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Fox News Loves to Hate France

Reported by Melanie - February 8, 2005

On a day (February 8, 2005) when Condoleezza Rice is on what's being described as a "fence mending" mission to Europe, Fox News took a jab at the French (again), showing no sign that it'll do its part to help mend those fences.

The French government wants to increase the French work week from 35 to 40 hours. In l998, at a time of high unemployment, the government there decreased the work week to 35 hours in an effort to create jobs. The unemployment rate has remained high and the government now thinks that returning the work week to 40 hours will give people more money, which they'll spend, and which in turn will create more jobs.

Approximately 300,000 people demonstrated against the proposal in Paris today. Here's how Your World w/Neil Cavuto covered the story.

Heading to a break, Neil Cavuto said:

"Oh, I know this is not a bad French joke. The French are working, really working. Really working hard. So hard that an age old [no Neil, seven year] barrier is about to fall. We'll tell you all about it after this."

After the break, under a banner that read, "French are Whining," Cavuto introduced Georges LeClere with the line, "Talk about some fried Frenchmen." LeClere was identified in the banner at the bottom of the screen as a "Fmr. French TV Anchor." (Click on his name and read his short bio. It looks to me like his work at the UN is more significant than being a "former French TV anchor.")

LeClere explained what was going on in France (he said essentially what I wrote above) as Cavuto asked a few questions along the way, like, "So it wasn't the fact that they're just lazy"? And, "So the bottom line - this is not an indictment of the work ethic, because productivity numbers in France have been down"? And about the protesters, "Where do they get the coffee though? Every one of them had like a nice little coffee or expresso."

COMMENT: While this isn't as vicious as O'Reilly's rants about France and the French people, Cavuto's sarcastic digs were unnecessary and the fairly serious nature of the story was trivialized. Additionally, I thought it par for the Fox course that LeClere's UN connection wasn't mentioned. I don't suppose that'd go over so well given Fox's anti-UN fervor. (As a matter of fact, in the ad segment immediately after this interview Fox ran a promo for a Sunday special titled: "UN Blood Money: Kofi Annan Under Fire.") I watch segments like this and shake my head. Since Fox News is broadcast internationally, I cringe when I imagine what people in other parts of the world must think when they see this kind of childish, nasty coverage. It's worrisome and embarrassing to think of Fox News as one of our "ambassadors."

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