The New York Times was mocked Tuesday for a piece that romanticized efforts by militant group Hezbollah to help spread holiday cheer.
While Hezbollah has been described as an Iranian-backed terrorist organization, the Times' World section sent out the following tweet:
“Even Hezbollah, the Shiite political movement and militia that the United States has branded a terrorist organization, has helped ring in the season in previous years, importing a Santa to Beirut’s southern suburbs to distribute gifts.”
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor wrote that the Times “does the bidding of murderous Hezbollah cowards.”
Hezbollah was formed in the early-1980s as part of an Iranian effort to counter the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon during that country’s brutal civil war. The U.S. has designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization since the State Department list was created in 1997.
The Times' tweet linked to a feature story headlined, “Christmas in Lebanon: ‘Jesus Isn’t Only for the Christians,’” that referred to Hezbollah as “the Shiite political movement and militia that the United States has branded a terrorist organization.” The piece noted that Hezbollah representatives attended a recent Iranian Christmas concert and has helped ring in the holiday season.
“These demonstrations of Christmas spirit seem intended, analysts said, to demonstrate Hezbollah’s inclusivity as a major political and military force in Lebanese society and to highlight its political alliances with Christian parties,” the paper wrote.
“This is a new low,” geopolitical analyst Jason Buttrill tweeted. “Hezbollah was Al Qaeda before there was AQ. They were ISIS before there was ISIS. They kidnapped and murdered the CIA station chief in Beirut. Killed over 200 Marines that same year. And kidnapped journalists and pastors.”
Conservative Review reporter Jordan Schachtel wrote, “Oh just the New York Time trumpeting Hezbollah propaganda on Christmas.”
The Times' tweet was slammed with replies that mocked the paper for the piece.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said tunnels recently dug into Israel by Hezbollah present a great danger to his country. Israel says the tunnels were built by Hezbollah militants to carry out attacks on Israeli civilians and try to conquer its northern tip.
The Associated Press and Fox News' Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.