April 24, 2017 Last Updated 7:44 am

Markets rally after Macron win in first round of French elections; Facebook recruiting for head of news products

Morning Brief: The Associated Press released the full transcript of its interview with President Trump, called ‘over-the-top’ and deeply disturbing by some political reporters

The supporters of a united Europe are breathing a little easier this morning. Emmanuel Macron, described as a centrist by most news agencies, finished first in the first round of French presidential voting, and now will face French far-right leader Marine Le Pen in two weeks. Le Pen may still win, but her prospects are far less that they were before Sunday.

Yesterday’s vote brought memories (for me) of the 1981 election where François Mitterrand became France’s first Socialist president. That vote followed the election in the US of Ronald Reagan and some saw were oh so sure they would see the French continue the trend to the right. Not so.

(If you haven’t been following the French election here is a recap: the French vote in two rounds. The first featured 11 candidates, with the top two vote getters advancing to the second round, held two weeks later. Macron finished on top, but with only 23.75 percent of the vote. Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front national, the far-right party, was second at 21.53 percent. The traditional parties all failed to make the second round.)

Despite the fact that the actual vote reflected the final polls – that is, there was no surprise – stock markets in Europe reacted with immense relief and are sharply higher this morning. The French CAC is up over 4.5 percent, while the German DAX is up over 3 percent. The British FTSE 100 is also up, 1.8 percent, but a Macron victory would be a victory for the EU, and likely would mean harder negotiations for Brexit.

Le Monde, Editorial:

The rejection of the National Front

Emmanuel Macron will have to take into account the extent of the social protest put forward by the very good score of the unrulyleader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon . Breaking with all the traditions of the left, he refused Sunday evening to call his supporters to vote for the opponent of the FN. There is no doubt that a significant number of its voters will be tempted to do the same. To convince them to change their minds, the centrist candidate (Macron) must not make the same mistake as Hillary Clinton, who had not drawn any consequence from the long resistance that voters of Bernie Sanders opposed to him .

As a reminder, the risk of a mass abstention on the Sunday of the election … is far from negligible. Emmanuel Macron has less than fifteen days to demonstrate to all these reluctant voters that he has taken the measure of the shock suffered by the French political system.

Le Figaro, Madeleine Meteyer:

Mélenchon’s refusal to support the republican front decried

In the fourth round, Jean-Luc Mélenchon surprised with a speech full of resentment and in which he did not give instructions to vote for the second round Emmanuel Macron-Marine Le Pen…

…Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, first secretary of the PS denounced the “mistake” of Jean-Luc Mélenchon whose position seems “untenable when one is left.” Minister of Housing Emmanuelle Cosse, who was invited on Monday morning to appear on French TV, said she was “angry” about Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s “anti-fascist and anti-nationalist” speech.

There were more than a few murmurs yesterday and this morning about an Associated Press interview with the president. The transcript released by the AP makes for difficult, uncomfortable reading.

Once again the president was “braggadocious” (a term not in the dictionary, but one Trump himself used in a debate), obsessed with his ratings. He also was, as usual contradictory, saying one thing, then minutes later another.

Associated Press, transcript:

Transcript of AP interview with Trump

TRUMP: OK. The one thing I’ve learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don’t watch CNN anymore.

AP: You just said you did.

TRUMP: No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say (inaudible)?

AP: You just said —

TRUMP: Where? Where?

AP: Two minutes ago.

TRUMP: No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it. Now I heard yesterday that MSNBC, you know, they tell me what’s going on.

AP: Right.

Late last year Facebook announced that it would be hiring for a head of news partnerships, a development that I thought was a move in the right direction. Finally, one of the big Silicon Valley giants was taking seriously their need to communicate better with their publishing partners.

In the end, I completely misread what Facebook was doing. They wanted someone who would sell the media on Facebook, not someone who would facilitate better communications and cooperation (they hired former CNN host Campbell Brown for the position).

Now, Facebook is hiring again for a position that sounds like a good idea. This time, however, I will without judgement. This, too, may simply be another marketing position where Facebook sells the media on itself and its initiatives… or maybe not.

Recode, Kurt Wagner:

Facebook is looking to hire a head of news products to combat fake news

Facebook is looking to hire someone to head up its news products, a significant new role charged with helping to combat the proliferation of so-called fake news on its service.

Facebook is talking to veterans of both the tech and media industries, according to multiple sources, but is having trouble finding someone with both the news and technology chops necessary to fill the role…

…This is a different job from the one claimed by Campbell Brown, the veteran TV journalist Facebook hired in January to lead the company’s news partnerships team, a narrowly focused role that largely entails communicating with various news organizations.

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