Al-Dura Verdict: What Prognosis for Civil Society in France?

The press in France sought to emphasize the individual pathology of Merah. This, too, was false reporting. Vocal members of Merah’s own community hailed him as a hero of the “resistance.”

In the case of al-Dura, the media’s behavior is particularly distressing. Rather than investigate or even examine the evidence as any responsible news media should, journalists closed ranks around their beleaguered colleague, complaining that this criticism constituted an attack on the freedom of the press.

Instead of correcting himself, Enderlin -- with the help of state-owned France2 -- sued for defamation of character against private French citizens who had the temerity to publish against him on the internet.

The longest-lasting case, one taken to appeals court twice (once by Karsenty, once by Enderlin), was supposed to be decided this week.

On January 16, 2013, the two faced off in court for the fifth time. Karsenty decorticated several key France2 news programs, showing with raw footage how often Enderlin used visibly staged material to report the news, and demonstrated the dozen major ways the video evidence flatly contradicted the narrative.

Enderlin did not defend himself, but rather … showed the court the very news reports just revealed as based on fakes by Karsenty.

It was a stunning display of contempt for the intelligence of all present, in which he basically repeated his response to a challenge from journalist Esther Schapira: “This is the way I do a story … what’s your problem with that?”

The judges in the French Court of Appeals have the opportunity to make an important contribution to the health of their society. If they take issue with Enderlin’s unprofessional and damaging journalism and with his effort to exploit the courts to bully critics, then they can show both judicial and intellectual integrity.

In that case, expect the French media to either say as little as possible, or complain about the chill wind threatening their freedom.

But since the courts are deeply politicized -- both in the “old-boy networks” that sustained the anti-Dreyfus crowd in the face of the evidence a century ago, and in the political correctness that has paralyzed the ability of the French (and the West) to speak, even to think constructively about the challenges they face -- then they may well side with Enderlin on a technicality.

If the judges go this path, expect the media to trumpet the court’s confirmation that Israel did, indeed, kill the boy.

It’s hard to imagine something more culturally self-destructive. But there you have it -- an important tale from the still-young but deeply troubled 21st century.

Today the court, without explanation, announced that they were delaying the decision almost two more months, to May 22.

For those arguing that a politicized court would naturally side with state-owned and politically correct France2, this is unexpected, and -- I think -- good news, as a kangaroo court does not hesitate.