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Mayor of Paris to Sue Fox News for Charlie Hebdo Coverage

This story has been updated. Fox News has spent years ridiculing France for sins real and imagined. Now the mayor of Paris is punching back with plans to sue the network after its coverage “insulted” her city in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo made the comments to CNN Tuesday, ...

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This story has been updated.

Fox News has spent years ridiculing France for sins real and imagined. Now the mayor of Paris is punching back with plans to sue the network after its coverage “insulted” her city in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo made the comments to CNN Tuesday, Jan. 20, amid a continued uproar over the network’s repeated — and wholly inaccurate — assertions that France has “no-go zones” where Muslims live separately, in some cases under sharia law, and where governments and police forces don’t exercise sovereignty.

Fox News Executive Vice President Michael Clemente responded to the mayor’s comments in a statement Tuesday. “We empathize with the citizens of France as they go through a healing process and return to everyday life,” he said. “However, we find the mayor’s comments regarding a lawsuit misplaced.”

Fox’s miscues were exhaustively cataloged by the Washington Post this week. On Jan. 7, for instance, Fox News host Sean Hannity said he understood that a huge influx of Muslims into France and other parts of Europe in recent years had resulted in the creation of regions that were basically Muslim mini-states in the heart of Europe.

“They have no-go zones. If you’re non-Muslim, you’re not allowed. Not police, not even fire department if there’s a fire. Sharia courts have been allowed to be established. Prayer rugs in just about every hotel,” Hannity said.

Three days later, on Jan. 10, terrorism analyst Steve Emerson told a visibly surprised Jeanine Pirro that “safe havens” in various European cities existed solely for Muslims, and he even offered specific details about supposed life under sharia law in Birmingham, England.

“There are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in,” he said.

The comments stunned British Prime Minister David Cameron, who immediately lashed out at Emerson. “I frankly choked on my porridge, and I thought it must be April Fools’ Day,” he said, adding that the analyst was a “complete idiot.”

On Jan. 17, Fox News host Julie Banderas issued a verbal correction for various Fox reports about no-go zones and apologized for Emerson’s remarks.

“To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either country and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion,” she said.

Pirro also issued a verbal correction in which she said the fault laid with Emerson for his allegations regarding no-go zones but also with the network for failing to challenge him.

Emerson, for his part, blamed “sloppy research that had not been fact-checked” when he apologized in an interview on the BBC.

French comedians took the Fox coverage and ran with it this week when a satirical news program, France’s Le Petit Journal, had two comedians dress up as Fox reporters in Paris. The two actors ran around Paris’s streets, jumping at every sound and ducking every time they saw a bearded man, shouting “Paris is the most dangerous city in the world!”

But even if they found it a good chance for a laugh, Hidalgo was not at all amused.

“The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced,” she told CNN.

Image credit: screen shot, Fox News

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