Postcard from... Paris
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Monday 28 July 2014
France has vanished. Disappeared. Disparu.
According to a map published by the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic Ocean extends to the beaches of Switzerland. Spain and Portugal share an island off the coast of North Africa. France does not exist (apart from Corsica), seemingly having disappeared into the water.
The map, which details the locations of a number of recent passenger plane crashes, was republished by Le Monde and numerous other French news organisations.
It has generated an avalanche of angry, wry or self-deprecating comments on French social media.
On Saturday, the Franceless map of the world was the most visited single item on the Le Monde website (more hits than the Gaza conflict or the Tour de France) and was also one of the most viewed items on a number of other websites.
“The LA Times is truly visionary,” observed lebeau gossedu28. “Considering the terrible situation our country is in, [this map] shows the future of France.”
Other commentators vented their spleen on the United States. “One wonders if these American journalists do it deliberately,” said patgeorge. “I would be quite happy to rub the United States off the map.”
A tweet from the LA Times graphics account apologised for the mistake, posting a picture of the fixed map and stating “Yes, we found France!” The tweet said a production error was the reason for the Franceless map and thanked everyone who had alerted them to the mistake.
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