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Nolan Peterson

Paris sues Fox News over its delirium about the “no go zones” in Europe

By Marie Decreme

Fox News, the largest news channel in the US, asked their “experts” on France and the UK for help, to talk about the terrorist attacks in France, The result was a wave of stories about the existence of “NO GO ZONES" in France and in the UK, where the police and non-Muslims fear to tread; simply brilliant. Anne Hidalgo, the Paris Mayor, decided to sue the American channel over conveying an “insulting” false image of Paris. Let’s explain – in their words – what these “NO GO ZONES” they talked so much about on Fox News are.

“Is France fuelling the rise of radicalism by allowing “NO-GO ZONES” in Muslim neighbourhoods?” This is the question Fox News asked their experts on 10 January; this was the beginning of a whole week of nonsense. The American channel assured its audience that there are more than 750 “NO GO ZONES” in France, that is, areas where “the government has lost control […] Islamic law actually supersedes the French legal system”. This is obvioulsy a surprise to most French people.

“He has been to those ‘NO GO ZONES’, meet Nolan Peterson”

On air, Nolan Peterson, a “specialist” in conflict zones, develops this idea of “NO GO ZONES.” He explains: “I have been to Afghanistan, Iraq, and in times, it felt like that, those places in these banlieues.” Fox News compares Paris to… Baghdad. Everything’s fine! Nolan Peterson continues: “It was pretty scary. You see young men wearing Osama Ben Laden tee shirts in hookah shops.” And the channel shows an incredible map of Paris where they circled these areas in red. Get this: according to Fox News, The Belleville, Magenta and Père Lachaise areas are some of the places that are inaccessible to police and non-Muslims.

Fox News' map of Paris

But the “expert” does not stop there. He also comments on a poll – which has been completely discredited by The Washington Post – which said that 16% of French people had a favourable opinion of ISIS: “16% of the French population supports a group that has built their brand through beheading US journalists”, Nolan Peterson explains. And among those aged 18-24, the percentage rises to 27%. So in France, according to Fox News, one quarter of young people have a good opinion of the beheadings of journalists by Daech? Yes of course, what could be more normal?

“There’s not regular French law, there’s sharia law”.

The images shown by Fox News

Greg Palkot, Fox News's special envoy in Paris, excels as well when it comes to talking about the “NO GO ZONES”: he explains that in these “small areas”, mostly occupied by Muslims, crime and unemployment rates are high and drugs are a real problem. And that’s not the best part… Our friend Greg describes these zones whilst pictures of the 2005 Paris riots are being shown: he pretends that’s what every day life in the French capital looks like.

On 11 January, the channel had invited the French ambassador to the US onto its set. During the interview, the hosts carefully refrained from talking about the “no entry” zones”, but as soon as Gérard Araud had left, off they went again! “Why would France […] allow Muslims […] to take over parts of the country?” The Fox News journalists ask. “There’s not regular French law, there’s sharia law”, they add.

Birmingham, an “entirely Muslim” city

Steve Emerson, another journalist of the channel, also contributed his own bunch of false information. After claiming several times that “Europe is finished”, he said on 11 January that, in the UK, “some cities like Birmingham are entirely Muslim, where non-Muslim cannot get in.” You read correctly: Birmingham is, according to Steve Emerson, one of these “NO GO ZONES” in its entirety. Hmmm, right. Just so you know, Birmingham represents as many inhabitants as there are in San Francisco. And, when in France nobody seemed to be disrupted by the pure invention being delivered by Fox News every day to the two billion Americans who watch the channel, the British Prime Minister reacted: “When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools’ day. This guy’s clearly a complete idiot!” David Cameron said. That is putting it mildly…

Steve Emerson eventually recognised he was wrong: “Mistakes occur all the time. It was [based] on sloppy research that had not been back checked” he confided to the BBC. Great, the number 1 news channel in the US does not check its information.

Paris City Hall files a report against Fox News

In France, it was Le Petit Journal’s team – a French talk show – who pointed out the delirium on Fox News’ delirium. After mocking the information the channel was releasing, Yann Barthès, host of the talk show, made the American journalist apologise publically. Last week, he invited his viewers to send emails to Fox News employees. Result: two people were literally inundated with messages – 20,000 emails were sent in five minutes, according to Yann Barthès! “Over the course of this last week we have made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe”, the journalist Julie Banderas said on 18 January. Ah, those Americans… We knew they tend to exaggerate, but they overplayed big time here!

One of the emails sent to Fox News by 20.000 French people

And it was a hard pill for some to swallow, even after the channel apologised. The mayor of Paris decided to file a legal case against Fox news for the “insulting” and “prejudicial” false image of Paris conveyed by the American news channel; Anne Hidalgo is going to claim for damages. Fox News will hopefully learn its lesson! 


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