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Grapevine Whine - Oh Those Frenchies! (cont'd)

Reported by Nancy - December 1, 2005 -

Tuesday night (11/29) on Special Report, Brit Hume used one of the "pickings" on the Grapevine segment to remind viewers that there had been (gasp!) riots in France. In the process, he got at least one fact dead wrong & used language worthy of any supermarket tabloid.

After sneering his way through tidbits about Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Larry Wilkerson (former chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell) & Al Jazeera, Hume lit into the French with item #4 on the Grapevine.

Hume said that French PM Dominique de Villepin "is calling for new powers to prevent a repeat of the month-long ethnic riots" that "shook" France, including the "ability to police the French ban on polygamy." Hume added that "Labor Minister Gerard Larcher sparked an outrage" when he said "earlier this month" that children from France's "8,000-15,000 polygamous families" often have "social & behavioral problems stemming from a lack of a father figure" & may be "partly to blame for the unrest." He then noted that some groups opposed Larcher's statement (e.g., the League of Human Rights "called the suggestion 'sickening & irresponsible' " & an "anti-racist group" said such remarks "only feed the 'racism & exclusion' that incited youths to riot.").

[NOTE: Hume's delivery left unclear exactly which words or phrases he was quoting; I double-checked the above against the transcript at the Fox website.]

Comments: Hume got one FACT wrong: The riots weren't a month long; they lasted 20 nights. I suspect he'd be more careful if the calculation involved, say, his vacation.

Here's how the Independent (UK) reported de Villepin's actions:

Bowing to pressure from right-wingers in his own party, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin yesterday announced plans to restrict the re-unification of immigrant families and to impose tighter selection rules on foreign students from outside the EU. The French government will also make it more difficult to win the right to come to France, or become French, by marrying a French citizen. ... de Villepin also called yesterday for tougher enforcement of existing French laws against polygamy. Two weeks ago he chided politicians in his own centre-right party, the UMP, when they suggested that large, polygamous, African families were one of the main causes of three weeks of rioting ... in French towns and cities. Left-wing politicians and anti-racist campaigners challenged the relevance of the measures. They said that of the 4,000 people arrested during the riots, only 120 were born outside France. ... de Villepin's tough line is partly intended to appease centre-right politicians who have blamed "immigration" for the riots. It is also an attempt to prevent the xenophobic far right from gaining electoral advantage from the riots in municipal elections next year and in national elections in 2007.

Here's how UPI reported Larcher's remarks:

France's employment minister, Gerard Larcher, blames 20 nights of rioting in the country on African Muslim immigrants' polygamy. Speaking to reporters, Larcher said large polygamous families sometimes led to anti-social behavior among youths who lacked a father figure, making employers wary of hiring ethnic minorities

Note the differences in language:

Hume : de Villepin "is calling for new powers" including the "ability to police the French ban on polygamy"
Independent : de Villepin "called ... for tougher enforcement of existing French laws against polygamy."

Hume : the riots "shook" France
Independent: there were "three weeks of rioting"
UPI : there were "20 nights of rioting"

Hume : Larcher "sparked an outrage"
Independent : de Villepin "chided politicians in his own ... party ... when they suggested ..."
UPI : [did not mention any reaction, simply reported Larcher's remarks]

Hume : Larchers said that children of polygamous families may be "partly to blame for the unrest."
Independent : "politicians in his own ... party ... suggested that large, polygamous, African families were one of the main causes of" the riots
UPI : "Larcher said large polygamous families sometimes led to anti-social behavior among youths who lacked a father figure, making employers wary of hiring ethnic minorities."

Sensationalist? Inflammatory? Tabloid? Opinionated? All of the above?

If you'd like to complain to Fox about this, email: special@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Hume's & Fox's tabloid style, the ongoing France-bashing on Fox). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.