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Hume Misquoting Hezbollah Interview to Implicate Lebanon in Abduction of Israeli Soldiers

Reported by Janie - July 26, 2006 -

During last night's (7/25) "Special Report with Brit Hume", Hume spent a portion of his "Two Minutes of Hate" (AKA "Grapevine") segment telling his viewers that Hezbollah's actions were premeditated and detailed to Lebanese officials prior to the abduction of the Israeli soldiers. Unfortunately, Hume misquotes and distorts the interview with the Hezbollah official in order to implicate the Lebanese government.

Under the banner reading "What They Knew and When They Knew It", Hume explained:

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah says he told Lebanese officials that the only way to win the release of prisoners in Israeli jails was to abduct Israeli soldiers — days before Hezbollah captured two IDF troops.

The Middle East Media Research Institute reports Nasrallah told Al Jazeera last week, "I said that we would abduct Israeli soldiers in meetings with some of the main political leaders in the country," adding that those leaders supported the plan when he guaranteed it would hasten the prisoners' release.

Nasrallah says he was surprised the tactic backfired, saying he never expected Israel to launch a war over just two soldiers.

Hume is once again misquoting a source - one that he knows his viewers are not going to fact-check.

Hume makes it appear as though Nasarallah specifically told Lebanese leaders that they would be capturing Israeli soldiers, and that it was approved by said officials. According to the interview Hume is quoting - this is not the case.

"I told them on more than one occasion that we are serious about the prisoners issue and that this can only solved through the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. Of course, I used to make hints in that respect. Of course I would not be expected to tell them on the table I was going to kidnap Israeli soldiers in July. That could not be."

Also, Nasrallah does not say Lebanese leaders supported the plan. According to Nasrallah, "Nobody told me: no, you are not allowed to kidnap Israeli soldiers. I was not waiting for such a thing. Even if they told me no you are not allowed [nothing would change]."

No official saying "no" does not equate to saying "yes" as Hume is implying.

Nasrallah also does not say that the tactic "backfired". In fact, he says the exact opposite: "I assure you that our assessment was not wrong. I am not being stubborn. In the entire world, tell me about any state, any army, or any war that was waged because some people kidnapped two soldiers, or even took hostages, not military soldiers. Tell me about a war that was waged against a state because of two soldiers. This has never happened in history. Nor has Israel done it anytime before."

While Nasrallah may or not be telling the truth, Hume is using this particular interview as his source - and is wildly misstating what was said. Despite Hezbollah being the enemy, it is still proper to provide correct, unbiased information to the American people so they can decide their position on their own, without the spin provided by Hume. Unless of course, it was Hume's intention to disseminate propaganda.