Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fauxtography Rules!

[With UPDATES at the bottom]

Apparently it does in France where news suppression and journalism as propaganda has just won a victory.

In appalling news from unfree France, on the first of the Al Dura trials currently ongoing in France, Philippe Karsenty was found liable for insulting Charles Enderlin and France2 to the sum of 3000 Euros to Enderlin and 5 symbolic Euros to France2.

Mr. Karsenty comments: “It is a very somber day for France. The French justice system has validated a false report,” he told reporters after the decision. “We are going to appeal straight away. It is a very surprising judgment.”

Richard Landes, who was called as a witness, has this to say:
The implications of this reversal of Madame le Procureur’s clear recommendations, for what appears to be — we’ll have a translation and analysis of the judgment ASAP — a critique of Philippe that somehow absolves Enderlin of all of his journalistic failings, failings that came out abundantly in court, are deeply troubling.

Nidra Poller, commenting from Paris for Pajamas Media, writes:
This just in from Nidra Poller at the trial - “We were naïve. We are naïve. It was such a beautiful trial but how did we dream that the court would rule in favor of Philippe Karsenty and against state-owned France 2? The verdict was announced succintly, the judge was cold and impersonal. Karsenty is convicted of defamation and ordered to pay a penalty of 1000 euros; symbolic damages of 1 euro to each plaintiff, Charles Enderlin and France 2; and 3000 euros in court costs. Karsenty will appeal. As soon as I get a copy of the judgment I will explain the arguments on which this conviction was based. A video report is on its way.”

Here is Richard Landes' report on the Al Dura affair right before the first verdict in the New Republic.

And the same report on his own blog, with photos, hypertext and a few new lines added in.

All in all, this verdict is deeply troubling. More like the France of the Dreyfus affair, than the France that helped bequeath to the world the Enlightenment and the fight for freedom of information against entrenched state power.

UPDATED: Richard Landes continues his analysis of l'affaire Dreyfus Dura here.
This is a tragic day for French republican values and the resilience of European culture. Philippe’s personal travails aside, no one but those who long ago wrote France off as a third-world country with first world pretensions, the jihadis with designs on Europe, and their third-worldist allies, can be pleased at such a failure of judicial reasoning.
Let us remind oursevles that embarrassment to the state was one of the main reasons that the Dreyfus affair took so long to correct.

Is there no one today in France with the courage of an Émile Zola to use the media to shine truth, bravely? As with Zola, likely a non-Jew would have more credibility in the population at large. But how about The Bernard Henri Lévi™? Or did he lose all his credibility "among people who count," i.e. French leftist intellectuals, when he went on record to support Israel's war against Hezbollah. Although, as a philospher, one imagines he's interested in the framing of narrative truth by the media. And Zola was a socialist as well.

And here is Nidra Poller's first hand account of the atmosphere in which the verdict was delivered and her impressions of the entire affair.
Judge Joël Boyer who personified the search for the truth as he presided over the hearing one month ago pronounced the verdict in a weak, anonymous, impersonal voice...

Don’t they understand? It was not a trial to determine the authenticity of the al-Dura report. A French court won’t raise that question, won’t deliberate on that evidence, won’t even ask for the 27 minutes of outtakes. Where does it get you when you keep winning in a rigged game?

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