'The War of Outrages'

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Not all French journalists are knee-jerk anti-Americans. In fact, Alain Hertoghe (search), a Belgian who has lived and reported in France since 1988, recently published a book that takes direct aim at how the French press reported the Iraq war.

Mr. Hertoghe’s book, titled, “The War of Outrages” looks at five major French dailies, including his own publication La Croix, in the three weeks leading up to the day when Saddam’s statue was toppled in Baghdad. Not surprisingly, he found that his colleagues put their political bias ahead of the facts.

“A collective desire to see Anglo-American defeat, driven by deep-rooted anti-Americanism and a patriotic frenzy, caused the media … to give a false account of the war,” writes Mr. Hertoghe. The problem for publishers throughout France, which as yet remains unresolved, is the disconnect between the press’s coverage of the war and its outcome: “As soon as there were a couple of wounded, of dead, they were talking about Vietnam, Stalingrad. Understandably, the outcome of the war left the reader stunned.”

While the Belgian press has published favorable reviews of Hertoghe’s book, the only French paper to have reviewed it at all is a small newspaper given away for free in the French metro. And what was the response of Hertoghe’s own editors to his book? Shortly after the December publication of the book, Alain Hertoghe was fired.

And that’s the Asman Observer!