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January 13, 2011

Washington Post: Evading News of Lebanese Crisis

“Political crisis shakes Lebanon; Government falls as Hezbollah withdraws over U.N. investigation�? ran on page one in the January 13 edition of The Washington Post. It looked like a major news article, but errors of omission rendered it a pulp bagel — as much hole as bread.

Post foreign service correspondent Leila Fadel in Cairo and special correspondent Moe Ali Nayel in Beirut wrote the dispatch. Staff writers Joby Warrick in Qatar and Scott Wilson (former Jerusalem bureau chief, now White House reporter) in Washington contributed. It said:

1) “In 2006, Israel waged a devastating war in Lebanon, leveling much of the southern part of the country and the southern suburbs of Beirut.�? The Post provided no context. In reality, Israel attacked after the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Shi’ite “Party of God�? conducted lethal border infiltrations, the last killing three soldiers, capturing two and killing five more sent to rescue them, under cover of rocket bombardment of northern Israel. Beirut’s southern suburbs included Hezbollah headquarters.

2) “Lebanon has lived through a series of crises since [former prime minister Rafik] Hariri’s killing, including car bombings that targeted political leaders ....�? This fogged-filled word choice hides that fact that the public figures — including Pierre Gemayel, Gibran Tueni, Maj. Wissam Eido and Antoine Ghanem — assassinated following the 2005 car bomb murder of Hariri and 22 others were critics of Syria or investigators of Hezbollah.

3) “Hezbollah, an armed Shiite Muslim movement that also has a stake in the government, has turned to its arsenal before at delicate political times.�? One “delicate political time�? was the “sectarian fights in the streets in 2008, when Hezbollah showed its military might by taking over central Beirut briefly before standing down.�? More evasive language. Hezbollah shot its way to a larger role in government in fighting that killed about 100 people in non-Shi’ite neighborhoods. No mention that two U.N. Security Council resolutions call for the disarmament of all Lebanese militia and only Hezbollah refuses to comply.

4) The article refers to Hezbollah by name a dozen times, describing it as “a Shiite group�? and “an armed Shiite Muslim movement.�? It never informs readers that Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., Israeli, Canadian, British and Australian governments, among others.

What isn’t reported speaks nevertheless. It suggests Post inability or reluctance to cover the Lebanese crisis fully, though doing so would explain Israeli actions and expose, not just partially record, those of Hezbollah and its backers.

Posted by ER at January 13, 2011 06:09 PM


Can Israel crush Hezbollah if push comes to shove? I should think it would win Israel some grudging approval from Sunni Arab states.

Posted by: Robert Pool at January 13, 2011 07:03 PM

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