Soccer and Politics: As usual the NYT screws up

The NYT has an article on the PSG fan dying at the hands of a policeman, during a melee that broke out after a match between PSG and Hapoel Tel Aviv, in a humiliating loss for PSG, 2-4. The policeman shot one of the notorious PSG Ultras, when a group of them surrounded a French fan, who is Jewish. An incident that is shocking and highlights racism as an overt part of many football leagues around the world.
The Ultras in PSG have always had a terrible reputation of being racist and anti- Semitic, just as the thugs in Beitar Jerusalem have a equally horrible reputation of being racist and anti- Arab, even though there are a number of Israeli Arab players, playing for Israeli clubs like Abbas Suan who nearly got Israel qualified for this year’s World Cup. This story will never see the light of day in the NYT.
France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, many from its former colonies, many who are unemployed, have never properly integrated, and are frequently at odds with a substantial minority Jewish population. A few years ago, a number of synagogues were burned down. And as the NYT in the article points out that France has far rightwing politicians like Jean Marie Le Pen, running for French president for almost a decade, who has frequently chastised the French football team for not being “French” enough. The NYT has always singled out France as a poster child for racism and anti- Semitism.
Before the 1998 World Cup, Mr. Le Pen called the French team “artificial” because of its ethnic and racial makeup. Last June, before the World Cup, he said France “doesn’t totally recognize itself in this team,” because there may be too many “players of color.”
So yes, in France there is a problem of racism and more relevantly for the NYT, one of anti-Semitism. I vehemently oppose the uniform civil code that Nikolas Sarkozy, the interior minister has put into place. Despite all of this, Le Pen has never been voted to power. As for anti-Semitism, prominent US politicians have indulged in it. And even now, a lot of Americans have a subliminal aversion to Jews.
However this is what Elaine Sciolino reporting for the NYT concludes in her article. Quote “Certainly, the message of Mr. Le Pen, who faced Mr. Chirac in a runoff in the 2002 election, resonates in France. In a poll published in Le Monde last week, 17 percent of the respondents said they intended to vote for the 78-year-old for president.”
Is France a single issue country? I guess Chirac’s incumbency does not count, his spotty record on the economic front, or his government’s support of labor laws that hire and fire at will. No, what matters is that Gaul is being replaced by hordes from Algeria.
Lets put this into perspective. Our favourite racist, Tom Tancredo calls Miami a `Third World country.’ Tancredo, who has been mentioned as a potential presidential contender, criticized President Bush in the interview for Bush’s push for comprehensive immigration reform.
”He is going to do what he can to create a place where the idea of America is just that — it’s an idea,” Tancredo said. “It’s not an actual place defined by borders. I mean this is where this guy is really going.”
George Bush’s approval ratings are in the early 30’s. If I were to extrapolate Elaine Sciolino’s conclusions, then I would say “Certainly, the message of Mr. Tancredo, a potential presidential candidate resonates in the USA. In a WSJ poll last week, 31 percent of the respondents approved the job that George W Bush was doing.” Forget the war on Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the social security fiasco, or the economy.
The NYT’s problems are not just Jayson Blair or Ricky Braggs!

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2 comments on “Soccer and Politics: As usual the NYT screws up
  1. Oh good Lord it was excruciating to read this post.
    It was just an error in reporting. Chirac is 74 as of Nov 29th. She meant Le Pen, who is 78. Her error was the use of the word “President” which would logically apply to Chirac but she meant Le Pen. She shoulda said “leader” or “curmudgeon” or something.
    You can glean this from context.

  2. Bossman
    Read the NYT article. Does 17% sound resonating to you? It sounds like a minority. The context of Sciolino’s reporting is that France is an intolerant country.

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