Friday, March 31, 2006

Don't do as we do!

This is hilarious: For years and years the European media have portrayed Israel as a war-torn country. According to a Media Tenor Study, as many as 80 percent of reports about Israel in the German media focused on terror attacks in 2002 and 2003, giving the impression Tel Aviv was a Grosny reloaded. (While of course Tel Aviv on a Friday afternoon looked like this most of the time.) The distortion of Israel's image has been well researched and documented by various authors.

Now the French are getting a taste of their own medicine - and they do not seem to like it at all. The International Herald Tribune reports:
French find the villain in the protests - the media

(Paris) Even Christine Lagarde, France's trade minister, has received phone calls from concerned friends in Chicago and Washington to check whether she was safe.

As scenes of vandalism and violence in central Paris flicker across television screens abroad and major newspapers speak of riots and anarchy in France, people here are grumbling that the media coverage of three weeks of mass protests against a labor law - especially in the English-language press - has unjustly distorted France's image.

A CNN anchor, Kyra Phillips, likened clashes between young vandals and riot police officers at the end of a march Tuesday in Paris to the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing that led to the deaths of hundreds of pro-democracy activists. Three days earlier, the British tabloid The Sun advised its readers "Don't go to Paris," saying that they would be safer in Baghdad than in the French capital right now.

A week before she embarks on a four- city trip to the United States with the ambition of countering the negative images, Lagarde complained Wednesday that media coverage had been "excessive."

"We're meeting with the French community and with investors and are trying to explain that despite the fact that they see people on the street all the time and nothing else, it's not every day and it's not the whole of France," she told reporters Wednesday.

Defense Minister Michèle Alliot- Marie put it more starkly: "We're not in Baghdad," she said in a statement to the International Herald Tribune.

"Some foreign columnists amplify and exaggerate the situation in France, just as they did during the unrest in the suburbs," she said, referring to three weeks of rioting last autumn in immigrant suburbs outside France's big cities.
You don't say...! (Hattip: Roland Milelli)


Blogger JasonSpalding said...

Riots are nothing new in France in 1789, when a Parisian crowd was demonstrating furiously in front of his palace, King Louis XVI asked, “Is it a riot?” and was answered, “No Sir, it is a revolution.’’

8:29 PM  

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