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Friday, July 09, 2010

Hezbollah upset at Octavia Nasr's removal

From AP:
The Lebanese militant Hezbollah has denounced CNN's decision to fire a Middle East editor for posting a note on Twitter expressing admiration for the country's late top Shiite cleric.

Octavia Nasr later apologized for her tweet in which she described Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah as "one of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." But CNN officials said her credibility had been compromised.

Hezbollah's spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi says CNN's decision amounts to "intellectual terrorism" and reflects the West's "double standards" in dealing with the Mideast.

He said in a statement issued on Friday that the decision to fire Nasr - a Lebanese who worked for CNN for two decades - exposes America's false claims regarding freedom of expression.
Our liberal friends at Hezbollah are concerned about freedom of expression!

Why, it seems only a few years ago that they were making sure that journalists in Lebanon were only reporting what Hezbollah allowed them to:

...One senior British journalist last week let slip how the news media allows its Mideast coverage to be distorted.

“CNN senior international correspondent” Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon was stage-managed from start to finish by Hizbullah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hizbullah’s “press officer” and that Hizbullah have “very, very sophisticated and slick media operations.”

When pressed a few days later about his reporting on the CNN program “Reliable Sources,” Robertson acknowledged that Hizbullah militants had instructed the CNN camera team where and what to film. Hizbullah “had control of the situation,” Robertson said. “They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath.”

Robertson added that Hizbullah has “very, very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny journalists access into those areas. You don’t get in there without their permission. We didn’t have enough time to see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hizbullah fighter by night.”

Yet “Reliable Sources,” presented by Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz, is broadcast only on the American version of CNN. So CNN International viewers around the world will not have had the opportunity to learn from CNN’s “Senior international correspondent” that the pictures they saw from Beirut were carefully selected for them by Hizbullah.

Another journalist let the cat out of the bag last week. Writing on his blog while reporting from southern Lebanon, Time magazine contributor Christopher Allbritton, casually mentioned in the middle of a posting: “To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I’m loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist’s passport, and they’ve already hassled a number of us and threatened one.”

Robertson is not the only foreign journalist to have misled viewers with selected footage from Beirut. NBC’s Richard Engel, CBS’s Elizabeth Palmer, and a host of European and other networks, were also taken around the damaged areas by Hizbullah minders. Palmer commented on her report that “Hizbullah is also determined that outsiders will only see what it wants them to see.”
Hmm. Hezbollah is very protective of its image and threatens those who report anything different from the official Hezbollah narrative. They carefully watch journalists' reports and retaliate against those who don't toe the line, and they reward journalists who do their bidding.

And Hezbollah is upset that Octavia Nasr no longer works for CNN.

What does that say about Nasr's objectivity?