The New York Times just can't stop using precious print space to attack rival news organization Fox News, based on an exaggerated claim on Muslim "no-go-zones" in England made by a terrorism analyst who appeared on the channel after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
One week ago, the Times' anti-Fox mockery, powered by liberal social-media, made Page 8. This Tuesday, fueled by an obsessive anti-Fox crusade by a left-wing French comedy show, it made Page 4, in a report from Paris by Doreen Carvajal, "Fox News Becomes the Unwilling Star of a French TV Satire."
Mockery is a national weapon in France, so when an American cable news channel raised false alarms about rampant lawlessness in some Paris neighborhoods -- proclaiming them “no-go zones” for non-Muslims, avoided even by the police -- a popular French television show rebutted the claims the way it best knew how: with satire, spoofs and a campaign of exaggeration and sarcasm.
The show, “Le Petit Journal,” is a French version of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” -- irreverent and reliant on mock correspondents who showcase the foibles of the high and mighty.
Usually “Le Petit Journal” reserves its venom for French politicians and the local news media. But in the days after the terrorist attacks in Paris that left 17 dead, including 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, it set its sights on a trans-Atlantic target, America’s Fox News, after the channel claimed that swaths of England and France were ruled according to Shariah.
Before the apologies, Mr. [Yann] Barthès and his “correspondents” hounded Fox News, which is not widely available on French television. Mr. Barthès’s show, which has about 3 million viewers and follows in the satirical tradition of Charlie Hebdo, but in a much gentler style, showed generous portions of the Fox clips where the no-go zones were discussed, providing French translations.
Their comics confronted Fox News correspondents when they spotted them reporting live in Paris. In one video, two of the show’s correspondents pretended to be American journalists venturing into supposedly forbidden areas and, in slapstick fashion, cowering by a Turkish kebab shop and a couscous restaurant and falling to the ground at the sound of a jackhammer.
Representatives of “Le Petit Journal” also showed up at the New York offices of Fox News on Thursday to seek comment, Mr. Barthès said, until security turned them away.
Mr. Barthès said that his show was unable to obtain any response from Fox News, so he turned to his viewers for help, giving the email addresses of Fox executives. When the show posted the information on Twitter, he said, they had 7,000 retweets in five minutes.
The commotion began this month when Steve Emerson, identified as a terrorism expert, told the host Sean Hannity, “there are no-go zones” throughout Europe ruled by Muslims. He then elaborated in an interview with another Fox host, Jeanine Pirro, claiming that the entire city of Birmingham, England, was a place where “non-Muslims simply don’t go in.”
Amidst the mockery, the Gatestone Institute (chaired by John Bolton) compiled many French reports on "no-go-zones" where police cannot go without risking confrontation.
Carvajal continued by changing the subject from the Charlie Hebdo massacre to an alleged outbreak of anti-Muslim attacks (though apparently no fatalities):
Muslim leaders say that Muslims are often the victims of attacks, especially since the Paris killings, which were carried out by Islamic militants. The head of a French organization known as the National Observatory Against Islamophobia called for protection by the state, saying there had been “116 anti-Muslim acts, including 28 incidents at mosques and 88 threats,” in the two days after the Jan. 7 shooting.
The Times allowed Barthes to conclude with extraneous anti-Fox ridicule that doubtless raised laughs in the Times newsroom.
"....It’s important for the French audience to know about this. They don’t really know Fox News, and they think it’s an enormous channel, very American, with announcers with big voices and blonde women who look like Barbies."
Robert Mackey, who contributes an "Open Source" column for nytimes.com, contributed his own "self"-absorbed condescension toward conservatives on Monday:
The claim that such areas existed attracted widespread attention, and a wave of online derision, last weekend when Steve Emerson, a self-described expert on Islamist terrorism, told the Fox News host Jeanine Pirro that parts of France and the entire English city of Birmingham “are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”...a photo caption called Emerson a "self-declared expert," while Mackey snottily labeled "the conservative commentator Daniel Pipes, a self-declared watchdog of militant Islam...."