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Normally nonchalant about leaders' personal lives, the French haven't taken kindly to pubulicity surrounding Sarkozy's lifestyle, helping drive down his approval ratings to their lowest level since he took office in May.

What does the line in bold refer to? Thanks.
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Normally the people of France don't pay a lot of attention to the person lives of their leader, but they are not very pleased with how Sarkozy has been living and how much in the public eye he has been, ...
the French haven't appreciated the publicity surrounding Sarkozy's lifestyle
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Marius Hancuthe French haven't appreciated the publicity surrounding Sarkozy's lifestyle
Thanks, GG and Marius.

To make sure, does "take kindly to the publicity" refer to "like the news very much?"
They don't like the fact that there IS news about it. It seems they'd prefer he be more discreet.
Grammar GeekThey don't like the fact that there IS news about it. It seems they'd prefer he be more discreet.

Thanks, GG.

Is that the reason why they use "publicity" instead of "news?"
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There are some subtleties - publicity is being IN the new, not the new itself. It's hard to explain.
Hi,

Publicity is the attention from the news (TV, newspapers. magazines, etc...). When the news media give someone attention to create public awareness and interests, the media create publicity and that 'someone' receives publicity. Without news, there is no publicity. However, not every piece of news creates publicity.
Thanks HT - nicely done.
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