Cat breeder Marine Le Pen used talk-show interview to rebrand as Joe Bloggs candidate

Marine Le Pen 'threatening Macron in elections' says expert

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When the French presidential candidate was first invited to “An intimate ambition” (Une Ambition Intime) in 2017, Marine Le Pen shared terrifying memories of her childhood as Jean Marie Le Pen’s daughter. In November 2021, the Rassemblement National candidate for presidency accepted a second invitation to the same talk show as part of a special edition on women in politics.

Hosted by Karine Le Marchand, the show is built around an intimate interview with a public personality following weeks of pre-reporting among their loved ones and team members.

During the interview on November 8, Marine Le Pen was seen playing with her kittens, gardening and sharing some insights into her life as a single woman living with another woman her age whom she has known her whole life.

Ms Le Marchand did not question Le Pen on any part of her program or the presidential election of 2021 as she focused the interview on Marine Le Pen’s private life, her feelings regarding her 2017 debate against Emmanuel Macron and cats.

Ms Le Pen, 53, said she used her time during lockdown to work, read, and take the cat breeder official, which she passed.

The program then shows her petting the five cats she currently looks after while explaining that when one of her pregnant cats is ready to give birth, she tells her team she’ll be unavailable and cancel all plans.

Linguistic Professor Paola Pietrandrea told that Marine’s strategy was on point as no one can criticise her love of cats.

She said: “Le Pen played the game perfectly well. The language she used humanised her as a political figure even though her plan sometimes sounds inhumane.

“She left no room for criticism showing only certain aspects of her life.”

Professor Pietrandrea, from Lille University, also claims the storytelling around cats, gardening and sharing a house with a friend was a way to appear more normal to the audience and eventually get more votes for her personality rather than her politics.

“She centred her discourse around her lifestyle, habits and struggles getting back up after a big fail, things that anyone can connect with.

“She managed to separate that from everything that people tend to criticise her for.”

Ms Pietrandrea mentions Aristotle, who said a political discourse is made of pathos [the emotion], ethos [the way the orator presents] and logos [cohesive and pertinent thoughts].

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“Le Pen showed a lot of pathos and ethos during the interview, but there were no logos at all as it was not asked from her.”

Contrary to a regular TV program that includes a political interview, Ms Le Marchand’s show is identified by its host and producer as an apolitical talk show with “no agenda.”

Ms Le Marchand told Le Point: “I was able to do this program because M6 [her broadcaster] is not politicised.

“Political neutrality on television is necessary and is respectful of our viewers.”

She said the gist of this special edition was to show “who were those female politicians under the armour they had to create for themselves.”

Having a television crew in her own house and filming her in her daily life is a consequence of the preponderance of the attention economy, claims the linguistic professor.

“There’s an undeniable layer of gossiping here. But that’s how the program attracted its viewers’ attention.”

The expert said arousing the curiosity of those viewers will, for some, lead to human compliance and, later on, votes.

On Twitter, Le Pen’s supporters praised her for being “brave,” “sensitive”, and “touching.”

At the same time, most negative comments targeted the program’s host and not Le Pen herself.

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