MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
"Le Petit Journal," A French comedy show akin to "The Daily Show," used facts and satire to force Fox News to apologize for three "errors" the Murdoch network disseminated in its effort to whip up anti-Islamic hysteria through its "reporting."
Specifically, Fox had claimed that there were neighborhoods in Paris that were dangerous to non-Muslims; that there was a poll taken that showed a significant number of French young people supported ISIS; and that there were official "no-go zones" for persons who are not of the Islamic faith (this included baseless accusations that such "no-go zones" also existed in England, an assertion echoed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in a Fox interview).
You can watch the host of "Le Petit Journal," Yann Barthès, bask in satisfaction at the Fox admission of "errors" as he munches on popcorn and sips from a drink, here. The segment doesn't have subtitles, but you will understand most of it even if you don't speak French; the clips of Fox anchors admitting their Islamophobic claims about Paris (and England) were false are, of course, in English. It will also help to know three French expressions: La Carte (the map); Les Sondages (opinion polls); and Les No-Go Zones (the no-go zones).
"Le Petit Journal," in an earlier segment (which has English subtitles), decimated Fox's claims that specific neighborhoods in Paris were dangerous for non-Muslims, as well as the network's claim about formal no-go zones. In lacerating derision, Le Petit Journal sent "reporters" out to neighborhoods branded by Fox as Muslim-only to reveal that they were vibrant multicultural communities filled with welcoming residents. Also debunked was the poll used by Fox, which The Washington Post revealed was highly inaccurate.
Faced with the facts presented by "Le Petit Journal," Fox not only apologized, but did it three times: for the mischaracterizing of embracing Paris communities; its use of a faulty poll; and its baseless claim of government-recognized "no-go zones" for non-Muslims.
Jon Stewart got into the act by expressing shock that Fox would apologize not just once but three times. "The Daily Show" pointed out that Fox's assertion that Birmingham, England, is "totally Muslim where non-Muslims just don't go in" was a complete fabrication. Stewart stated the fact that 78 percent of Birmingham is indeed non-Muslim. The conservative prime minister of England, David Cameron, told a reporter (as seen in the Stewart clip) that he "frankly choked on his porridge" when he heard about Fox's false assertion that there are hundreds of no-go zones in Europe, many of which Fox falsely asserted use Sharia law.
Salon took note that the mayor of Paris threatened to sue Fox for defamation of the city and specific neighborhoods.
The Local France news site lampooned Fox by running an article that mockingly listed "The ten 'real' no-go zones in Paris." These included "the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe" (because of traffic jams), and "the Eiffel Tower on a Saturday afternoon in summer" (because of tourist jams). One can argue that, unlike Fox, the claims of The Local France are accurate, despite their humorous context.
"Le Petit Journal," like its US political satire counterparts, has discovered that Fox is the gift of bilious propaganda that keeps on giving. That is why "Le Petit Journal" also sent two show staffers, impersonating Fox reporters, out on the streets of Paris to "report" in a tone of buffoonish hysteria about alleged Muslim terrorist threats. These include a restaurant serving couscous, a taxi driver with a beard, and two workers using a jackhammer to repair a street. Throughout the report, a craven French faux Fox reporter shrieks, "Paris is the most dangeous city in the world!"
The factual debunking from across the Atlantic forced Fox to retreat. Remember, however, that the original outlandish and dishonest Islamophobic assertions are likely to stay embedded in the heads and emotional prejudices of the network's viewers.
(You can see more of the "Le Petit Journal" satirical offensive against the intentional Fox News mischaracterization of Muslims and Paris communities on its Facebook page.)
Thanks to Crooks and Liars for hosting the videos, which can also be found on YouTube.
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