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CNN again hammers Fox News over ‘no-go zones,’ with a touch of hypocrisy

(Associated Press/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton)

On its morning show “New Day,” CNN today again bashed Fox News over the “no-go zone” disaster without fully acknowledging its own history with the discredited term. Pegged to the news that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has threatened Fox News with a lawsuit over its repeated reports on these zones — which are allegedly dominated by Muslims and where police fear to tread — CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter hashed out the issue with hosts Alisyn Camerota, Michaela Pereira and Chris Cuomo.

“Isn’t like the breaking news here in America the fact that Fox apologized?” asked Pereira. “In the history of my career, I don’t know that I’ve seen Fox News do this.” Then it’s clear Pereira doesn’t watch much Fox News, which does issue apologies.

As for the apologies and corrections that aired on Fox News over the weekend — before the lawsuit threat from Paris — Stelter noted that they represented the network’s “walking away” from the story.

The zones themselves, Stelter said, are worthy of journalism: “This idea of ‘no-go zones,’ this idea has been largely discredited but it has been popular in right-wing media. Sometimes you hear it brought up on CNN as well and elsewhere as well. It’s a topic that deserves more reporting. I think one of the issues for Fox was, they were talking a lot about it with talking heads; they weren’t actually reporting on it. They weren’t going to these neighborhoods in Paris.”

Bold text added to highlight the fact that CNN’s coverage in the days following the Charlie Hebdo killings suffers from this same exact infirmity. As the Erik Wemple Blog pointed out last night, CNN relied on analysts who said pretty much exactly what some of the commentators on Fox News were saying. For instance, a former CIA official said this two days after the attack: “The Europeans and the French in particular have problems that are the result of also 751 ‘no-go zones’ in France where you have Islamic communities that have formed councils that are managing these areas. And the police don’t go in. If you look at Sweden there are 55 ‘no-go zones’ there. You know, firefighters or ambulance drivers go in there and they’re attacked. Their vehicles are lit on fire, their tires are slashed, and the Europeans have not pushed back against this.”

Credit Stelter for mentioning that CNN had alluded to the “no-go zones,” but a heavier disclosure of CNN’s references was in order.

Cuomo traveled to France after the massacre and shared these reflections on the issue: “This is the issue of what is an expert,” he said, referring to Fox News’s overzealous talking heads. “And also, what happened in France? They did have riots there that were a function of the Muslim ghettos, the underserved communities feeling that there was no connection there, the police shouldn’t have been there. They’re not no-go zones, but they did have that problem.”

Compare that with what Cuomo told Wolf Blitzer on Jan. 9: “I mean, we have been getting read in about what cultural tensions do exist here. There’s a large part of the population that is assimilated. What’s happened in north Paris is not a secret. We know there were riots there several years ago. There are what they call a ‘no-go zone.’ There are problems with policing, problems with disenfranchisement.”