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Vive la liberté?

Posted by Helen Monday, September 05, 2005

We are all more or less used to the distortions provided by the main stream media that has acquired the soubriquet MSM, which makes it sound as if it were some terrible disease that probably causes autism. Well, perhaps it is.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in France where large sections of the electronic media are owned by the state and the newspapers are controlled one way or another through political pressure.

We can recall the lack of proper discussion in the run-up to the war in Iraq when L’escroc Chirac was given unlimited and unchallenged airtime, President Bush merely quoted by a newsreader and French politicians who supported the war, such as the impeccably left-wing Bernard Kouchner, not allowed anywhere near a camera.

Is it any wonder, we ask, that the French populace or, at least, those of them who watch the official media, tends to be a little paranoid on matters to do with foreign affairs?

There are times when the French political establishment and the media it controls oversteps the marks of all decency. One such case is the famous “shooting” of the twelve year old Muhammad al-Dura at the beginning of the second intifada in 2000.

The image of the terrified boy crouching with his father and shortly afterwards lying at his father’s feet shot by a heartless sniper winged its way round the world, caused a great outcry, did a great deal of damage to Israel, took attention off the fact that it was the late unlamented Chairman Arafat who had broken off the Oslo negotiations and ordered the intifada and – worst of all – became a symbol for numerous other Palestinian children who blew themselves and Israeli (Jewish and Arab) children in the name of Muhammad al-Dura.

Now, some years on, it appears that not all is well with that story. Its creation and broadcasting was investigated in detail as was the role of France-2, the channel responsible for it, controlled as it is by the government.

The details of the original story, the doubts that arose immediately, the threats, denials and cover-ups are told in this month’s Commentary magazine by Nidra Poller, a journalist and writer, domiciled in Paris. I do not think anything needs to be added by this blog.

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