CNN Editor Fired After Admitting On Twitter That She Has An Opinion*

Octavia Nasr

Photo: CNN

The pretense that any journalism is perfectly “objective” is already silly. But the new practice of canning any journalist who admits that he or she has an opinion (and, therefore, might be just like everyone else) has already gotten out of hand.

It’s one thing to require journalists to be fair and not to have an axe to grind. It’s another to pretend that news is just a gigantic human-powered search engine and that the perfect journalist would be an algorithm.

(To be clear: We’re not fans of terrorist organisations. But believing that some members of terrorist organisations might have some redeeming qualities doesn’t seem to be such an extremist view that those who hold it need to be eradicated.)

Brian Stelter, NYT:

CNN on Wednesday removed its senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs, Octavia Nasr, from her job after she published a Twitter message saying that she respected the Shiite cleric the Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who died on Sunday.

Ms. Nasr left her CNN office in Atlanta on Wednesday. Parisa Khosravi, the senior vice president for CNN International Newsgathering, said in an internal memorandum that she “had a conversation” with Ms. Nasr on Wednesday morning and that “we have decided that she will be leaving the company.”

Ms. Nasr, a 20-year veteran of CNN, wrote on Twitter after the cleric died on Sunday, “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”

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* UPDATE: After reading some readers’ thoughts on this, I’m coming around to the idea that this particular firing may have been warranted. Not because Nasr expressed an opinion, but because she was implicitly expressing support for a fellow who advocates terrorism as a way to advance your cause.  I gather the cleric in question was “liberal” with respect to relative views on women in society, and perhaps that’s what Nasr respected. But if so she should have instantly clarified that.

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