I don’t blog much about events in Lebanon because I haven’t read enough about the country nor have I been there, but I just wanted to highlight an example of the New York Times‘ distorted coverage of the Middle East on an issue other than Israel/Palestine, where their reporting is usually quite bad.
In a piece on the WikiLeaks cables titled, “Leaked Cables Stir Resentment and Shrugs,” New York Times reporter Alan Cowell writes:
And in an age when years of diplomatic cables can be stored on a single flash drive, it appeared that WikiLeaks might not be alone: Al Akhbar, a Lebanese newspaper that supports the Shiite militant and political group Hezbollah, has been posting documents from eight Arab countries, including Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Libya.
As’ad Abu Khalil, a Lebanese-born analyst whose coverage of WikiLeaks and its revelations about the Arab world have been indispensable on his Angry Arab blog, says that the Times‘ description of Al Akhbar is far from accurate:
I should expect only ignorance and errors in the New York Times whenever any aspect of the Middle East is brought up. But the distortion–I strongly believe–is deliberate. This Al-Akhbar newspaper is a leftist newspaper founded by the leftist Joseph Samahah and led by the leftists Khalid Saghieh and Ibrahim Amin (the latter is a long time communist since his youth). Its main publisher is a secular businessperson who resides in London (Hasan Khalil). I have been to the paper numerous times and know many of the reporters and editors and I can honestly say that I know of no Hizbullah member and supporter there. I know that American journalists find it hard to believe that there are leftists in the Middle East, but they exist and they can produce a newspaper. I have repeatedly mocked Khumayni, Sistani, and Ahmadinajad in the newspaper. The paper is on the record for being the only Arab paper to ever support gender and homosexual rights. You think that Hizbullah is that open minded? Recently, I wrote that Hizbullah deputy-secretary general, Na`im Qasim, specializes in “scaring off children” when he appears on TV. Now don’t get me wrong, the paper fiercely supports resistance to Israel and thus supports Hizbullah’s stance against Israel. But the paper never supported Hizbullah ideology or domestic politics. If anything, it has been critical of them