Jonah’s correct. Knowing more and commenting less seems difficult for those harboring the most anger, and their comments, more than the actual events, seem to be driving the media narrative here in Europe. The unfortunate remark by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik that Arizona had become “a mecca for prejudice and bigotry” has been widely reported in France (and elsewhere) as a way of supporting the local press’ conventional caricature of a violent, mindless America. Le Monde’s dutiful headline: “L’Arizona, ‘capitale’ de ‘la colère, la haine, l’intolérance’” (interesting that the paper shied away from the “mecca” part). Sheriff Clarence also provided the motif for broadcaster TF1′s headlined claim that Arizona’s a place where people “worship guns and hate speech.” The sheriff may know his own state better than I do, but I suspect the reality is different. My hunch is Arizona’s a place where most people have been praying for those who have died or been injured.
There was other news today in France, all of it covered in a more responsible way. In the middle of the afternoon, an armed man wandered out of the Tourettes district of Bayonne and into a laundromat, where he started firing. He left one dead, two injured. Le Nouvel Observateur gave the story three paragraphs – although there may be more reported once more is known.