Andrea Mitchell On PBS 'Washington Week': American Media Not Pro-Hezbollah Enough?

August 21st, 2006 11:20 AM

This past Friday, on PBS’s "Washington Week," NBC’s Andrea Mitchell noted that Hezbollah is winning the PR war around the world:

"And, I have to say, if you look at the mainstream media around the world everywhere other than in the United States, it is remarkably pro-Hezbollah. Hezbollah at this point is being described in most places now as a social service organization and a legitimate part of the Lebanese government, not as a terror group.

Was she critical of the world press for covering Hezbollah in this light, or critical of the American press for not being Hezbollah boosters? Her own comments about Hezbollah may provide some insight. As mentioned in Brent Baker’s July 18 CyberAlert, Mitchell praised Hezbollah as a group that provides social services and it’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, as a populist:

"...Hezbollah's charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has become Lebanon's best known and most controversial politician. A Shiite populist, Nasrallah provides social services where Lebanon's weak new government cannot, has ministers in the cabinet and operates militias."

In essence, it seems Mitchell is ridiculing the American media for not following her lead in how they report on Hezbollah. But, as Clay Waters noted on August 16 on Times Watch, "The New York Times" classified Hezbollah as a grassroots social service organization while omitting the terrorist label, disproving Mitchell's thesis that the American media is not pro-Hezbollah.

Mitchell offered further evidence of Hezbollah’s victory in the war, mentioning their humanitarian deeds:

"But when you really look at what’s happening on the ground, there is a vacuum and Hezbollah has moved into that vacuum. They were handing out $12,000 in cash per person today, money they get from Iran. As Tom Friedman, our friend and colleague pointed out, Iran has all of this money from its oil surpluses and this is the money that is being channeled to Hezbollah, going to the Lebanese and they are the visible presence on the ground, rebuilding Lebanon, actively rebuilding."

While neglecting to directly refer to Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and ignoring the fact that Hezbollah started the conflict with Israel by abducting Israeli soldiers, and she never mentions the tactics used by Hezbollah such as hiding among civilians, shielding Hezbollah from blame for the destruction caused in this war.

Finally, Mitchell attempts to portray the United States as too close an ally of Israel to be respected around the world:

"...and the net result is you have an Israeli government in disarray and a United States administration so identified with Israeli failure right now that it hurts the United States around the world."

There may be some around the world who are upset that the United States sided with Israel in the conflict. But, keep in mind, many nations and Europe and other regions of the world traditionally take sides against Israel. It’s never popular "around the world" when the United States sides with Israel, but just because it’s not popular to stand with Israel, does not mean it’s not right.