David Kenner, a young, right-leaning journalist (and student) living in Beirut, comments on W. Thomas Smith's post at NRO last September claiming that several thousand Hezbollah gunmen had been "deployed to the Christian areas of Beirut":
Anyone with the slightest knowledge of Lebanon knows that these events didn't happen. So, who fed Mr. Smith this bogus news. According to him, they are "reliable sources within the Cedar Revolution movement, as well as insiders within the Lebanese national security apparatus." None of whom, apparently, are willing to go on the record. Mr. Smith says this is because they need to preserve their safety. Very well. Let me suggest a different explanation. There are plenty of people willing to feed a naive journalist fake news; there is nobody willing to risk their reputations by going on the record with blatant lies. If 4,000 - 5,000 Hezbollah foot soldiers really did deploy to Christian areas of Beirut in September, Lebanon would be tumbling over the precipice into civil war. Christian politicians and security experts would be screaming from the rooftops, not making off the record statements to one foreign journalist/blogger.
NRO promises that in the future it will provide more "context and caveats" in Smith's reporting. However, if Kenner is right, the question isn't context and caveats, it's whether or not Smith was just flatly wrong. I suspect other journalists in Beirut might be weighing in on this in the near future.
Via Andrew Sullivan.