Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Who do our television channels think Nasrallah is? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Who’s Hassan Nasrallah for our news channels to interrupt their scheduled programming to broadcast his speeches that are full of inaccuracies and empty propaganda? For he is neither an elected leader nor a monarch, rather he is the chief of an armed militia that is no different than the Taliban. Nasrallah’s speech, which lasted about an hour, was full of misdirection, but included three major pieces of information or news.

Firstly, Nasrallah’s acknowledgement of the presence of Israeli spies within his group. Secondly, his support for the al-Assad regime that is brutally suppressing the defenseless people of Syria. Thirdly, his attack on Bahrain, which represented a loathsome example of sectarianism. Other than this, there was nothing of any news value in Nasrallah’s speech that justified our television channels interrupting their programming and exposing the viewer to such a massive dose of misleading propaganda. If there was a war in Lebanon, for example, such as the 2006 war with Israel that Hezbollah embroiled Lebanon in, then it would be understandable for our television channels to interrupt their programming; however for this to occur every time that Nasrallah reaches for the microphone is incomprehensible and unjustifiable.

All that Nasrallah’s speech deserves, with regards to television coverage, is nothing more than a news item containing these three important pieces of information i.e. his acknowledgement of the presence of Israeli spies in his organization, his support for al-Assad, and his attack on Bahrain. In addition to this, the television coverage should include information that scrutinizes and analyzes what Nasrallah said on these three issues. Other than this, there was nothing of any news values that would urge our television channels to broadcast all of the political mistakes and crude propaganda contained in Nasrallah’s speech, particularly as this speech began as if it were being issued by one of the Syrian regime’s “analysts.” This could be seen when Nasrallah called on the public not to focus on the issue of the spies [within Hezbollah] as much as the security achievements made by the organization? Is there anything more belittling than this?

Television is not like print journalism, for no respectable publication would provide a full transcript of Nasrallah’s speech, or indeed any other speech, unless this contained real news value. A newspaper might publish the full transcript of a speech on its website for the purposes of documentation or reference however the newspaper itself would only publish the most important pieces of the speech, along with analysis of what was said, including editorials also analyzing the speech.

What is strange is that western news channels, for example US news channels, would broadcast an entire 30-minute speech made by US President Barack Obama, and then spend around one hour analyzing this speech. This is not to mention the [US] publications, magazines, and internet websites that would take apart the speech over the next week. However our news channels interrupt their programming to broadcast Nasrallah’s hour-long speech – which is full of propaganda and inaccuracies – and then spend just 5 minutes analyzing it, if they even analyze it in the first place! Our television channels grant Nasrallah legitimacy, and a position that he does not deserve, and in this regard these television channels are no different than those Arab officials who go blind-folded to meet Nasrallah in some unknown cellar in the Beirut suburbs, and this is shameful!

When will our television channels respect the difference between covering the news of militia chiefs and covering the news of statesmen? When will they respect the difference between covering propaganda and reporting the news? When we say that Hezbollah is like the Taliban this is not an exaggeration, for Nasrallah said that he did not have any economic interests in banks in Lebanon due to the Islamic Shariaa law position on this issue; so what is the difference between him and the Taliban in this regard?

Therefore it is wrong for our television channels to contribute to the publication of Nasrallah’s misleading propaganda!