French president accuses American media of ‘legitimizing violence’
PARIS, France, November 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — After the recent surge of Islamic terror attacks in France, President Emmanuel Macron complained that American media have sought to “legitimize violence” in the way they frame their reports.
Speaking with a reporter for The New York Times last Thursday, Macron voiced his frustration with the dominant narrative of U.S. media outlets that focuses on the grievances of those they view as “oppressed minorities.” The reluctance of American journalists to “express solidarity” with the European nation during last month’s wave of attacks, together with their bias and “obsession with racism,” has raised the ire of the leader.
In October, three Catholics were murdered during an Islamic attack in a church in Nice. The entire country has been plagued by Islamic terror for years.
Macron accused American media of distorting his views on Islam by failing to note his distinction between the religion itself and the radicalized version of it that he calls “Islamist.” He told Ben Smith of the New York Times that “after the attacks, English and American outlets immediately focused on failures in France’s policy toward Muslims rather than on the global terror threat.”
Among other offending pieces suggesting that France is guilty of provoking the violence it has experienced is an AP article that was initially titled, “Why France incites such anger in Muslim world.” Macron’s spokeswoman Anne-Sophie Bradelle complained to the French journal Le Monde that the media framed these stories to make it seem “as though we were in the smoking ruins of ground zero and they said we had it coming.”
Similar charges could also be leveled against American media in their coverage of the domestic violence perpetrated by Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters.
The Associated Press has issued a new set of guidelines discouraging journalists from referring to riots as “riots,” urging them to use the term “unrest” instead. The new advice follows months of the mainstream media working to downplay violence that has accompanied Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests across the United States, from arson to looting to assault and more.
When not downplaying the violence of the protests, many mainstream news sources have sought to justify it, particularly with respect to the destruction of property. An article at The Nation, for instance, defends the destruction of property and calls on the left to “redefine” the meaning of the term.
“This moment calls for the left to define violence and nonviolence for itself — to decide what nonviolence means in the face of overwhelming state brutality and structural economic and racial injustice,” the article stated. “Failure to do so results in a confusion of terms that has serious ethical and political consequences: Property destruction is not synonymous with the violence that is being protested.”
Macron sees the dominant narrative of “structural economic and racial injustice,” which guides much of the American media’s commentary, as a departure from the values of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, saying that “when I see them legitimizing this violence, and saying that the heart of the problem is that France is racist and Islamophobic, then I say the founding principles have been lost.”