history, and one that Tate could not ignore.

He fired back with an insult and a picture of himself in a bathrobe, smoking a cigar, with a pizza box in front of him. Visible on the box was the Romanian pizza shop that he had ordered from.

Just hours later, Romanian police raided Tate’s property in the country and arrested him on charges of human trafficking. He is still being held, and his precious car collection was seized.

Though police later denied that the photo was central to their operation, Thunberg had enough time in between news of the arrest and their statement to pounce again, posting to her account: “this is what happens when you don’t recycle your pizza boxes.”

The dark side of the Tate brothers

You might not have been familiar with Andrew Tate before the incident — but an alarming number of teenage boys certainly have heard of him and others who share his ideology.

“Inspirational monologues, defense of capitalism, and misogynist theories: ‘masculinist thought,’ which is based on the idea that there is a crisis affecting traditional social conceptions of masculinity, is spreading on social media and targeting a younger and younger audience via Twitter accounts, Telegram groups, and short videos spread on Instagram and TikTok,” Pauline Ferrari wrote last summer in an extensively reported piece for Le Monde.

Online propaganda is centrally linked to recent right-wing terror incidents in the U.S. and Slovenia.

In the United States and elsewhere, far-right influencers have turned to TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, appropriating memes and online lingo, as a way of targeting — mainly male — teenage youth with their ideas, writes Nicolas Baygert of the Université Libre de Bruxelles in The Conversation.

As France’s Libération reports, Europol, Europe’s cross-border police agency, sees online propaganda as centrally linked to recent high-profile, right-wing terror incidents in the U.S. and Slovenia.

Romanian publication Puterea dug deeper into the dark underbelly of the “eccentric Tate brothers”, pointing out that their influence is built on “a bonafide industry, whose sole purpose is to promote pornography and pimping … Not only are they interlopers, supported by a real marketing machine, they’re dangerous mobsters, who promote prostitution and pornography.”

Toxic masculinity

Other European sources explored what Tate’s popularity reveals about how toxic masculinity is spread online. Swedish Expressen's Helen Ablatova expressed alarm about how many men see Tate as a role model. “If there's one thing young men need, it's not Andrew Tate and his harsh rhetoric … Yes, Andrew Tate's sudden popularity is terrifying. I'd like to say I'm surprised but unfortunately I'm not. The fact that someone so blatantly, openly and extremely sexist has become so famous just shows how few male role models there are in the world. A grim, grim truth.”

While Aftonbladet questioned whether excessive coverage of Tate was inadvertently helping his views reach more people: “Shall we talk about him? Write these types of articles? Or should we rather not give ‘flat-Earthers’ extra space for their conspiracy theories?”

However, German Der Freitag pointed out that social media was not the only cause of toxic masculinity: “Social media must be understood as a place of anti-feminist radicalization. But the advertising industry, or the film industry, also echo the binary gender logic and thus strengthen power relations. This suggests, especially to young men, that it is okay to strive for competition and control.”

In other news …

📰 UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER

As the House proceeds to more votes for Speaker today, Europe’s papers (like the Frankfurter Rundschau here) have taken note of the “chaos” caused by the inability of the House Republican majority to get on with what should be the simplest of tasks: electing a leader.

🏈 A CONTACT SPORT INDEED

Ankle sprains, knee injuries, concussions, fractures, herniated discs … In the wake of Buffalo Bills star player Damar Hamlin suffering a cardiac arrest during a game on Monday, El Universal draws a list of the most frequent injuries in futbol americano — a “contact sport that can be very dangerous,” as the Mexican daily writes.

❄️🗽 CHILLY LIBERTY

The "once-in-a-century" blizzard that struck the U.S. in late December and early January inspired Algerian daily Le Soir d'Algérie's cartoonist Karim Bouguemra.

Photo of comic artist Bastien Vivès
Society
Emma Albright

Free Speech v. Sexual Deviance: French Cartoonist Accused Of Promoting Pedophilia And Incest

The prestigious Angoulême International Comics Festival has cancelled the participation of Bastien Vivès, a leading French cartoonist, after a petition accused both drawings and comments that seem to justify pedophilia and incest. The festival cited risks of violence after threats were made online against Vivès.

This story has been updated Dec. 14, 8 p.m. local time

From Charlie Hebdo to Xavier Gorce to R. Crumb, cartoonists in France have a history of provocation and courting controversy—and generally receive French public support in return. But the latest provocateur, Bastien Vivès, may have crossed the line on the limits of free speech and artistic expression.

The 38-year-old comic book artist from Paris is facing a sudden backlash to work from four years ago that has resurfaced, as well as more recent comments, that critics charge excuse, or even promote, incest and pedophilia.

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President Joe Biden speaks on midterm elections results. Live broadcast on CNN TV channel from Clermont-Ferrand, France, November 9, 2022​.
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Eyes On U.S. — No 'Vague Rouge,' No Final Results: How The World Makes Sense Of Midterms

While some breathed sighs of relief that the Republicans' predicted "red wave" sweep didn't happen, others chuckle at how long it takes to count the votes. And then there's Senõr Musk...

PARIS — Three full days later, and there's still no real clarity on the U.S. midterms — but the world has gotten used to American elections dragging out for days or even weeks, for both political and technical reasons.

One French journalist wondered if there’s a simpler way.



But whatever the final tally, whoever winds up with majority control of the House of Representatives and Senate, readers learned that — after weeks of forecasts of huge Republican gains — the Democrats have avoided the vague rouge (Montreal)... onda rossa (Rome) ... chervona khvylya (Kyiv).

Elisabetta Grande of Italian magazine MicroMega noted that, while the midterms are not quite a win for the Democrats and President Joe Biden, voters rejected candidates in the "election denier" camp of the Republican party allied with former President Donald Trump.

France’s left-leaning Libération on Thursday was already looking ahead to the Republican battle royale shaping up between Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Portugal’s Publicozeros in on the Democrats man of the moment, John Fetterman, the newly elected Senator from Pennsylvania, who they describe as not having “supporters,” but rather “fans.” Publico sees particular relevance in the fact that Fetterman took down Trump’s handpicked candidate, Mehmet Oz.

Brazil’s O Globo gives Fetterman front page treatment, at least in part because he is married to a Brazilian, Gisele Barreto.


With DeSantis' midterms victory, "Trump already has a rival" for the 2024 presidential election, foresees Monterrey-based Mexican newspaper Milenio.

Global right-wing connections

European eyes remain concerned. From Germany, security and foreign policy watcher Marcel Dirsus quips, “it’d be a lot less unnerving to watch Americans vote from Europe if we weren’t so damn dependent on their choices.” No place is that more true today than the war in Ukraine, where Washington is by far the biggest contributor of military aid.

Kyiv-based news website Livy Beregnoted the results of exit polls that showed Americans are focused, above all, on the impact of a growing economic crisis and how it could affect U.S. support for Ukraine in the war against Russia. Notably, 81% of Democrats supported providing additional aid to Ukraine, compared to just 35% of Republicans.

For Jerusalem-based Haaretz, Moshe Gilad sees a dangerous connection between the U.S. far-right, the Israeli far-right, and “Birthright,” an organization that offers young American Jews a "discovery" trip to Israel.

Meanwhile observers from the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which typically monitors elections in countries with weak or no democratic institutions, deplored a state of “generalized disinformation” across the U.S. ahead of the elections.

Which brings us to our next topic, disinformation, and just what the heck is going to happen with Twitter.

📰 UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER

Korean daily Dong-a Ilbo

🐦 Monsieur Musk, alors?

Occupying almost just as much global attention this week as the U.S. midterms is Twitter under its new master, Elon Musk.

As An-Nahar sums up from Lebanon, Twitter is seeing a flood of users leaving for other pastures because it “became the place of a notable increase of speeches of hate and racist insults right after Elon Musk’s bought back the company.”

That’s unlikely to change anytime soon — as Germany’s Die Zeit reports, Musk sacked the Twitter team that discovered that Twitter’s algorithm tended to amplify far-right content. “Now that this team has been fired, it is even less likely that change will be possible — or even that these phenomenons could be better understood within the company,” Die Zeit writes.

As a result, many are threatening to leave Twitter (1 million accounts have already been deactivated), and the platform that’s in the running to replace it is not-U.S. based: Mastodon was created in 2016 by German software engineer Eugen Rochko, who is the company’s only employee.

The quirk of Mastodon is that everything is hosted on a series of independently run, decentralized servers; there is no central company, or central organization behind it.

Our continent, our rules.

This week, both Deutsche Welle and Le Monderan explainer pieces, giving readers the rundown on how Mastodon works, and how to create an account. But whether or not the platform shapes up as a true alternative remains to be seen — as Publico’s Karla Pequenino writes, Musk’s ultimate goal is to transform Twitter into a “superapp,” the likes of which exist in southeast Asia — like China’s WeChat or Singapore based Grab.

However, though he is now the sole owner of Twitter, Musk won't necessarily be able to do as he likes with the platform. Twitter’s global reach is a strength, and a constraint, as global regulators intend to make clear.

Stéphane Séjourné, the head of the Renew Europe group — the third largest in the European Parliament — is demanding that Musk come and testify before the EU’s legislative body. “Whatever Mr. Musk chooses to do, our refrain remains the same: our continent, our rules," he tweeted. "We must assure that Twitter continues to act against disinformation and hate speech."


A crashing bird is singing on the front page of French daily Libération.

​🇪🇬 IN BRIEF

COP 27 is happening in Egypt, and the U.S., Canada, and Australia are being called out for contributing far less towards climate finance than they should, considering their share of historic emissions.

But in the case of the US, it’s not just far less, it’s far, faaaaaaaar less. The U.S. is #1 … at doing the least, says Carbon Brief. And developing countries — who will bear the biggest burden despite their lack of responsibility for the problem, are upset.

Photo of a hand holding a phone recording footage of ​Vice President Kamala Harris during a midterm rally in NYC on Nov. 3
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Eyes On U.S. — How The World Is Tracking A High-Stakes Midterm Election

The international media is tuning in closely to Tuesday’s U.S. midterms, with global ramifications for everything from the war in Ukraine to action on climate change to the brewing superpower showdown with China.

PARIS — It’s becoming a bi-annual November ritual: International reporters touch down in some small American town or so-called “battleground state” that we’re told could decide the fate of the next two or four (or more) years in the United States — and the world.

Reporting for French daily Le Monde, Piotr Smolar was in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, where “culture wars” were infecting the schools ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. Meanwhile, Smolar's French broadcast colleagues at France Info were in the ever crucial state of Florida, talking to locals at the grocery store about the economy.

“The prices are crazy. I’m a veteran, I spent 16 years in the army and this is what I get when I come home,” said a man named Jake in the city of Melbourne, Florida. “We’re counting every penny. It’s Biden’s recovery plan that put us in this situation.”

Yes, it will likely be local issues that determine the results of the midterm elections, where Republicans have a strong chance of taking back control of Congress and deal a potentially fatal blow to some of President Joe Biden’s signature policy objectives.

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Forever Godard: 20 International Newspapers Bid Adieu To French New Wave Icon
Society
Chloé Touchard

Forever Godard: 20 International Newspapers Bid Adieu To French New Wave Icon

International outlets are saluting the passing of the father of the Nouvelle Vague movement, considered among the most influential filmmakers ever.

Jean-Luc Godard, the French-Swiss filmmaker who revolutionized cinema in the late 1950s and 1960s as the leading figure of the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) movement, died Tuesday at the age of 91.

The Paris-born Godard produced now-cult movies such as À bout de souffle (“Breathless” 1960), Le Mépris (“Contempt” 1963) and Alphaville (1965), with his later works always garnering interest among cinephiles, even if often considered inaccessible for the wider public.

Godard's lawyer reported that that the filmmaker had been “stricken with multiple incapacitating illnesses," and decided to end his life through assisted suicide, which is legal in Switzerland, where he'd lived for decades.

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Photo of a woman walking in Kyiv next to a disused Russian tank
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

World Front Pages As Ukraine Marks Independence Day & 6 Months Of War

Ukraine is marking a somber independence day that coincides with the six-month milestone of the Russian invasion. Here’s how newspapers around the world are covering the event.

Every year on August 24, Ukraine celebrates its 1991 independence from the Soviet Union. The anniversary of the peaceful transition is traditionally marked by military parades and other displays of patriotic pride across the country.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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But this year, celebrations will be subdued, as the event coincides with the grim milestone of six months since Russia launched its large-scale invasion of the country.

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Thousands of people demonstrate against abortion in Spain
Society
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Shaun Lavelle

End Of Roe v. Wade: Will It Spark Anti-Abortion Momentum Around The World?

Anti-abortion activists celebrated the end of the U.S. right to abortion, hoping it will trigger a new debate on a topic that in some places had largely been settled: in favor a woman’s right to choose. But it could also boomerang.

The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a constitutional right to abortion put the United States at the forefront of abortion rights in the world.

Other countries would follow suit in the succeeding years, with France legalizing abortion in 1975, Italy in 1978, and Ireland finally joining most of the rest of Europe with a landslide 2018 referendum victory for women’s right to choose. Elsewhere, parts of Asia and Africa have made incremental steps toward legalizing abortion, while a growing number of Latin American countries have joined what has now been a decades-long worldwide shift toward more access to abortion rights.

But now, 49 years later, with last Friday’s landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade, will the U.S. once again prove to be ahead of the curve? Will American cultural and political influence carry across borders on the abortion issue, reversing the momentum of recent years?

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Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages
Geopolitics

Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages

Newspapers in France and around the world are devoting their Monday front pages to Emmanuel Macron's reelection as French president.

Emmanuel Macron won a second term as president of France, beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen by a wide 58.5-41.5% margin ... oui, mais.

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