There are no two things more anathematic to the American conservative than the French and government-funded broadcasting.
Little wonder than that conservative organisation Accuracy In Media has released a scathing, if poorly researched, review of France 24.
Entitled “France Copys Al-Jazeera“, the piece by Andy Selepek , one of AIM’s valiant interns, claims that France 24 is designed to “counter American influence in the world”.
This much is certainly true, and in fact this mission lay at the heart of the network’s creation.
But Selepak continues:
It also seems designed to give us a more sympathetic view of those behind international terrorism. France, of course, was the scene of violent Muslim riots in 2005 and is considered by many to be the base for “Eurabia,” the coming takeover of Europe by Muslim Arabs.
This passage is, of course, a fact-challenged farce.
France’s decline to support the American invasion of Iraq does not mean that it has a sympathetic view of international terrorism.
French anti-terror laws make the Patriot Act look like it was written by Amnesty International. All French mosques are under surveillance for the simple reason that they are mosques. French police have the power to detain anyone suspected of providing even minimal support to terror-affiliated groups indefinitely and without trial.
The French secret services are the only agencies to have penetrated an Al-Quada linked cell. Thier human resources in the Arab and Muslim world are the best in the West and their information is often valuable to the CIA.
The French people themselves are not particularly tolerant of even moderate forms of Islam. Unlike in the United States, the French left does not believe in the virtues of tolerance and multiculturalism at home, but rather their socialist ideals compels them to reject radical religion as the most dangerous form of communautarisim.
In 2004 Interior Minister and presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkosy pushed though a ban on wearing the Muslim veil in public schools, claiming that it was an insult to women. The vote passed 494-36.
Such action or unanimity in the United States would be unthinkable.
And indeed the French view the “Anglo-Saxon” tolerance of Islam in the public shpere as dangerously lax. When the July 2005 bombings hit in London the common reaction in France was “What do you expect? That’s what ‘tolerance’ gets you.”
France clearly is no friend of radical Islam. But what of the second charge that France is in danger of being swamped by hordes of the descendants of the army Charles Martel defeated at Tours?
The 2005 riots showed serious, critical problems with the French state and society.
But these problems have nothing to do with Islam, and everything to do with France’s ruinous, absurd economic policies that have made the French look upon the current 8.8% unemployment as an improvement on the decades in the double digits.
The young unemployed Muslims who rioted in 2005 did so not because they were young and unemployed, not because they were Muslim.
Indeed most French Muslims are Muslims the way most French Catholics are Catholics. They are more likely to quote Homer J. Simpson than the Prophet Mohammad.
Ironically, the malaise of young French Arab is so acute precisely because they aren’t very Muslim at all. They don’t feel either French or Arab. Very few of them speak Arabic. Fewer sill attend mosque. And almost none of them have ever lived anywhere but France. And yet they still aren’t fully part of French society, unable to find the jobs that would propel them out of the immigrant communities they come from and into wider French society.
Hardly radical, French Muslims stand little chance of ever turning France into the “Eurabia” of Bill Kristol’s crack-induced nightmeres.
French demographics are very different from those of the rest of Europe. The French fertility rate stands at 1.9, the highest in Europe and equal to that of the United States (excluding recent immigrants).
The immigration rate, however, is much lower in France and crucially, French births are not concentrated in the immigrant population but encouraged in the general population by government policy.
In the United States, however, the fertility rates for Hispanics is above 3, while the rate for the rest of the population is below replacement.
The US stands a much better chance of being “Amerexico” than France does of being “Eurabia”
Unsurprisingly Selepak’s critique of France 24 is just as faulty as that of France in general.
Aside from wanting to curb the influence of the United States, France 24 and Al-Jeezera have very little in common.
A more appropriate comparison would be with the BBC, which is roundly criticized even in Britian for being rabidly left-wing.
Why don’t American conservatives go after the BBC as being “pro-terrorist”?
Apparently thier only critera when judging European anti-terror policies is the government’s position on the Iraq war.
The need to counter that kind of dangerous, ignorant thinking is the best justification I’ve seen yet for France 24’s existence.