AP Mocks the French for Their Violent, 'Deeply Conservative Streak'

It wasn’t labeled “news analysis” or “commentary,” but AP reporters Gregory Katz and Angela Charlton began a story on England approving gay marriage by mocking the French.

“The French like to make fun of the British, joking about their repressed ways in matters of the heart,” wrote the AP duo. “But when it came time to debate same-sex marriage, it was France that betrayed a deeply conservative streak in sometimes violent protests — while the British showed themselves to be modern and tolerant.”

As for tolerance and mutual respect,  AP never mentioned the radical topless "nuns" of Femen mocking the Catholic Church in the streets of France.

As usual, liberal journalists at AP portrayed the debate over homosexuality not only as between The Inevitable Tolerant Future and The Benighted Vanishing Past, but between a “deeply conservative” minority and the utterly unlabeled people who “get it.” No social liberals here!

With little fanfare or debate, Britain announced Wednesday that Queen Elizabeth II — hardly a social radical — had signed into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in England and Wales. France has also legalized gay marriages, but only after a series of gigantic protests attracting families from the traditional heartland that revealed a deeply split society.

They continued the theme that England performed more admirably and unanimously than France:

There were British political figures and religious leaders vehemently opposed to gay marriage, but the opposition never reached a fever pitch, in part because the same-sex marriage bill had broad public support and the backing of the leaders of the three major political parties. In fact, it was Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the tradition-minded Conservatives, who proposed the legislation in the first place.

The public seemed to take it for granted that gay marriage should be a part of British life .

‘‘The opposition seemed restricted to a very small number of people very vigorous in their views,’’ said Steven Fielding, a political scientist at the University of Nottingham. ‘‘It was restricted to the back benchers of the Conservative Party. It wasn’t shared across the political spectrum. It was an issue whose time had come. To oppose it seemed slightly strange.’’

That certainly reflects the liberal media, who don't really like being opposed. But in France? It was assumed that hyper-sexy France would easily concede, but...

Then, something clicked in the conservative heartland — which showed just how much of a force it is in French life.

When the law was drafted and the idea of gays marrying turned from concept to imminent reality, traditionalists spoke up, and loudly.

Far-right skinheads drew condemnation as they wrestled with police at Paris protests. But most of those at the barricades were families, children with grandparents, members of France’s minority of Catholics brought in en masse from towns and villages to march on the capital. Some conservative Muslims and Jews joined in.

Katz and Charlton can't imagine anyone is a "social radical" for gay marriage. Because they assume everyone should be.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis