What actually happens in this world is bad enough for most of us. For Fox News and its viewers, however, there seems to be a need to take it up a notch, add a little something and in some cases, completely fabricate events and situations to tweak and frighten the most gullible. If it a tragedy can be used for political advantage and to slam a group or individual, so much the better. The recent shooting in France is no exception.
Right out of the gate the right-wing press claimed that the first police officers to arrive on the scene were unarmed and on bicycles. They used that claim to illustrate how unsafe and unprotected liberal countries are. The whole bad-guy-with-a-gun and good-guy-with-a-gun argument. You would think that the Paris police are rolling around on bicycles with a baguette and a bottle of wine. They took full advantage of the cheese-eating-surrender-monkey view Americans have of the French. Of course they ran away. The French run away from everything.
An investigative reporter for Fox's DC affiliate, Emily Miller, said this on air to millions of Fox viewers who trust her: "So, gun-free zones like France, which unfortunately even the poor police aren't carrying guns, is just very attractive to somebody who is going to go in with a gun."
A news reporter claiming that the French police don't carry guns is absurd. Anyone having been to France will tell you that the French police are very well-armed -- in some cases better armed than American police.
As for the incident last week, the French news paints a very different, albeit more accurate, picture. According to Le Figaro, the oldest national newspaper in France, the officers were, in fact, on bicycle. One of the officers, an eight-year veteran, opened fire on the killers and was wounded when they returned fire. He was then approached by one of the masked men and shot in the head as he lay wounded on the sidewalk. Incidentally, Officer Ahmed Merabet, 41, was a Muslim.
Apparently, the reality of how the story played out didn't fit the narrative the right-wing prefers, so they made up their own. Or maybe they can't find a translator.
Later that same week, Fox trotted out its counter-terrorist expert, Steve Emerson, who in an on-air interview with anchor Jeanine Pirro, told a national television audience that the population of Birmingham, England, is now "totally Muslim," and has become a city where "non-Muslims just simply don't go."
It gets better. He then added: "Parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn't dress according to religious Muslim attire."
The Fox News host not only didn't push back on the ludicrous claim, she actually agreed and endorsed Emerson's claims. Pirro has made outlandish on-air statements like, "We need to kill them. We need to kill them. The radical Muslim terrorists hell bent on killing us," and, "Our job is to arm those Muslims to the teeth, give them everything they need to take out these Islamic fanatics, let them do the job, and when they do, we need to simply look the other way."
Bob Cesca, over at The Daily Banter,has more and had this to say about Pirro:
Anyway, there's one specific host on Fox News Channel who absolutely falls into the fraud category. She also falls into the unhinged-crackpots-cynically-pretending-to-lean-on-the-panic-button category. Real-life judge and Botox victim Jeanine Pirro hosts a Sunday night show on the network during which she delivers what are arguably the most ridiculously unglued monologues in all of cable news, perhaps second only to Nancy Grace. No one at Fox News even comes close to Pirro's master-classes in obnoxious fire-eating, hack writing and poop-flinging, at least not since Glenn Beck bailed out several years ago.
In response to Emerson's completely ludicrous and fabricated claim, British Prime Minister David Cameron, interviewed on ITV News, didn't hold back: "When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool's Day. This guy is clearly a complete idiot."
Other British politicians, journalists, novelists and more took part in the mockery on Twitter with the apt hash tag "#FoxNewsFacts." Here are a couple of them:
Labour MP Tom Watson retweeted a message which said: "Birmingham is home of Black Sabbath and other terrifying Muslim musicians. #FoxNewsFacts."
Author Mirza Waheed tweeted: "Wali Sheikh Peer was a Muslim dramatist from Englistaan."
Being chastised internationally, which the humiliated Emerson compared to waterboarding, hasn't seemed to dissuade Fox from soldiering on with more outlandish claims. Earlier this week Elisabeth Hasselbeck opened her segment claiming that Paris has no-go zones in which people wear Bin Laden T-shirts and "make their own rules." The new expert, Nolan Peterson, apparently wanting to up the crazy from the week before, said this:
There are 741 no-go zones throughout France, and they're located in these ghettos that have formed around the major cities. There are basically neighborhoods where French Muslims have coalesced because they can't find housing or economic opportunity within the major French cities...
...It was pretty scary. I've been to Afghanistan and Iraq and Kashmir, India, and at times, it felt like that, those places in these no-go zones. You see young men wearing Osama bin Laden T-shirts in a hookah shop. I saw a speech by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was leading an insurgency against American troops in Iraq at the time.
See? France is littered with 741 Muslim-infested pits where people worship Osama Bin Laden and hate freedom.
Later in the interview, when Hasselbeck asked what should be done about these areas that the French are allowing to happen in their own country, Peterson suggested this:
Oh, they should definitely not allow those to exist. We didn't allow Afghanistan to exist as a no-go zone of Islamist recruitment after 9/11, and that's essentially what the French are letting happen in their own country, are places where Islamists can freely recruit, without any danger of prosecution, young disaffected Muslims into their ranks
Of course, once again, Fox in their inability to look things up, got it wrong again. Snopes rates the claim as "false" and French blogger (who lives there), in a post titled, "On the cluelessness of Fox News and its treatment of the terrorist attacks in the French capital," Sened DHAB writes:
Apart from the usual delinquency found in any poor part of any urban center on the planet, the tableau portrayed by Fox News and "Warzone expert" Nolan Peterson, and the deceiving name the network has coined for the occasion ("No-Go Zones") seems like a complete fabrication of what's really going on there.
In the rest of his rather lengthy blog he describes several of the areas that Paterson describes as terrorist incubators as fairly normal and pleasant neighborhoods -- the post is very much worth the read.
Paris by Mouth added to the hilarity in the way you expect the French to react, by highlighting the restaurants and bistros in these terrorist infested zones, in a post titled, "Eating and Drinking in the No-Go Zones." The Actual URL of the piece is "parisbymouth.com/paris-to-fox-news-eat-me."
Meg Zimbeck writes:
The reliably cynical Fox News network has been broadcasting an interview with Nolan Peterson (photo at right), a supposed security expert and confirmed bozo who has declared Paris to be dotted with "No-Go Zones" where "in just a ten-minute cab ride from the Eiffel Tower, you can be walking through streets that feel just like Baghdad."
Baghdad, eh? How wonderful for Baghdad if their streets are also filled, as these districts are, with modern bistros, craft breweries, natural wine haunts, vegan cafés, and spots for Philly cheesesteak. Not to mention a place that ranks among the World's 50 Best Restaurants and a bakery that won the Best Baguette in Paris competition.
No tragedy would be complete without members of Congress lashing out at the president. House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was just one of many eagerly getting some camera time on Fox News.
Megyn Kelly, in a "Kelly Files exclusive," preferring to feed McConnell lines and go with the FOX News alternate reality asked:
Do you think that there's a conscious decision to not link this kind of terrorist action with that type of motivation despite the cries of 'Allahu Akbar' and reports that the terrorists were saying the prophet Mohammed has been avenged?
"What else can you conclude? You're entirely correct. They refuse to call these attacks what they are. [...] To call it something else strikes me as being politically correct to a fault spawned by some perverted notion of Islam."
Never mind that nearly 12 hours earlier, President Obama issued this statement, in which he refers to terrorists and terrorist attacks several times:
I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time. France is America's oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world. Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended. France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers. We are in touch with French officials and I have directed my Administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.
It's not exactly breaking news that Fox gets its facts wrong most of the time. In most cases a flip of the coin would be more accurate. There's a difference, however, between getting your facts wrong and simply making stuff up, and in this case the folks over at Fox are just doing the latter.
A recent and well-timed article written by Ann Jones has been making its way around the web and has been picked up by several sites; "Locals Everywhere Want to Know: What's Wrong With America," examines what the rest of the word thinks about the U.S. and what those of us who travel are subjected to.
It's hard to know why we are the way we are, and--believe me--even harder to explain it to others. Crazy may be too strong a word, too broad and vague to pin down the problem. Some people who question me say that the U.S. is "paranoid," "backward," "behind the times," "vain," "greedy," "self-absorbed," or simply "dumb." Others, more charitably, imply that Americans are merely "ill-informed," "misguided," "misled," or "asleep," and could still recover sanity. But wherever I travel, the questions follow, suggesting that the United States, if not exactly crazy, is decidedly a danger to itself and others. It's past time to wake up, America, and look around. There's another world out here, an old and friendly one across the ocean, and it's full of good ideas, tried and true.
Fox News continues to feed misinformation to the masses who choose to swallow it and the rest of the world looks on with disbelief as their announcers completely fabricate events and pull "facts" from thin air as if no one is going to call them on it.
We've recently had to endure the change in the definition of the word "literally" due to its overuse and misuse. It's only a matter of time before Fox forces us to redefine the word "fact," allowing for a more subjective interpretation.
Read more at NowItCounts.com