Overlooked: CNN Also Engaged in Unchecked ‘No-Go Zone’ Chatter


If Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is going to sue cable networks like Fox News for their repeated discussion and reporting of so-called “no-go zones” in France, she might need to consider a bigger legal team.

Because, as Washington Post media writer Erik Wemple first reported, it appears Fox wasn’t alone. CNN discussed the topic on its network multiple times in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack. Using TVEyes for research, we did our own digging and found an additional example beyond what Wemple found (which we’ll also discuss below).

On Saturday, January 10, host Jim Sciutto asked former NYPD detective Harry Houck and CNN security analyst Robert Baer about how to identify possible homegrown terror cells before an attack. Houck invoked the existence of “no-go zones” and why they present such a big problem for French authorities. Sciutto, a top-flight reporter, does not challenge him.

Watch that exchange below:

Not much of a difference between what Houck said there and what we’d heard on Fox News, right? The same unchecked claim.

And per Wemple’s piece, here’s another exchange. This time between Chris Cuomo and Wolf Blitzer, reporting live from Paris on January 9. “I mean, we have been getting read in about what cultural tensions do exist here,” Cuomo said. “There’s a very large part of the population that is assimilated. What’s happened in Paris, north Paris is not a secret. We know there were riots there several years ago. There are what they call a ‘no-go zone.’ There are problems with policing, problems with disenfranchisement.”

That clip below:

Again per WaPo, the “no-go zone” topic was broached that same evening (Jan. 9), with CIA officer Gary Berntsen telling Anderson Cooper, without any significant pushback:

The Europeans and the French in particular have problems that are the result of also 751 ‘no-go zones’ in France where you have Islamic communities that have formed councils that are managing these areas. And the police don’t go in. If you look at Sweden there are 55 ‘no-go zones’ there. You know, firefighters or ambulance drivers go in there and they’re attacked. Their vehicles are lit on fire, their tires are slashed, and the Europeans have not pushed back against this. They can’t surveil people inside the ‘no-go zones’ if they get and go in there … [These are] enclaves that are completely separated from the government.

Video below:

Like Scuitto, Cooper did not challenge Berntsen on the claim of 751 “no-go zones” in France alone, a disturbing number to put it mildly. The viewer in both cases — given experts and/or award-winning reporters were sharing information around the topic — therefore assumed what they were hearing was fact and not some myth being passed around.

Sound familiar? Of course. No matter. For the past 24 hours, CNN has gleefully mocked Fox over the Paris mayor’s lawsuit while failing to mention their own role in furthering this rhetoric. The network even sent reporter Max Foster to confront Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for “exaggerating” on the topic. And, of course, nobody realized that stuff said on-the-air isn’t archived or anything, and therefore goes away like a deleted tweet — except it doesn’t.

Fox took it on the chin for its unchecked chatter about “no-go zones.” And after seeing all the video and transcript evidence presented above, it appears CNN should’ve issued an apology as well.

In the meantime, Mediaite has reached out to Paris Mayor Hidalgo for comment. We’ll pass along her response if and when it is given.

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