I am feeling an unusual zen-like calm today so I am going to go easy on Mitchell Prothero and his latest piece for Foreign Policy magazine. As some of you may recall from last year, frat boy Mitch claimed he enjoyed the rare privilege of playing paintball with Hizbullah’s resistance fighters who barely make themselves known to Hizbullah’s political officials let alone the public at large and western journalists. Worth mentioning here is the level of discourse employed back then by Mitch and his friends who played paintball with him and the mythical Hizbullah fighters; in one response to my critique of his piece, Mitch’s friends joked publicly on Twitter that I should accompany them on a trip to Maameltein , an area in Lebanon that is notorious for its prostitution activity.
Once again, Mitch has managed to lift the clandestine movement’s veil of secrecy by chilling out and watching tv with a resistance commander no less. To quote from his piece: “It was with this — and the situation in Syria in mind — that I set off on a winter’s evening to watch the news with a couple of guys from Beirut’s Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs. One of them (we’ll call him Hassan) is a midlevel Hezbollah commander from a small village in the south. Hezbollah members aren’t really allowed to socialize with foreigners and don’t give interviews to the media. But Hassan and I have known each other for nearly five years…” You hear that people, this rabidly anti-Hizbullah, anti-Assad journo is tight with Hizbullah commanders and even dares to poke fun at their inability to drive from Downtown Beirut to neighbouring Hamra. Yes, Hassan, the commander is urbane and cosmopolitan enough to befriend a non-Arab speaking American journo but suffers such a severe form of Dahyeh-ghetto that he completely lacks “basic geographical knowledge” of one of the most familiar Muslim neighbourhoods in Beirut. So trusting of Mitch is Hassan that he even confides to him that he never trusted Assad until recently. That’s right, Hizbullah’s military commanders apparently don’t really trust the very government which provides them with indispensable weapons and secures their supply lines..
However, my real beef isn’t with Mitch at all to be honest, it’s with Foreign Policy magazine for publishing what is essentially a western freelancer’s short fantasy novel as a news feature story. But given western mainstream media’s unmatched professionalism, objectivity and balance, I am pretty confident Foreign Policy would eagerly publish a piece authored by an ardent anti-imperialist like myself on say, the personal anecdotes and political confessions the US Ambassador, Maura Connelly, shared with me over 4 cranberry Vodkas as we head-bopped to 90s hip hop blaring in the background of a trendy Hamra pub. I am sure FP would publish such a piece. I am even more confident of this considering that until 2008, FP was owned by the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, the US think tank from where I was fired/force to resign (call it what you will), because in contrast to the accurate reporting and academic or journalistic integrity of the likes of Mitchell Prothero, my work lacked “empirical evidence” and I appeared to be a “Hizbullah spokesperson” and an “Iranian government representative”.
The real question gnawing at me is how are we to ever believe anything mainstream media has to say any more about Syria or Hizbullah or Iran or Palestine or any oppressed nation on earth, when a respected news magazine like FP that is now owned by the Washington Post Company, and which has won several National Magazine Awards (the magazine equivalent of the Pulitzer prize), peddles such vulgar lies that are an affront to any sane person’s intelligence, which it then sells as objective and impartial news reporting?