A few days after “paint-balling with Hezbollah”, we get yet another exposé in an english language publication in which the themes of Hezbollah, entertainment and western journalists getting privileged access and bragging about it, are mixed together.
“Inside Hezbollah’s Terror Tech Museum”, published today in WIRE, (more colorfully republished in io9) is yet another piece in which the journalist (in this case Sharon Weinberger) tries to overcompensate for his access to Hezbollah by using the words “terror” and “terrorism” whenever he can. (Translation: Yes, I fraternized with Hezbollah but I still think they’re a bunch of baby killing monsters)
Everybody wins. Hezbollah plays the journalists, the journalists brag about their access and western readers get exotic photos and material to read.
Do I get anything out of the article? Yes: I find myself thinking that the amount of visitors to the Mleeta park is directly related to how popular Hezbollah is in the region. If only I could get statistics of visits, how they changed during key Hezbollah events, and how they are affected by the events in Syria.. (Thanks Azmi)
Patric Galey, a western journalist with an extensive Beirut experience (reporting for the Daily Star, a local newspaper with a Lebanese readership), explains western Journalists’ fascination with Hezbollah:
[“paint-balling with Hezbollah”] is in keeping with a long narrative of western gawping at Hezbollah. We’ve all done it. When I first arrived in Beirut I wrote excitedly that six days into my stay I’d had tea with party officials. I thought that was cool and, in a way, I suppose it was for someone fresh off the plane. But reporters learn and evolve. When you’ve gathered party sources and interviewed enough officials, you realize that, largely, Hezbollah is just like most political parties here; they just happen to have more rockets
Maybe “fresh off the plane” should be the standard way of dismissing writers who come up with such pieces..