Paris, France To Sue Fox News For Being Fox News

from the you'll-get-used-to-them dept

I was told a long time ago that you can really get to know people in times of crises. Adversity doesn't make a person, it reveals that person. Insert another cliche about this stuff here. The point is that when things get dire, people revert to who they are at their most basic. In America, for instance, the home of the brave and the land of the free suddenly became the home of the surveilled and the land of security theater after 9/11. France's recent experience with the plague of Islamic extremism has revealed ups, but has also revealed them to be not nearly so in favor of free speech as they like to claim when it comes to speech they don't like. That trend appears to be continuing as Paris, France claims they are going to file a lawsuit against Fox News for making laughably ridiculous claims about so-called "Muslim-only" communities in the city.

Fox News ran multiple reports describing areas of Paris (and England) that were governed by Sharia law and off-limits to non-Muslims. The network has since apologized for making "regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe—particularly with regard to England and France."

"This applies especially to discussions of so-called 'no-go zones,' areas where non-Muslims allegedly aren't allowed in, and police supposedly won't go," anchor Julie Banderas said in one on-air apology. "To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either country, and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion."
Oh, Paris. So naive. A cable news organization fear-mongering their way through a horrifically inaccurate report where the facts are fiction isn't something to get upset about. As best as I can tell, that's the entire point of cable news. Truth doesn't fill a twenty-four hour news cycle, after all. Beyond that, what are they going to sue for? Inaccurate reporting that has since been corrected on-air? If that was grounds for a lawsuit, the lawsuits against cable news networks would be ongoing through eternity.

Even listening to the city's officials doesn't make this seem any less petty.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is planning to sue Fox News for its inaccurate reports on Muslim "no go zones," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

"When we're insulted, and when we've had an image, then I think we'll have to sue, I think we'll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed," Hidalgo told Amanpour in an interview. "The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced."
Think about this for just a moment. Filing a lawsuit against someone for the crime of insulting your honor doesn't sound like it could come from a proponent of free speech, does it? The very thing that was attacked in France is now being attacked by France, though obviously with litigious weapons instead of firearms. This isn't to suggest any moral equivalence between the two, of course, only that free speech is one of those areas where you're either for or against. Being for something with qualifications means you're not for it at all. And, fortunately for Fox News, the freedom of speech includes the freedom to be idiotically wrong.

Filed Under: anne hidalgo, cable news, fox news, france, free speech, lawsuit, paris
Companies: fox

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  1. icon
    JP Jones (profile), 20 Jan 2015 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Unfortunately you'd have to find conclusive evidence that it was actually intentional. Cable news networks, for all their faults, have backed themselves into a corner that pretty much ensures common mistakes.

    Right now news channels compete to see who can get a story "first." It's all about rapid reporting, and also sensational reporting. This encourages news networks to show stories that will grab attention and do it as soon as possible.

    Guess what? As speed increases, accuracy tends to decrease. And when you have a bias towards the sensational rather than the mundane (and most events in the world are mundane) this tends to skew the accuracy even more. It shouldn't surprise anyone that cable news networks have horrible accuracy and are usually biased. Heck there's numerous comedy shows dedicated to pointing out where they fail.

    I think it would be extremely difficult to prove they were intentionally lying, especially since they probably weren't. Through their "conservative" (in the political version of the word) lens, and at a rapid pace, it's likely they were fully convinced that their BS was true at the time. Once they were debunked (because the research came after the story, as usual) they issued a retraction.

    Sure, the retraction is largely useless. Heck, I'm still listening to my family explain how Obama went to Hawaii and forced a couple to cancel their wedding so he could play golf. It's wrong (or at least incredibly skewed) but such is shoot-from-the-hip reporting. But I doubt you'll see much traction on this in court.

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