I’ve been deemed a news junkie by family and friends for many years. In one seating, I’ll switch between CNN and Aljazeera while reading local news and news blogs online while getting alerts on my Blackberry for specific stories I’m following. Almost every day, another news media has showed its biased ways. This time around belonged to CNN.
Octavia Nasr has been with CNN for 20 years as the Middle Eastern Affairs Senior Editor. She was the reason behind CNN’s ability to report on Iran’s elections last year. She has always been the primary go to person for Rick Sanchez, Anderson Cooper and others on CNN whenever reporting on anything Middle East arose. The importance of her work and friendly demeanor has granted her a mass following on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
Last weekend, Nasr tweeted:
“Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot. #Lebanon”
That tweet has since been removed and replaced with:
“Regret tweet about Fadlallah death bc I didn’t explain specific respect for standing up for Muslim women. http://bit.ly/adrp95“
The link takes you to her CNN blog where Nasr not only explains why she had some “respect” for Fadlallah but also apologizes for her “error in judgement” when it came to her former tweet. However, that blog came in response to the anti-anything-pro-Arab-and/or-Muslim-without-any-form-of-understanding right winged fanatics who immediately bashed CNN over her “biased” tweet. They seem to have forgotten her work and contributions to the American and international media on the issues involving the Middle East. They also seem to have either forgotten or cared less to remember that Fadlallah was not part of Hezbollah. He was pushed out by the group for his “moderate” views and disagreement on many of their ideologies. Nasr’s feelings was simply in relation to the things they did agree on, especially when it came to women’s rights.
Of course, that doesn’t matter. Just like it doesn’t matter that the Lebanese people voted for Hezbollah in their parliament; the Palestinian people voted for Hamas to govern Gaza and are now suffering the consequences of acting upon their right to vote.
Personally, I don’t agree with either group or most of their ideologies. However, who am I to tell a people how to vote, how to believe, what to speak or what to think? The line between speaking your mind (with respect of course) and being politically correct has some how vanished.
The fact is, if we don’t like them, we deem them as terrorists and forbid anyone to think of them as otherwise. Yet if we like them, we deem them as friends and forbid anyone to think of them as otherwise. Now that’s what I call, “freedom of speech!”
According to CNN’s internal memo posted by Mediaite yesterday, it was agreed that Nasr is “to leave the company”. For CNN to advertise that they are a network that showcases all points of views, firing Nasr contradicts just that. To basically do to Nasr what Hearst did to Helen Thomas is absurd and simply stupid. Just like the Hearst lost me as a reader, CNN has lost me as a long time viewer.
Octavia Nasr’s Twitter Page
Salon – 8 July 2010
MEDIAite – 7 July 2010
NY Times – 7 July 2010
NY Times – 8 July 2010