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Agence France-Presse (AFP), founded in 1835, is the world’s oldest news agency, which means that there was a time when it was not simply a propaganda arm for the far-left and its allies. But as is the case with other once-respected news outlets all over the West, the days of AFP’s independence and objectivity are long past. A recent AFP story about vigilante punishment of a “blasphemer” in Norway demonstrates that.
“Woman jailed over car-chase with Norway anti-Islam activist,” AFP tells in a story it published Saturday, and the headline presents the first problem. Those who are unfamiliar with what actually happened might think that this was a story about speeding, or maybe even about racing in the streets, or else that the dastardly “anti-Islam activist” (note that his activism is presented as his being against something, rather than for something, an honor the media reserves only for those with whom it agrees) was misogynistically chasing down this woman, no doubt with malign intent, but that she ended up being the one who got punished. Ain’t that always the way?
The false impression that the headline gives, however, is dispelled by the first sentence of the article, although that sentence presents new problems. “A Norwegian court,” AFP tells us, “has jailed for 19 months a woman who chased and then rammed a vehicle carrying an anti-Islam extremist who had just burned a Koran.”
Look how AFP continues to slant its story. The person who chased and rammed the car is repeatedly described as a “woman.” That’s it. A “woman.” Meanwhile, the man who stood up for the freedom of expression at risk of life and limb is called an “extremist.” The “extremist” was not the person who caused an accident trying to harm someone who had defended the right to dissent, but was, rather, the defender of the right to dissent.
Later on in the article, AFP goes even farther, calling others who have likewise stood up for the freedom of expression “militants,” as if they were toting Kalashnikovs and holding non-Qur’an-burners hostage. Remember also that “extremists” and “militants” are common euphemisms the establishment media uses for terrorists. At the time this attack took place in July 2022, the French publication Le Progrès demonstrated the same bias, headlining its article “Un extrémiste anti-islam percuté en voiture après avoir brûlé un Coran,” that is, “An anti-Islam extremist hit in car after burning Quran.”
In reality, these people aren’t remotely “extremist.” They aren’t carrying anything more lethal than a book of matches with which to light the Qur’an, which they do not out of hatred of Muslims or desire to do them harm, but because they object to the book’s violence, hatred of unbelievers, misogyny and more, and believe that Western countries are treading a dangerous path by restricting the freedom of expression in order to appease Muslims who are enraged by the burning of the Qur’an.
The “woman,” AFP notes, “was found guilty of an attempt to inflict serious bodily harm.” But remember, the person she was trying to harm was an “extremist”: “The incident happened minutes after Lars Thoren, head of the Stop The Islamisation of Norway group, had burned a copy of the Koran outside a mosque in the Oslo suburbs.” For this, “two women in a grey Mercedes went after him in a pursuit that was filmed and posted on social media.”
They caught up with Thoren and attacked: “Thoren’s sports utility truck was rammed and turned over onto its roof but none of the five occupants were seriously hurt.” Thoren, AFP reminds us, “is among a group of militants in Scandinavian countries, also including Rasmus Paludan, who have caused anger by burning copies of the Koran in Muslim districts of major cities.” And not only there: “While presented as an expression of freedom of speech, governments in Muslim majority countries have protested the burnings.”
So does the fact that Muslim governments have protested the burnings mean that the burnings are no longer an expression of freedom of speech? The Muslim governments’ outrage trumps the freedom of expression?
The worst aspect of this is that AFP isn’t even close to being the worst establishment media outlet. Propaganda of this kind is pumped out by the gallon from every media outlet, every day. It’s no wonder that the American people, and the people of the West in general, are so often ready to support people and causes that are directly opposed to their best interests.