PR for People Monthly December 2014 - Page 26

Lévy’s most important works are often described as inaccurate and sophomoric. Take his book Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, based on the Wall Street Journal reporter who was captured in Pakistan and murdered in 2002 by Islamic extremists. In a moment of sheer disrespect, Lévy wrote a fictionalized version of what Daniel Pearl was thinking just moments before he was beheaded.

One can hardly imagine the perils and horror of Lévy’s war coverage trying to get to the bottom of Who Killed Daniel Pearl? Did he ride embedded with the troops in Afghanistan, or did he travel far above the hoi polloi with French President Jacques Chirac’s special envoy? It is important to note that one benefit of Lévy’s wealth has meant that he has never bothered to learn how to drive and is frequently chauffeured around Paris in a Daimler sedan.

Everyone is entitled to their quirks, and Lévy is no exception. While it’s true he was born into great wealth, that is not a reason to lambast him. What is unforgiveable is his passionate defense of his friend, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after Strauss-Kahn’s physical assault on a hotel employee, Nafissatu Diallo, in 2011. Lévy proclaimed he couldn’t believe that a simple chambermaid would have the audacity to step forward and make a formal complaint against such an important man.

“And what I know even more is that the Strauss-Kahn I know, who has been my friend for 20 years and who will remain my friend, bears no resemblance to this monster, this caveman, this insatiable and malevolent beast now being described nearly everywhere,” Lévy stated at the time. “Charming, seductive, yes, certainly; a friend to women and, first of all, to his own woman, naturally, but this brutal and violent individual, this wild animal, this primate, obviously no, it’s absurd.”

Lévy gives rich new meaning to Mahatama Gandhi’s version of the “Seven Deadly Sins”: Wealth without Work, Pleasure without Conscience, Science without Humanity, Knowledge without Character, Politics without Principle, Commerce without Morality, and Worship without Sacrifice.

A recent search for Bernard-Henri Lévy on the New York Times site reveals 672 results, as the subject of feature articles, or the source of quotes, references and other mentions – and this is only in the Times. Lévy has not done anything substantial enough to get so much ink in top-tier legacy press.

His social media also boasts big numbers. To date, he has 19,367 likes on Facebook and 12,000 followers on Twitter, but we all know anyone can buy social currency. It can only be a matter of money stoking the P.R. machinery to buy publicité on both sides of the Atlantic. So Bernard-Henri Lévy, indeed, will never have to suck up to anyone.