France's Solution To Burning Cars Problem: Snuff The Story

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
france s solution to burning cars problem snuff the story

The ritual torching of cars has become a New Year’s tradition in France. Last New Year ’s Eve, 1,137 cars went up in flames in France, a tad less than the 1,147 set ablaze the year before. This year? We’ll never know.

This time around, “the French government is determined to stamp out these scenes of anarchy as part of its highly-publicized campaign against crime,” France24 announced. And that’s what they did, to great effect.

In addition to mobilizing 6,000 extra police officers (800 more than last year, and what good did that do,) France’s Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux instituted a news blackout. The number of torched cars will remain a secret. That, Hortefeux, is to stop the “unhealthy competition” which supposedly eggs on the perpetrators to set fire to more and more cars each year.

“I have decided to put an end to the competition, the sweepstakes, and will no longer publish the number of burnt vehicles,” Hortefeux said. “It is not to hide, but to disrupt a stupid contest that involves burning the cars of honest people.”

According to CNews, the numbers will be buried “as part of annual vandalism figures.”

And it works! No doubt, the French have upheld their tradition and torched now countless cars. But so far, not a single word in the press. Problem solved!

The black-out is so complete that when you google the news for “burning cars france”, you find this story.

Over in Germany, the situation was likewise under control. The German hot-spots for car torchings used to be Berlin and Hamburg. Zero reports of inflamed cars from Berlin. Hamburg reports six. A pretty regular day in a city that counted 140 smoldering cars last year.

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7 of 42 comments
  • Contrarian Contrarian on Jan 01, 2011

    There is a way to report what govts won't. It's the internet, which is exactly why Comrade O's FCC and China and other despotic socialist regimes are starting to heavily regulate it.

    • See 1 previous
    • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Jan 01, 2011
      Comrade O’s FCC and China and other despotic socialist regimes are starting to heavily regulate it. Actually, it is internet service providers who want to make changes in services provided based on fee structures, source/content. And they are all hard right profit over people types, you know the thought process that make the robber baron era great
  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jan 01, 2011

    What happens in France is indicative of what's happening everywhere. The media is cutting back on on-the-ground coverage and concentrating staff into aggregation centres around the world. It's especially bad in the developing world: no one's on the front lines and much of what you get is heresay until by chance it gets some interesting. Everything else is done by phone-jockeying in a hotel in the nearest major city (if you're lucky). Rather like auto journalism, actually. Governments know this, and the exploit it. So do multinationals, NGOs and extemists: they all know fifth estate is slacking off badly these days.

    • Geeber Geeber on Jan 03, 2011

      There is a huge difference between a national government actively suppressing information, which is what is happening in France, and old-line news organizations cutting back on reporting because of declining viewership or number of readers (which is what is happening in the U.S.). Information is still being circulated freely in the U.S. You don't have to read The New York Times or Newsweek regularly to get it.

  • Bancho Bancho on Jan 02, 2011

    I always thought the annual car-b-ques were a sort of backdoor "cash for clunkers" scheme...

  • Contrarian Contrarian on Jan 03, 2011

    "they all know fifth estate is slacking off badly these days." One thing we can agree on. But not surprising when most journalism schools are more like socialist revolution labs.