Why has the attack of Parisian Mayor Bertrand Delanoe been ignored ?
October 24, 2002 9:30 PM   Subscribe

Why has the attack of Parisian Mayor Bertrand Delanoe been ignored ? You'd need a neutron microscope to find news stories or analysis regarding the attack of Parisian mayor Bertrand Delanoe by a Muslim who stated that he 'didn't like politicians and didn't like homosexuals'. What would have happened had the attacker been a white Christian or a skinhead ? A sad example of political correctness stifling any debate, a la Pim Fortuyn.
posted by Kaslo (41 comments total)
Gimme a T
Gimme an R
Gimme an O
Gimme an L
Gimme an L
What's that spell?
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:33 PM on October 24, 2002

1) Adam, that's a very mature comment, thank you for bringing up the level of discourse.

2) Kaslo's not wrong - there's been a spate of stories quashed in the media lately - how many are still reporting that it's Muslim "freedom fighters" in the Russian standoff. How many are _still_ reporting that they freed the Muslim audience members? Before you label this comment a troll, please do some research and bring me numbers. At last check, CNN was the only one still mentioning the freed Muslims.

3) The mayor of a world capital is stabbed by anyone _at all_ and it's news. The fact that it hasn't been major news is, by its absence, newsworthy and worth analyzing.
posted by swerdloff at 9:42 PM on October 24, 2002

Oh, come on. The story itself may be worth discussing, but the framing of it was prejudicial to say the least: obviously not designed to elicit an honest exchange of views, but to advance an agenda.

I shall continue to call 'em as I see 'em.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:49 PM on October 24, 2002

~ or ~? You be the judge.
posted by y2karl at 9:50 PM on October 24, 2002

Oh, come on.
Unlike every other post. Come on, indeed.
posted by HTuttle at 9:51 PM on October 24, 2002

Can this thread be saved?

The article is interesting on its own merits. The article is not about an attack on the mayor of Paris, but about a new French anti-crime bill. Democratic societies, and perhaps all societies, swing back and forth between an emphasis on freedom and an emphasis on security.
A study by a Sorbonne University researcher this year indicated that violent crime had quadrupled in the last eight years.
It sounds that, like New York in the 90's, France has decided that she's had enough freedom for the moment, thank you, and opts for more security. The "Sarkozy law" outlaws 'aggressive begging', and seems to follow the broken windows policing model.
A woman whose dress or attitude gives the impression that she is soliciting money for sex can face a fine of $3,800 or six months in jail.
Well, so much for Britney's next tour. Seriously, whatever you think of Ashcroft, it seems unlikely this kind of law could happen in the US. I ? the First Amendment!

BTW, I can't tell from the article whether these measures are actually in effect. In the US, a bill is a proposed law that becomes law only after being passed by a legislative body and signed by the executive. But the article refers to the "Sarkozy law" sometimes as a bill, and sometimes as a law. Which is it? Anyone know?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:58 PM on October 24, 2002

From your link:

Just this month, Mayor Bertrand Delanoë was stabbed by an attacker during a festival at City Hall. That was followed by two drive-by shootings outside cafes in Dunkirk close to the Belgian border in which a truck driver killed a 17-year-old youth and wounded three others, apparently because he hated North African Arabs. Then, in a poor suburb of Paris, a 17-year-old North African girl was burned to death in the garbage depot at her housing complex by a youth who was believed to have been her jilted boyfriend.

Didn't hear about any of these, actually. Can't extrapolate a situation of biases in the media from your link. And wasn't Fortuyn shot by a vegan animal-rights activist? What's the analogy?

Anyway, you'd need a neutron microscope: or a French newspaper.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:59 PM on October 24, 2002

Sigh. That ♥ looked fine on preview.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:00 PM on October 24, 2002

Paris mayor stabbed at city hall (BBC)

Paris mayor recovering from attack (CNN)

Paris mayor attack suspect quizzed (CNN)

Paris Mayor leaves hospital (Austin American-Statesman/AP)

Paris Mayor leaves intensive care (Guardian/AP)

And about a hundred more...

You don't need a neutron miscroscope. Just try reading the news.
posted by Ljubljana at 10:05 PM on October 24, 2002

Over the last several years, crime in France has shifted from property thefts to violent crimes against innocent victims, including attacks on firemen and rescue workers and gang rapes of teenage girls.

Sounds like a fun place...

The bill ... will expand police powers to search vehicles, frisk individuals and take DNA samples of many more suspects.

The utterance of a threatening expletive to a policeman or a government official could bring a $30,000 fine and a two-year jail sentence; a death threat could cost $75,000.

A woman whose dress or attitude gives the impression that she is soliciting money for sex can face a fine of $3,800 or six months in jail.

Suddenly the United States doesn't sounds so bad, hey Frenchie?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:25 PM on October 24, 2002

Ljubljana, I was not emphasizing that Delanoe was attacked - I was emphasizing that there has been no discussion about how his attacker was Muslim. If his attacker had been a white fundamentalist, the discussion would have been much more gnashed and navel-gazing oriented. Please read the portion of the article that RJ Reynold linked to. The NY Times reporter didn't even bother to state that Delanoe's attacker was a Muslim who stated that he hated homosexuals - yet in the same paragraph the reporter mentions an attack against an Arab. I am merely pointing out the double standards that exist in the media.
posted by Kaslo at 10:26 PM on October 24, 2002

It's politically correct not to mention muslim connections? I must have missed the memo. From the first moment the name of the U.S. sniper came out, I've seen every news outfit go out of their way to make islamic connections. News organizations love to play up that angle, it ties it into the ratings bonanza, the war on terror.
posted by mathowie at 10:26 PM on October 24, 2002

Could this be a reason for the rising crime rates across Europe?
posted by Beholder at 10:58 PM on October 24, 2002

Kaslo, it's professionally derelict for reporters to harp on someone's religion if it didn't bear directly on the crime. Most agencies mentioned (in passing) the fact that he was of Algerian descent, and a practicing Muslim, (when the story broke a month ago) but the key point is that he's mentally ill and a violent homophobe.

So I don't know exactly what you're looking for in the Times. Perhaps something like: "Azedine Berkane, a Muslim who prays to Mecca, stabbed the mayor of Paris in a most Muslim-like way recently."?
posted by Ljubljana at 10:58 PM on October 24, 2002

Kaslo: I was emphasizing that there has been no discussion about how his attacker was Muslim... I am merely pointing out the double standards that exist in the media.

Hey Kaslo. Next time, try doing thirty seconds of research before you post the ten thousandth recipe for tripe du jour, aka attacking "political correctness". Following Ljubljana's lead: "...he was a devout Muslim..." -- ABC, Reuters, Independent, CBS, Guardian, Globe, BBC, etc, etc...
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:59 PM on October 24, 2002

* Newsflash *

The sniper is a muslim.
posted by ZupanGOD at 11:00 PM on October 24, 2002

ZupanGOD: Really? I hadn't heard that...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:03 PM on October 24, 2002

Paris sounds like a freakshow from that article.
posted by stbalbach at 11:07 PM on October 24, 2002

I forgot to answer the original question: Why has the attack of Parisian Mayor Bertrand Delanoe been ignored ?

Because no one cares about the French. Am I right, or am I right?

I'll be here all week, try the veal
posted by mathowie at 11:12 PM on October 24, 2002

OK, this story seems to have been underreported. What irks me, though, is that you need that same microscope to find stories about the terrorist standoff in Moscow. It may be reported somewhere on every major online news source front page, but it definitely gets over two orders of magnitude less coverage than the sniper story on every TV news channel, and the population at large (my estimate - over 90% here) is unaware of what's going on.

This is BIG. This is definitely the number one national security event in the world right now, and from an objective point of view, the number one news event. This is probably the single worst terrorist attack in Russian history (depending on the outcome, it's comparable to Kizlyar and not much else) and it is in progress. It is bringing a nation of over 100 million people to its knees, and it is achieving its objectives of terror with devastating efficiency.

I understand the possible motives for US news agencies not reporting this to this extent, and I doubt I will ever use any of those agencies as my primary news source in the future.
posted by azazello at 11:18 PM on October 24, 2002

If his attacker had been a white fundamentalist, the discussion would have been much more gnashed and navel-gazing oriented.

Yeah, here's hoping for more gnashed (?), navel-gazing-oriented (?) reporting about Muslims. Whatever that means, I'm sure we haven't had enough of it.
posted by boredomjockey at 11:20 PM on October 24, 2002

mmmm veal.....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:22 PM on October 24, 2002

It may be reported somewhere on every major online news source front page, but it definitely gets over two orders of magnitude less coverage than the sniper story on every TV news channel

Even though they should care, Americans don't care about something happening in Russia (it is the biggest world event right now). They care about getting shot while going to Walmart, and news agencies know this. News organizations know that when a sniper is on the loose, watching the news is like crack, and people will flock to their shows. They're keeping the sniper case front and center for as long as possible because it's the chandry levy/monica lewinsky/oj simpson story of the month, that can be milked heavily for ratings. Plain and simple.
posted by mathowie at 11:34 PM on October 24, 2002

In defense of the American media, we have some pretty big news going on at home. And updates on the Russian situation are always on my Yahoo Top Stories link.
posted by hammurderer at 11:41 PM on October 24, 2002


In any event, I'm longtime past sick of the phrase "political correctness" (and its variants) used to smear viewpoints the speaker disagrees with.

There are so many other reasons why this might not have gotten much play in the US media - starting with the one mathowie jokingly alludes to, but which is real despite the humor in it - that I think we need not enlist massive media conspiracies as explanatory devices.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:45 PM on October 24, 2002

OK, this story seems to have been underreported.

How do you figure that? What's been left out? A lunatic stabs the mayor of Paris. The mayor gets a flesh wound, but he ain't got time to bleed. That's the story, and every major media outlet carried it. Many of them even had follow-ups about the mayor in the hospital, the mayor leaving the hospital, etc...

Maybe they didn't mention it on NakedNews, or a few local TV stations, but it got plenty of attention elsewhere.

As for the Russian standoff: as soon as the denouement arrives, I absolutely, positively guarantee* you that every TV station, radio and newspaper will be reporting about it so much that it'll make you wanna puke.

* not a guarantee
posted by Ljubljana at 11:49 PM on October 24, 2002

Horrors! The stabber was a computer technician as well. Why is THAT being covered up? Was he left-handed or right-handed? And, on which side did he dress?

Neutron telescope? No, just news.google.com and the phrase 'paris mayor muslim'.
posted by mischief at 12:07 AM on October 25, 2002

I'm fed up about the recuring myth that somehow there is a media conspiracy out there preventing any serious reporting when Muslims are involved in crimes and attacks.

To those who think so, some humble suggestions:
1) paranoia can be cured, go to the shrink.
2) if you don't like what the media does, do the Murdoch thing and become a media mogul. You'll have some redactional leverage then.
3) become a reporter, you'll have a lot of redactional control on your work.
4) really want to control the media? Go dictatorial, you'll have absolute redactional control.
5) start your weblog, it'll be your little redactional monopoly.
6) stop whining, you're bugging me and a lot of people.
posted by ugly_n_sticky at 1:53 AM on October 25, 2002

One of the glories of living in a capitalist world is that it is very rare for anything other than financial concerns to color the news. Stories get reported more because more people watch them, there is no Zionist, anti-semitic, pro-Muslim, anti-White, Pro-America, Anti-America, etc, etc, etc, etc, conspiracy. Just the all mighty dollar along with pressure groups that call and write news organizations to get their point across.
posted by chaz at 2:07 AM on October 25, 2002

Herein lies the reason this thread is, rightfully, not being taken seriously.

Kaslo: “If his attacker had been a white fundamentalist, the discussion would have been much more gnashed and navel-gazing oriented.”

What you are talking about is offering a “paired example” that can be used to illustrate the ideology of a reporter, the political motivations of a single media source, the differences between media in different countries, etc.

Since you didn’t offer a paired example, the only tension is between an NYT article reporting on crime increase in Paris and an assertion you made some ten posts into the thread. Are people to simply believe any assertion made without supporting evidence? Or would you prefer beliefs to be made on empirical evidence and supporting theories? In this case, the latter has occurred. Upon evaluation of this rather shoddy collection of evidence people passed judgment on your theory.

What would have been much more useful is a link an actual article about the stabbing itself and a link about a white Christian attacking a politican in an event of similiar or lesser consquence. If the coverage in the less consquential event got blown out of all proportion and was “gnashed and navel-gazing oriented” then you would have a point.

As it stands, this particular case of “political correctness” protecting muslims seems to have failed, because there doesn’t seem to be any—either political correctness or protection of a muslim. The man was outed as not only muslim, but homo- and politico-phobic.

Don’t get me wrong, I also believe media is often motivated by ideology and politics. There is so much historical evidence corrobating this fact and many politicans, journalists and publishers admitting to it. This example, however, does not illustrate that belief. I would also point out that as the more often the accusation of media bias is leveled the less likely it will be taken seriously.
posted by raaka at 2:12 AM on October 25, 2002

Neo-Nazi gunman tries to assassinate Chirac. This got about the same coverage in the US, as the attempt against the mayor of Paris, didn't it?
posted by talos at 2:24 AM on October 25, 2002

It is always very amusing reading any report from an american reporter and their wide eyed rugurgitation of the facts. The point that really annoyed was the ill-informed remark about immigrants, europe has been dealing with immigration and indeed integration long before the native indian had to deal with the rape of north america.
posted by johnnyboy at 3:07 AM on October 25, 2002

Paris sounds like a freakshow from that article.
posted by stbalbach at 11:07 PM PST on October 24

You can focus on crime/hot issue stories in any place and make them sound like a freakshow. I mean, Washington & environs hasn't exactly come over as a particulary sane place to in the past few weeks.

As for the post, well hey now...the US media tend to focus more on stories involving the US & its citizens. Not unique in that respect I shouldn't think...
posted by i_cola at 4:10 AM on October 25, 2002

[satisfaction over france now being more crime-ridden than american; or at least nyc].
posted by ParisParamus at 4:22 AM on October 25, 2002

Sorry, Paris really is a freakshow. I moved to New York City about ten years ago and have lived in three boroughs and a variety of inexpensive neighborhoods, some with drug dealers on every corner. I mean that literally, not figuratively, on every corner. I used to walk through Central Park after dark. I've wandered the burnt-out neighborhoods of the South Bronx. I've ridden the subway at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. And I've seen a good deal of the poor neighborhoods of parts of South America, places with no electricity, no running water, and nothing to do.

But I never felt as unsafe as I did when I spent 12 months in Paris. I carried my wallet in my front pocket the whole time I was there. There's an unsettling seamyness about the underclass, a hang-dog fuck-you-ishness that made me feel like I could be mugged or beaten at any time. Part of the mood is made up by the constant petty crime: pickpockets, purse-snatchings, muggings, phone-grabbings (a favorite trick: they run through the suburban trains grabbing phones while people are using them, held up to their ears, because they make perfect targets; unsettling for the correspondent on the other end to have the conversation just stop). And there is also the petty white collar crime grifts and scams, and even just plain being short-changed. So you hear about the rip-em-off encounters from friends, French and foreign alike, all the time.

I should note that part of this feeling of unsafeness I had was due to living so close to Les Halles, where the suburban kids, mostly immigrants or children of immigrants, hang out. They are such a disenfranchised bunch, constantly harrassed by the police, and with little money to spend, that they tend to abandon all custom, manners and care, and do what they like. They seem to feel as if they have little to lose.

I should also note: I never had a problem. No crimes committed against me on the street.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:01 AM on October 25, 2002

the single worst terrorist attack in Russian history

So far only one person has been killed; the latest news is that they released seven hostages. I agree that this story is being grievously underreported (though it's at or near the top of Google News, bless its heart), and my stomach is knotted up thinking about likely denouements, but let's not jump the gun. One dead /= worst terrorist attack. (And not to be tiresome, but the Russians are doing far worse in Chechnya every day -- another grievously underreported story.)
posted by languagehat at 5:33 AM on October 25, 2002

Talos: i had never even heard the "neo-nazi gunman tries to assassinate chirac" story. Perhaps it was reported, but definitely not widely. For what it's worth, some anecdotal evidence to refute kaslo's implication that a story like that would be all over the news.
posted by jnthnjng at 7:24 AM on October 25, 2002

I think this is a very educational thread. I never had any idea that there was such a thing as a neutron microscope. We might want to look into whether there's a coverup there, too.
posted by websavvy at 7:35 AM on October 25, 2002

the single worst terrorist attack in Russian history

I don't know, I think the purges were most likely worse....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:36 AM on October 25, 2002

Mo Nickles thats a damning sentiment that Paris is worse than the South Bronx but I understand what you mean. In the Bronx you worry if your in the wrong place at the wrong time or wearing the wrong colors or look at someone wrong. Skills you can learn to avoid. In Paris your an open target all the time.

Washington DC is freak show also but for other reasons!
posted by stbalbach at 11:00 PM on October 25, 2002

The results of a very informal Google query: about 353 articles on news sites about Delanoe being stabbed. About 97 mention that the assailant was a Muslim. About 76 mention that the assailant had undergone psychiatric treatment in the past. About 59 mention both the Muslim and the psychiatric treatment angle.
posted by rjs at 2:05 AM on October 26, 2002

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