An article in Newsweek entitled The Fall of France, by journalist Janine di Giovanni, has proved beyond the pale even for the most sanguine of Gallic commentators, who this week have unleashed their fury against “le French bashing” and heaped ridicule on some of the piece’s more questionable claims. Read more >>
The cartoon by Adams from the Daily Telegraph features a play on the expression basket case. According to The Phrase Finder, a basket case is "an infirm or failing person or thing - unable to function properly. Originally this referred to soldiers who had lost arms and legs and had to be carried by others. More recently it has been used to denounce a failing organisation or scheme and is less often applied to people." • Germany's finance minister says Greece is a financial basket case and no amount of bailouts will solve it.
The cartoon shows the head of French President François Hollande, who has just been guillotined, in a basket (hence the joke). He says, in his thick French accent, "'ow dare you call us ze basket case!" The message is that, notwithstanding Hollande's (and the French media's) display of outrage, France and its President really are in a pickle (Hollande's popularity rating sank to 20 percent in November, the lowest since polling firm IFOP started measuring presidential popularity in 1958).
The Newsweek article is full of clichés and factual errors, so I'm not surprised the French are up in arms (not literally, of course).
• The Fall of France (Newsweek)
• Fall of France II: How a Cockerel Nation Became an Ostrich (Newsweek)
• Newsweek Article On 'Fall Of France' Gets It All Wrong (Huffington Post)
• The Fall of France ... or Newsweek (France 24 - Daily Motion)
• 'The Fall of France' is same old French bashing (The Local)
• “Fall of France”: Newsweek Piece Sparks Outrage, Fact-Checking (French Morning)
• The Fall of « Newsweek » – Les mille et une erreurs d’un article de « french-bashing » (Le Monde)
• The fall of « Newsweek » 2 – Quand l’hebdomadaire s’acharne et se trompe à nouveau (Le Monde)