Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Lesson in French Etiquite

There is an amazing divergence of stories growing out of the violence and rioting in France.

One's view of this story is likely to be radically different, depending on who writes your news.
LeMonde (France's version of the NYTimes) is reporting pretty much the facts in it's lead paragraph; that Chirac has called a meeting of a French "Internal" Security Council to discuss ways to deal with riots that have lasted for 10 days.

El Pais (Spain's NYT/WSJ) lead headline reads something like, "The virulence of the riots in France grows in spite of government warnings."

El Mundo (Spain) reports it somewhat differently, "Chirac intervenes in the crisis and holds an urgent meeting to attack the rioters"

The BBC had one of the most "matter of fact" articles, and one of the least informative.

Back in the States, our two major national papers have differing takes.

The NYTimes (yes, I caved for this) "Unrest Spreads to Central Paris and Outskirts of More Cities" Intriguinglingly, it wasn't until the sixth paragraph that the article made clear, "Most of the unrest remained confined to immigrant neighborhoods surrounding Paris..."

The Washington Post had a remarkable piece (remarkable than for no other reason, how bad it's international coverage tends to be) starting to shed light for most of us, on why the rioting is occuring. The story pained in this article is that it's about recognition for a group cut off from main-stream access to political representation and economic participation.

I doubt this was intentional, but China's People's Daily published a story that takes the opposite perspective from the Washington Post's, and gives only the French Government's take on the story. In the story, rioters are described as organized gangs, and seeking "organized violence."

It's interesting to see how different papers present the same scenario. At least I think so.

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