Earlier this week Fox News hosted Steven Emerson, an alleged terrorism expert, who claimed that the entire city of Birmingham, England was occupied by radical Muslims and was inaccessible to anyone else. His remarks were widely ridiculed, including by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, who called Emerson an “idiot.” Emerson later recanted and apologized for his “terrible error.” But Fox wasn’t done embarrassing itself with false tales of horror.
Over at Fox & Friends, Elisabeth Hasselbeck interviewed a former Air Force pilot who claimed to have personal knowledge of the deterioration of French society. Nolan Peterson said that there were “741 no-go zones throughout France.” Peterson described his adventures in the wilds of Paris saying that…
“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. […and that…] You see young men wearing Osama Bin Laden t-shirts in a hookah shop.”
Really? This veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq was scared of Paris? The segment was seen by Yann Barthès, the host of the French television program “Le Petit Journal.” His response was to mercilessly flog Fox and Peterson while exposing the glaring errors in their analysis. For instance, Fox made reference to a poll that said that 16% of the French people had a favorable view of ISIS. However, that poll was debunked by the Washington Post, a point that Barthès noted.
Fox also displayed a map of the so-called no-go zones in Paris which brought spontaneous laughter from the residents of Paris in the audience who knew better. In fact, the map was a document that indicated urban renewal areas where the government would direct resources for improvement. It had nothing to do with Muslims or terror. But Fox’s “mistake” inspired Barthès to courageously send his crew into the falsely slandered no-go zones for some person-on-the-street interviews. And just to be on the safe side, they were suited up in safety gear and helmets, which turned out not to be necessary.
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Fun Fact: Bill O’Reilly declared a boycott of France in 2007 because they refused to support George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. In fact, you can still buy a Boycott France Bumper Sticker from his website.
[Update 1/18/2015:] So, after Fox News characteristically resorted to fear mongering and spreading disinformation, their lies on this occasion were so egregious that they were forced to apologize – FOUR TIMES!
For the record, the apologists were Anna Kooiman, Eric Shawn, Julie Banderas, and Jeanine Pirro. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox to do this the next time they lie (which happens multiple times every day).