“It’s done,” says Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo of a legal action against Fox News over the network’s discussions of Parisian “no-go zones” following the Charlie Hebdo massacre of Jan. 7. In an interview with Hala Gorani, host of CNNI’s “The World Right Now,” Hidalgo added, “We are in a world that can dangerously tip over very easily, as we’ve seen, and we should not accept this type of talk.”
In various January broadcasts on Europe’s difficulties with Islamic extremism, Fox News hosts and guests cast these zones — in both Paris and other European locales — as places where sharia law allegedly held sway and civil authorities feared to tread. The most notable instance occurred on the Saturday evening show “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” in which guest terrorism analyst Steve Emerson declared Birmingham, England, a no-go zone. He was ridiculed, and Fox News broadcast several corrections and apologies. CNN, too, repeated no-go zone claims, though not to the same degree as Fox News.
Following the outcry over Emerson’s remarks, Hidalgo told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, “When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed. The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”
Asked by Gorani what she thought about the claim that her suit was an “idiotic” ploy, Hidalgo responded, “No, it’s not. It’s not something I’m saying just as a politician. I am profoundly convinced. I do not accept that anyone speaks this way of my city and on top of that, it has economic consequences because some in the United States suddenly became afraid of Paris. And some journalists told me it’s dangerous — we won’t go to Paris anymore. What is that? All because of a lie, this is not acceptable.”
Hidalgo said she’s still angry with Fox News. Which puts her in company with a lot of people, including the Erik Wemple Blog, who marvels at the abusive puerility of “Fox & Friends.”
Yet there’s quite some distinction between harboring anger toward a news outlet and suing it for harms that defy quantification, or even characterization. Hidalgo seems to suggest that Paris will suffer a drop in tourism because of Fox News, stating that “some in the United States suddenly became afraid of Paris.” Right — people are afraid of Paris because of some loose talk on Fox News, not because terrorists overran a Paris office in broad daylight and killed 12 people.
Perhaps Hidalgo can document this link between Fox News’s no-go zone allegations and a drop in visitors to lovely Paris. We’d love to see the logic laid out in a court complaint. Though Hidalgo says the suit is “done,” Fox News indicated to this blog as of midday Friday that it still hadn’t received the document. Where are the goods, Hidalgo?