For years, he has deployed this clever tactic especially when interviewed by the national media. As a result, he has been giving pass after pass. His responses are never seriously questioned.
This week, he was finally quizzed by CNN over the issue of No-Go Zones after he gave his speech to the Henry Jackson Society, in London.
CNN in particular, and others, in general, were curious how he, a Louisiana Governor, who has not travelled to Europe in years, could be more knowledgeable about the very existence of a claim which had so embarrassed Fox News that the proud network met the indignity of apologizing, not once, but repeatedly, just this weekend.
Those apologies were not done in the middle of the night on remote channels. They were magnified by its competitors and other media showcasing that “Faux News” as it is often called, was finally accepting responsibility for assertions made on its programs.
Meantime, the No-Go Zones controversies were not to be forgotten. No other than the Louisiana Governor, in the middle of a so-called economic development trip, was addressing that and other important foreign policy issues.
As a result of those apologies and his speech, "No-Go Zones" became and has further emerged center stage as a credibility test between Jindal and Fox News.
While CNN and other international media questioned Jindal’s No-Go Zone facts, the Jindal PAC has been quite busy. It issued this fundraising appeal on its website, “TELL THE LIBERAL MEDIA TO STOP THEIR SHAMELESS ATTACKS AGAINST GOVERNOR JINDAL FOR TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT RADICAL ISLAM”. Of course, below the statement was a request for money.
However, many are not necessarily attacking Jindal for comments about the dangers of radical Islam (although there are many radicals who are not Islamic who are quite dangerous and who he has not addressed). Instead, they are downright curious how he is so right and Fox News now, so wrong. But, if Jindal prefers to consider those in question as being “shameless”, that is his call and surely his way to make a buck or two, while at it.
It’s also another subject.
A FRIENDLY FORUM: CAVUTO
Getting back to No-Go:
While media across the globe slammed him, it was only a matter of time before the Louisiana Governor would find a friendly forum. It arrived, somewhat ironically, in the form of Fox News and Neil Cavuto.
On Wednesday, the host questioned Jindal about the claim.
“Did you know the term ‘no-go zones’ was wrong?” Fox’s Neil Cavuto asked. “We reported the same and we were wrong. We botched it. We apologized for it,” he said of Fox’s series of apologies for similar statements. “You are not, I take it?”
To which Jindal replied, “I think what you apologized for, what your network apologized for, was calling an entire city a no-go zone. That’s not true. But there absolutely are neighborhoods..”
So, Fox is saying there are no "No-Go Zones", the governor is claiming there are. So, what gives? Is it apology time, once again?
Ah, maybe the both are right, apologies not needed. Or at least, it appears so says Jindal.
To answer these questions, let’s look at some of the facts, by reviewing much of the chronology. One thing, absolutely certain, Fox News was NOT apologizing for the claims of “entire cities” being no-go-zones (a piece of Jindalese) but for the assertions and statements made on the network over a period of time.
This past Saturday, Fox News, made a number of apologies regarding the zones.
"No-go zones" have been a theme on Fox. Critics have accused the network of advancing a frightening narrative that demeans peaceful Muslims.
Earlier on Saturday, on the morning show "Fox & Friends," co-host Anna Kooiman referred to the previous week's program, when "we showed a map of neighborhoods in France labeled as no-go zones."
"Some of the neighborhoods were highlighted incorrectly," she said. "We apologize for the error."
Note: Kooiman specifically was referring to a “map of neighborhoods” in France labeled as no-go zones, not entire cities.
Earlier this week, a French comedy television show observed that the map in question was identical to a map, made by the French government in 1996, of poor neighborhoods in need of help.
One of Saturday's apologies was prompted by something said on the network just a few hours prior.
An anchor at 1 p.m., Julie Banderas, asked guest Jessie Jane Duff to talk about a poll measuring support for the terror group ISIS in Europe.
"The EU poll shows that 69% of the Muslims in France actually support I.S., ISIS," Duff responded. "And not only that, when you look at that same survey, throughout all of Europe, it's relatively very similar, as high as 40% in some locations."
That's not true. Eric Shawn, an anchor at 4 p.m., followed up. "We at Fox News have subsequently determined that that poll is not credible, and should not have been used or referred to, and we apologize for that error."
Banderas was back at the anchor desk at 7 p.m. And she delivered the most thorough correction of the day -- a blanket apology to "the people of France and England."
"Over the course of this last week we have made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe -- particularly with regard to England and France," Banderas said.
"This applies especially to discussions of so-called 'no-go zones,' areas where non-Muslims allegedly aren't allowed in, and police supposedly won't go."
"To be clear," she continued, "there is no formal designation of these zones in either country, and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion."
"There are certainly areas of high crime in Europe, as there are in the United States and other countries -- where police and visitors enter with caution," she said. "We deeply regret the errors, and apologize to any and all who may have taken offense, including the people of France and England."
Note: In the Fox News apology, Bandaris mentions nothing about “entire cities”. Not even “half-cities”. In fact, the word city was never even used. At the most, Bandaris refers to “areas”, which theoretically could even amount to a city block.
Later Saturday, Jeanne Pirro of Fox News then apologized for comments made by her guest Steve Emerson, the week before.
On her Jan. 10 program, Pirro’s guest, terrorism analyst Steve Emerson spoke about these zones, saying:
“They’re sort of amorphous, they’re not contiguous necessarily, but they’re sort of safe havens. And they’re places where the governments, like France, Britain, Sweden, Germany — they don’t exercise any sovereignty so you basically have zones where Sharia courts are set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where police don’t go in.” Though Emerson claimed that this phenomenon plagued Europe very broadly, he zeroed in on Birmingham, England: “There are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in,” he said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron responded to his comments by saying, “
"I thought it must be April Fools' Day. This guy is clearly a complete idiot," Cameron told ITV.”
In her January 17 apology Pirro said, “ “Last week on this program,” said Pirro, “a guest made a serious factual error that we wrongly let stand unchallenged and uncorrected. The guest asserted that the city of Birmingham, England, is totally Muslim and that it is a place where non-Muslims don’t go . Both are incorrect.” Pirro then cited 2011 census data noting that 22 percent of the city’s population self-identifies as Muslim and that there’s no evidence of the whole no-go thing. She closed by apologizing to her viewers and others.
Days prior to Saturday’s Fox News effusive and respectable apologies, Jindal had circulated his advance speech which said in pertinent parts:
“It is startling to think that any country would allow, even unofficially, for a so called ‘no-go zone.’ The idea that a free country would allow for specific areas of its country to operate in an autonomous way that is not free and is in direct opposition to its laws is hard to fathom.”
Yet, the apologies by Fox News had made international news. Many following the controversy were wondering if Jindal would walk back his claims when giving his speech. Or, some questioned whether Jindal would stay on script--despite the series of Fox News’s mea culpas--a difficult achievement, considering the very competitive nature of network TV stations and gotcha politics.
The Louisiana Governor did not budge. Instead, Jindal said in his speech:
"In the West, non-assimilationist Muslims establish enclaves and carry out as much of Sharia law as they can without regard for the laws of the democratic countries which provided them a new home," according to prepared remarks.
"It is startling to think that any country would allow, even unofficially, for a so-called 'no-go zone.' The idea that a free country would allow for specific areas of its country to operate in an autonomous way that is not free and is in direct opposition to its laws is hard to fathom," he said.
In a late Monday afternoon interview, CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked Jindal to identify these zones, which he responded, in part:
“Look, you had a police chief here in London today say to the ‘Daily Mail’ there are neighborhoods — I’m not talking about entire cities, as others have tried to suggest. I’m saying there are neighborhoods where the police say they don’t go as frequently. There are neighborhoods where women do not feel comfortable walking without veils.” CNN’s Max Foster, too, asked Jindal to specify the “area, so we can look at it, because I haven’t heard of one.” Jindal responded, “I think your viewers know absolutely there are places where the police are less likely to go, they absolutely know there are neighborhoods where they wouldn’t feel comfortable.”
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
After being lampooned by many, on Tuesday, the Jindal administration then circulated "Setting the record straight: Reports of 'no-go zones' in Europe." The document leads with: "Ambassador John Bolton's Gatestone Institute Chronicled Dozens Of Reports Of 'No-Go' Zones In Europe." It has been reported that Bolton has been advising Jindal on foreign affairs.
Finally, on Wednesday, Jindal appeared on Your World with Neil Cavuto. During the interview, Cavuto said the term "no-go zones was wrong. I mean we reported the same, and we were wrong, we botched it, we apologized for it, you are not, I take it." Jindal said he wasn't apologizing, claiming "there are neighborhoods in the U.K. and in France that have been documented, very well documented, by Ambassador Bolton and others where there are attempts to impose Shariah law. There are neighborhoods where women do not feel comfortable walking in without veils.”
“You can call it whatever term you want, but absolutely there are neighborhoods, we have communities of people that don’t want to integrate, don’t want to assimilate,” he said.
JINDAL VS. FOX REDUX
In giving his speech only days after Fox News made apology history specifically about a subject Jindal was directly addressing to an international audience, the Louisiana governor continued his allegations about the existence of no-go zones.
Jindal has not formally declared Fox News apologies to be in error. He is simply suggesting that he is talking apples and Fox News oranges. Thus, there is no conflict and apologies not needed.
Jindal’s apples are Muslims controlling neighborhoods, deploying Sharia law, keeping non-believers out and scaring the dickens out of police who try to keep law and order.
Instead, he is indicating that Fox News’ apologies were oranges of “entire cities” of the same type of horrors to Europe and if we do not watch it, to America.
Apples, Oranges…as Jindal says, “You can call it whatever term you want”....Potatos, pototos, let's call the whole thing off..
Unfortunately, here’s the problem with Jindal’s speech and his recent Fox Interview.
Jindal is blaming (and fundraising as a result of) those who take issue with his choice of words, the facts he present, and the demons he is creating. Fox News was right, if not courageous, in acknowledging, whether under pressure or not, that it was propagating facts that were hurtful and simply wrong.
Fox News clearly referred to neighborhoods (again, with one reference to cities) in its apologies. Jindal was non-specific in his speech.
After all of the intense media commotion, Jindal said on CNN he was referring to neighborhoods.
Given the heightened scrutiny of the events of the weekend, Jindal certainly could have taken a different tack.
He could have said in his speech, “I know that Fox News has just apologized for references to entire cities. I am not making that reference. I am only referring to neighborhoods”.
He did not.
Or, his speech could have distinguished his focus (neighborhoods) versus that of Fox News (cities), to clear the air for everyone. He could have taken the confusion out of the international controversy.
He did not.
Jindal had already circulated his speech transcript days before so he could get the type of media attention he so values. He told the world in advance, he was going to be honest and controversial. Arguably, making a switch could make the ambitious politician look utterly weak and ignorant, if not foolish, the very first time he stepped on the world stage. Given his constant criticsm of Obama and now Hillary Clinton, an international "oops" moment would have been a disaster.
When confronted by CNN after the speech on Monday , he could not or did not respond with any particulars about any neighborhoods. He surely did not particularize any city. The following day, he circulated his “Setting the record straight” after the blood-letting had begun. Then, yesterday, while on Cavuto, he arguably stood his ground pointing to the city vs. neighborhood distinctions.
FOX, YOU’VE GOT A JINDAL PROBLEM
So, for argument sake, let us take Jindal at his word.
He claims he was referring to neighborhoods in Europe, not cities. As mentioned, Fox News, in its apologies were referring to the same but Pirro talked about her guest Emerson and his statement about the City of Birmingham.
Assuming Cavuto did his homework and read the apologies by his own network, he could have repeated the relevant portions of the apologies and then asked his guest--"are you now saying that Fox is wrong when it says there are no No-Go Zone neighborhoods and that you are right, that there are"?
He did not.
Instead, he allowed Jindal to make his No-Go Zone claims although they were in specific and direct contradiction to those very high-profiled apologies made by his own network.
Let us not forget, days ago, Pirro said, “a guest made a serious factual error that we wrongly let stand unchallenged and uncorrected”.
Now that Jindal is claiming he has set the record straight and that he has given us permission to call those controversial zones whatever we want, the ultimate question still remains—are there No-Go Zone neighborhoods, or not? Did Fox News wrongfully apologize, because these zones exist? Or, were they correct all along and now that Jindal and his consultant (and Fox News expert) John Bolton are directly disagreeing with the network, is it time for Fox to "unapologize"?
If Fox still believes the apologies were indeed warranted, will they remain vigilant in making certain that serious factual errors do not go unchallenged and uncorrected?
Who is right, Fox News or Bobby Jindal?
Who knows? But, I will be watching this Saturday?