CNN fires veteran Mideast editor over tweet on respect for Fadlallah

By Reuters Staff
July 9, 2010

fadlallah picCNN has fired a senior editor for Middle East news after she published a Twitter message that said she respected a Lebanese Shi’ite cleric branded a terrorist by the United States, U.S. and British media said on Thursday. The Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, one of Shi’ite Islam’s highest religious authorities and an early mentor of the militant group Hezbollah, died in Beirut on Sunday.

(Photo: Supporters of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah hold posters after his death in Beirut, July 4, 2010/Khalil Hassan)

Octavia Nasr, a 20-year CNN veteran based in Atlanta, wrote on Twitter: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Some supporters of Israel saw the Twitter posting almost immediately and took issue with it, the New York Times said.

The Times cited Parisa Khosravi, the senior vice president for CNN International Newsgathering, as saying in an internal memorandum that she “had a conversation” with Nasr and that “we have decided that she will be leaving the company.”

Nasr tried to explain the tweet in a CNN blog post, saying:  “Reaction to my tweet was immediate, overwhelming and a provides a good lesson on why 140 characters should not be used to comment on controversial or sensitive issues, especially those dealing with the Middle East.  It was an error of judgment for me to write such a simplistic comment and I’m sorry because it conveyed that I supported Fadlallah’s life’s work. That’s not the case at all.”

Read the full story here.

What do you think? Was it right for CNN to fire Nasr over a tweet?

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One comment

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In a supposedly democratic society that values the freedom of speech and supposedly protects those rights in the constitution, it deplorable that she lost her job as a result.
I am not agree with her view, but I would fight with all my heart to protect her right to say it.
Another example Political correctness going too far and the knee jerk reaction of those in power.
CNN has lost much credibility over the years, and this in another example that drives me to get my “unbiased” news elsewhere.

Posted by billwhite | Report as abusive