In fact, Mr. Nasrallah’s speech was carried in its entirety, roughly an hour and eight minutes. The commentary that followed–a 13-minute phone interview with Wael Abou Faour, a member of Lebanon’s governing coalition–was indeed critical of Mr. Nasrallah. He accused the Hezbollah leader of not being anti-U.S. and anti-Israel enough. While Mr. Nasrallah had claimed Lebanon’s governing coalition was aligned with the U.S. and had backed Israel during the war last summer, Mr. Abou Faour said that Hezbollah was actually closer to the U.S and added that any Lebanese faction that assisted “the Israeli enemy” should not be allowed to engage in political discussion because “the only place they should be [is] in prison.”…
Unfortunately, there is no practicable way that Foggy Bottom, or anyone else for that matter, can effectively monitor Al-Hurra… The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the congressionally created independent panel charged with oversight, lacks the ability to conduct even basic auditing, as English transcripts are provided only on request–which rarely happens. Worse, there is no good channel for whistleblowers to communicate with the board without fear of retribution. With an annual budget now over $70 million, Al-Hurra has for three years served as the centerpiece of America’s aggressive post-9/11 courtship of the Arab world.
The problem with American public diplomacy is that there’s too much distrust in the Arab world. when we say that we’re kind of well-meaning and that we’d like to live in peace with them, they simply don’t believe us. So we suppose that Al-Hurra should be congratulated for finally finding fare that the Muslim world finds palatable. Minus the whole “vicious anti-Israel incitement” part. That part seems less optimism-inducing.
* Mad TV [WSJ]