International news network CNN has been been widely castigated for its swift sacking of veteran journalist Octavia Nasr over a 19-word statement on twitter expressing respect for a late Lebanese Shiite cleric.
Slate media columnist Jack Shafer says: “That CNN walked Nasr off the plank because she expressed a smidgeon of ‘respect’ for a Hezbollah-supporting cleric in a tweet speaks of cowardice.”
Salon’s Glenn Greenwood accuses CNN of capitulating to right-wing and “neocon” pressure. He cites a list of similar cases going back to Peter Arnett and says they illustrate how the myth of the “liberal media” in America is used to silence and pressure journalists who criticise the Right:
What each of these firing offenses have in common is that they angered and offended the neocon Right. Isn’t that a strange dynamic for the supposedly Liberal Media: the only viewpoint-based firings of journalists are ones where the journalist breaches neoconservative orthodoxy? Have there ever been any viewpoint-based firings of establishment journalists by The Liberal Media because of comments which offended liberals? None that I can recall.
Take note of this debate if you care about the future of journalism and the kind of news you’ll be consuming in the future. If current trends continue, thinking journalists might soon be as rare as Javan rhinos.