For those who have been enjoying the weekend, and spent the Valentine away from any cable TV or online media, you should know that the long awaited Lebanese government has been formed after 11 months of debate between political fractions. A lot of people were not satisfied by the new formed government and March 14 supporters cursed their political leaders for sitting on the same table with Hizbullah ministers, and the supporters of March 8 blamed their leaders for accepting controversial images such as former ISF General Director Achraf Rifi. Most of the public were dissatisfied and then came the Lebanese political leaders speeches: Gemayel, Aoun, Hariri and Nasrallah addressed their supporters trying to convince them why this government was the best between what was on the table, and then came the media’s role. The Lebanese media automatically launched “mind washing” content to convince the Lebanese with the choices their political leaders made (of course, each media outlet talks to its own public). Some of the content was soft and some of it was straight to the point justifying the actions of each political fragment.
The epic failure was with today’s (Monday Feb. 17th, 2014) op-ed by Al Akhbar Newspaper Editor in Chief Ibrahim Al Amine titled “Hizbullah leadership represents me“. It is very known that Al Akhbar supports Hizbullah and rarely (if ever) criticizes the party’s political or military actions, it is also speculated that Al Akhbar gets financial support from Hizbullah or its affiliated organizations (not proven of course). Many of Al Akhbar staff support March 8, and more than a dozen of ex-employees have left the corporation after the rise of the Syrian revolution and their declared support for it. All of the above are proves of a biased, one sided version of the truth/facts that Al Akhbar pushed on daily basis for its readers, but when its Editor in Chief writes such an article, it leaves no doubt that this is not an opinion making newspaper but rather a propaganda machine. No one is denying the right of Mr. Al Amine to have a political view and expressing it, but certainly people will rise question marks when he openly uses his newspaper to promote for a political party’s ideology. Journalism does not mean you do not have an opinion, but also doesn’t mean that you have the right to brain wash people. No one is saying that the other editors in chief of the Lebanese newspapers are any better, or that they are not politically affiliated or do not express political opinions but at least they keep a thin line between what is in their hearts and what they say bluntly. We are not sure if a New York Time or Washington Post op-ed with the title of “Barack Obama is the Solution’ before the US presidential elections would be considered a professional article, it may happen but certainly not from an editor of chief who’s paper is being accused of being funded by the Obama campaign.
So a call for all these journalists and editors who support political parties in Lebanon and use their presence in the media sphere to push for their ideologies with no respect for journalistic values or ethics, please quit this profession and join your political parties, you will serve them and us much better with the pay checks you are getting.