Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Elder gets results (maybe)

Mediaite reports that Octavia Nasr is leaving CNN:

In the latest case of new media (or oversharing) gone wrong, CNN’s Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs Octavia Nasr is leaving the company following the controversy caused by her tweet in praise of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah

Mediaite has the internal memo, which says “we believe that her credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised.”

Nasr tweeted this weekend: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”

After a blog post expanding on her position, CNN promised the issue was “serious” and would “be dealt with accordingly.” That’s apparently her exit from CNN. Here’s an internal memo obtained by Mediaite:

From Parisa Khosravi – SVP CNN International Newsgathering

I had a conversation with Octavia this morning and I want to share with you that we have decided that she will be leaving the company. As you know, her tweet over the weekend created a wide reaction. As she has stated in her blog on CNN.com, she fully accepts that she should not have made such a simplistic comment without any context whatsoever. However, at this point, we believe that her credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward.

As a colleague and friend we’re going to miss seeing Octavia everyday. She has been an extremely dedicated and committed part of our team. We thank Octavia for all of her hard work and we certainly wish her all the best.
My posting about the tweet(at 6:49 AM EDT Sunday) may have been the first one from a blog about this, after a tip from DeJerusalem via email. (Backspin also gave DeJerusalem a hat tip a couple of hours later.)

That's two high-profile people I helped to get fired this year for their impolitic comments and activities.

The thing is, getting people fired is not at all a goal. Changing real attitudes is. HRW has not changed a bit in the wake of the Garlasco affair - they simply were practicing damage control. (In fact, Garlasco seems to have been among the least problematic of HRW's employees.)

CNN at least seems to have acted responsibly in quickly addressing the issue. We don't know if CNN would have acted that way had they become aware of Nasr's tweet without the publicity. That would indicate whether this was a case of truly keeping CNN as objective as possible or of simply keeping up the appearance that it is so.

(Richard Landes and The Augean Stables reviews Nasr's on-air, anti-Israel career.)