While Western media will mostly acknowledge Hezbollah’s terrorist activities, Arab media tends to tell a different story, particularly in Lebanon.
The Daily Star, a Lebanese newspaper, is a prime example. A 2002 article in the Daily Star essentially reprinted a speech by Nasrallah verbatim without any analysis. Nasrallah stated, “Christian Zionists[want to]… redraw the world’s political map.”Badih Chayban, “Nasrallah Alleges ‘Christian Zionist’ Plot,” Daily Star, October 23, 2002, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2002/Oct-23/21779-nasrallah-alleges-christian-zionist-plot.ashx#axzz33cF0Jcty. He added the “U.S. empire” was “slithering” over the Middle East, but that the U.S. and Israel would lose their war against the Muslim world.Badih Chayban, “Nasrallah Alleges ‘Christian Zionist’ Plot,” Daily Star, October 23, 2002, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2002/Oct-23/21779-nasrallah-alleges-christian-zionist-plot.ashx#axzz33cF0Jcty.
The Daily Star’s coverage of Hezbollah could be colored by solidarity with Hezbollah’s goals and a general Lebanese aversion to Israel, or by Hezbollah’s proximity and fear of retribution. Evidence appears to support the former supposition. The paper picked up an Agence France-Presse report on July 29, 2014, that referred to Hezbollah as “a militant” group.“N. Korea Slams Reports of Arms Deals with Hamas, Hezbollah,” Agence France Presse, July 29, 2014, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/World/2014/Jul-29/265399-n-korea-slams-reports-of-arms-deals-with-hamas-hezbollah.ashx#axzz394t4Q764. The paper’s bias, however, is clear, as a report the day before, written by the Star and not a foreign press service, referred to Hezbollah as a “resistance group.”“Hezbollah Repels Syrian Rebel Attack on Border,” Daily Star, July 28, 2014, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2014/Jul-28/265317-hezbollah-repels-syrian-rebel-attack-on-border.ashx#axzz394t4Q764. The Star ran a 2013 report, also by Agence France-Presse, on al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, saying Hezbollah’s participation in Syria “exposed the ugly face of Hasan Nasrallah” and Hezbollah is just an “instrument” of Iran.“Qaeda Chief Says Syria Exposed Hezbollah as Iran Tool,” Agence France Presse, July 31, 2013, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/International/2013/Jul-31/225732-zawahri-vows-al-qaeda-to-free-guantanamo-inmates.ashx#axzz394t4Q764. Printing these reports without alteration suggests the newspaper does not fear retribution and, despite its own biases, does respect international news organizations. The 2013 piece offered no response from Hezbollah, demonstrating that the terror group does not censor the newspaper, proving the Daily Star’s ideological bent in its more positive coverage of Hezbollah.
When referencing Hezbollah, Al Jazeera uses terms such as “resistance” and occupation.” For example, after the EU’s 2013 decision to designate Hezbollah’s armed wing a terrorist group, Al Jazeera put quotation marks around the word “terrorists” in the headline. The article sought to explain the impact of the label and whether Hezbollah should be described as a terrorist or resistance group.Nour Samaha, “Hezbollah: The EU’s New ‘Terrorists,’” Al Jazeera, July 23, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/07/2013722184615907173.html. The author explained that “the movement was created as a resistance to the Israeli occupation in Lebanon…”Nour Samaha, “Hezbollah: The EU’s New ‘Terrorists,’” Al Jazeera, July 23, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/07/2013722184615907173.html.