If The 'Chaussure' Fits

The French are upset at the way the world’s media characterize the rioting. Well, boo-hoo.

A barrage of critical world media reporting on the violence in its rundown suburbs is rubbing nerves raw in France, which is more used to hearing praise for its food, its countryside and its opposition to the Iraq war.

In tones ranging from outrage to rueful agreement, French media are now reporting daily on the harsh terms that foreign television stations and newspapers choose to describe the unrest among France’s angry youths of Arab and African origin.

France laughed off “freedom fries” — as French fries were renamed in Washington — and other anti-French sentiment in the United States at the start of the Iraq war in 2003, but its reaction to the riot reporting carries a between-the-lines admission of hurt pride.

“From Italy to South Africa, Poland to China, from CNN to al-Jazeera, the newspaper headlines and television commentaries set against a background of blazing cars are really hyping it up,” the popular daily Le Parisien complained.

The Foreign Ministry has criticised some foreign reports as excessive and at least one cabinet member, Labour Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, has hinted the critical reporting was meant to hit back at France for opposing the U.S.-led Iraq war.

Heh, that’s a good one. The U.S. somehow controls the world media and can influence it to write negative sounding (albeit accurate) headlines in order to punish France.

If only.

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