July 27, 2021

Anne Sinclair Takes Helm at French Huffington Post

PARIS — Anne Sinclair smiled big for the cameras, not as the betrayed wife standing by her man, but as the star journalist she once was and hopes to be again.

The wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Ms. Sinclair returned to public life on Monday before more than 250 journalists in her new role as editorial director for the French version of The Huffington Post news Web site that debuted on Monday.

The news conference represented her first professional appearance since Mr. Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was charged with sexually assaulting a maid in a New York hotel last May and forced to abandon his quest for the French presidency. The criminal charges were later dismissed.

“She is definitely going to be our public face,” said Arianna Huffington, the founder of the site, in an interview on Sunday.

A former television anchor and the heiress to an art fortune, Ms. Sinclair seemed well-rehearsed and at ease in describing her goals and her role at Le Huffington Post.

She insisted that there would be no conflict of interest in carrying out her duties. “All important news will be treated normally, as it would be treated elsewhere,” she said, adding, “Anything that should be on the front page will be on the front page.”

She denied that her relationship with her husband would affect her work. “I do not mix private and professional life,” she said.

She dodged a question on whether she would support Socialist candidate François Hollande for president of France, and denied that she had played a role in her husband’s plans to run for president on the Socialist ticket. “I wasn’t invested in the candidacy of my husband,” she said. She described herself as “careful.”

Paradoxically, had her husband been the Socialist party’s candidate for president, this job might not have been hers.

Since this is France, where journalists are loath to pry into the personal lives of the rich and powerful, she was not asked questions that might have come up in an American setting: Why do you stay with your husband? Does he suffer from a mental illness and cannot control his impulses, as a former Socialist prime minister, Michel Rocard, said some months ago? Can you elaborate on your claim that your husband’s treatment in the American criminal justice system is comparable to the Dreyfus affair? How are you dealing with allegations that your husband might have been involved in a French prostitution ring now under criminal investigation?

Ms. Huffington, sitting by Ms. Sinclair’s side, defended her as a gifted journalist and a role model for other women.

“Every woman in her private life” has suffered “setbacks, ordeals,” Ms. Huffington said. A woman like Ms. Sinclair, she added, “gives hope and courage to every other woman.”

Le Huffington Post is a joint venture of AOL, the Internet company that owns The Huffington Post; the French daily newspaper Le Monde; and Matthieu Pigasse, a banker who acquired Le Monde in 2010 in partnership with two other investors.

The Web site’s tiny staff of eight will work out of Le Monde’s offices in Paris, and the news conference was held in Le Monde’s auditorium. Ms. Sinclair’s every gesture, every smile, every whisper in Ms. Huffington’s ear was greeted with the clicks of the cameras of dozens of photographers.

Ms. Sinclair delivered. Her makeup was impeccable, her fingernails meticulously manicured, her voice low-pitched and confident, her gaze focused on certain photographers.

“This is a chance for me,” said Ms. Sinclair. “The Huffington Post gave me a chance.”

Ms. Sinclair said she would be working full-time, even more than full-time in her new job, although day-to-day editing responsibility would fall to Paul Ackermann, a former journalist with the newspaper Le Figaro.

Asked why she picked she pick Anne Sinclair, Ms. Huffington reeled off a list of Ms. Sinclair’s experience and qualifications, and then added: “Every woman in her private life — if not her in public life — has been through setbacks, ordeals and problems. When we see a woman enter the arena again, and get engaged with what is happening in the world, it gives hope and courage to every other woman.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d30eba6f547ef0869395575037cee322

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