FIGARO LIVE – The journalist presents a new issue of “Cash Investigation” dedicated to the fast food giant. Guest of “Buzz TV”, tells the backstage of this investigation.
TELEVISION MAGAZINE. – France 2 broadcasts this Thursday night a new number of “Cash Investigation” entitled “Is It Like That at McDonald’s?”. Isn’t the P’tit Wrap attacking the Big Mac?
Elise LUCET. – It is very interesting when a company has so much influence on our soil since France is the second largest market for McDonald’s in the world, after the United States. They have 1,400 restaurants, 75,000 employees, and serve two million meals a day. With the journalist Zoé de Bussière, we were interested in this giant more than the others because of this dominance over people. Whether children, adults, families or elderly people, this brand is known by all, appreciated by some, hated by others, but it really is very important in the life of the French. And also, we collected testimonials from employees who were laid off from McDonald’s headquarters. When we received them, we told ourselves that we were going to be interested in their management methods, but not only.
In what state of mind did you approach this investigation?
Every company we work for has armies of lawyers. Typically, teams of 40 or even 50 people will crack our investigation. But for our part, for ten years now, we are also used to working on a legal level. Before, it took us 10% of our time. Now, this aspect occupies 30% of our time. A good journalist must also be highly trained in these matters because there are laws and they must be respected. A reporter is not above the rules. But it is true that, when you find yourself facing teams of lawyers, sometimes it is a hell of a battle. But we work hard on it: every word is weighed, and the France Télévisions lawyers reread the commentary of our investigation four or five times.
Are we going to learn that soft drinks are sweet and that hamburgers are greasy and bad for your health?
We will learn a little more than that! Director Zoé de Bussière had the nutritional content of Happy Meals analyzed. We prove in this “Cash Investigation” that the amount of iron that makes up the tiny minced steak is paltry. You would need to eat four and a half burgers to get the average iron content recommended by health authorities for a seven-year-old’s breakfast. Therefore, at 4 pm or 5 pm, these young children will demand a sweet, salty or fatty snack, because there is not enough nutritional supply.
One of the reporters was recruited from a McDonald’s restaurant. She consumed products from the establishment every day. How did her body react?
He worked there for a month. To attract people whom McDonald’s objectively pays very poorly, it offers them a meal. The employee who looks after the fries sometimes takes out 300 kilos of them in three hours. So everyone eats as nutritious as possible, ie burgers, fries because they are exhausted! In a month, our journalist gained one and a half kilos, and all his health signs changed quite impressively. We see that his blood sugar level has risen very significantly and that he has lost his good cholesterol extremely rapidly.
Do you ever eat at McDonald’s?
No, I love to cook! I’m not a fast food person at all, I prefer to use natural ingredients. In my life I must have eaten there five times. It was during the shoot, where there was nothing else and I had no choice. When she was old enough to understand, I told my daughter that I would never take her to McDo and Disney. On the other hand, other people took her away. She liked him, but she likes him less and less.
Does the France Télévisions publicity director bite his teeth when he tells you that he is going to attack a potential advertiser?
Delphine Ernotte, the group’s president, really has an exemplary attitude. She told all the leaders of France Télévisions that she would rather lose an advertising campaign than her reputation. She defends the presence of research. In a private television that is not possible. There are polls on McDo that have been truncated because he is too big of an advertiser. We have carte blanche to carry out investigations as long as they are really journalistic and legally square. If we lose an advertiser, management’s job is to find others.
What do you think of these presidential candidates who want to abolish the audiovisual tax?
The most important thing is independence. Royalty or not, we must have strong guarantees that independence is preserved and that there will be no attempt to interfere with editorial lines. That several candidates say that it is a tax that no longer has a place, why not. But what about our independence? You have to be confident but also extremely alert. I trust because if we try to touch our editorial lines, the citizens will know, they will not be happy and they will say so. The French are our best allies because they want independent information.