CNN dumps senior editor over Twitter eulogy of Hezbollah radical; Update: CNN says Nasr didn’t run Mideast coverage

posted at 5:15 pm on July 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

For the third time in the past few weeks, another media figure finds herself out of a job after comments about her personal perspectives on issues within her area of coverage got exposed.  The case of Octavia Nasr may be the most disturbing and the most revealing yet.  Unlike the scandals involving Helen Thomas or Dave Weigel, Nasr’s role as senior editor could seriously damage the credibility of a wide portion of a major media outlet’s coverage:

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.”

The memo from Parisa Khosravi, senior VP of their International unit, makes it clear that this was no resignation:

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.

Like Thomas, Nasr was not a new face in journalism.  She had twenty years with CNN.  Unlike Thomas, Nasr had a role that helped shape CNN’s overall news coverage of the Middle East.  As a senior editor that apparently reported to a senior VP, Nasr presumably had a hand in story selection, assignment, and editing and shaping the final product from her reporters.

Neither Thomas nor Weigel had anywhere near that kind of influence over news reporting at their respective outlets, which makes the credibility issue much more serious than in the previous two scandals.  After having outed herself as a Hezbollah sympathizer, which is certainly the rational conclusion of Nasr’s Twitter message and subsequent explanation, doesn’t CNN owe its viewers and readers a complete accounting of their coverage in the Middle East and a complete explanation of Nasr’s role  in it?

Furthermore, the very fact that she offered that message in a public forum speaks to Nasr’s odd conception of how Hezbollah should be presented.  It’s an Iranian proxy terrorist army, run and funded by the mullahs in Tehran.  Nasr seems to believe that the consensus opinion of CNN’s audience is that they are a heroic band of freedom fighters with an unfortunate bent towards misogyny.  If that was her worldview, shouldn’t CNN have known about that either before or after putting her in charge of the news reporting from the region?  It’s certainly good that we’re finding out about it now.

I suspect that Mary Katharine Ham was correct in her assertion during my show today that a lot of bloggers are going to start reviewing their notes about CNN coverage of Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, and the entire region in the context which Nasr’s messages reveal.

Update: Fixed some subject-pronoun agreement issues in the first paragraph.

Update II: You have to love this pushback from CNN, via the New York Times (h/t Jake Tapper):

Despite her senior editor title, Ms. Nasr did not run CNN’s Middle East coverage, a spokesman said. She reported and provided analysis about the region for CNN’s networks.

So why didn’t they call her a “senior correspondent” or “senior analyst”?  In journalism, the title “editor” means something specific — someone who provides management of the news.

Update III: On the other hand, Tapper tweeted that titles don’t necessarily connote responsibility in news orgs these days.  However, after 20 years at CNN, one might think the title of senior editor might be reflective of more than just her seniority, but we’ll see.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Wasn’t Condoleeza Rice friends with a Palestinian terrorist? The fact is that if you have personal contact with any of these people you will quickly forget that they are your (country’s) enemy.

aengus on July 7, 2010 at 5:22 PM

You misspelled Jimmy Carter’s name. It’s spelled J-I-M-M-Y C-A-R-T-E-R, not C-O-N-D-O-L-E-E-Z-A R-I-C-E.

You’re welcome.

SagebrushPuppet on July 7, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Wasn’t Condoleeza Rice friends with a Palestinian terrorist? The fact is that if you have personal contact with any of these people you will quickly forget that they are your (country’s) enemy.

aengus on July 7, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Are you serious? Just hang out with Hezbollah or Al Qaeda and their nutty terrorist ways will just fade into the background… yeah….

MikeknaJ on July 7, 2010 at 10:30 PM

Interesting,I guess she thought it was safe,to come
out,during The Great Radical Activists Show Your Colours
-2010 Socialists Parade!(sarc).

canopfor on July 7, 2010 at 10:33 PM

I still think it’s worse that Rick Sanchez is still still there…

Come on you know I’m right.

tetriskid on July 7, 2010 at 10:40 PM

So, a liberal just got caught being honest….saying what she really thought…is that so wrong?

ted c on July 7, 2010 at 10:44 PM

Haha

another vindication for Bush in the sense that his greatest detractors again expose themselves as sympathetic to scum that should be exterminated

the left sure loves them terrorists

me, I like seeing them die, horribly if possible

yes lib pos’s, some things are black and white

unfortunately our current extremely fallible administration has the same disease

I still can’t get over how Jews vote the wat they do

they love Billy yet he catered snd entertained yassar pig sheet Arafat in the white house

yet George wouldn’t have considered such an unwise and disgusting act

Sonosam on July 7, 2010 at 10:56 PM

I know this if off topic, but, Hot Air… could you please stop running ads for the despicable Tarryl Clark (D-MN)… she is smearing Michelle Bachmann with false charges all over Minnesota (just like here on your site)

On topic… its CNN, What’s new??

Arwen_Evenstar on July 7, 2010 at 11:20 PM

Muslims are feeling flush lately. She just thought it was safe to say what she did. She has served Islam well all the years that she spent blurring the reality of Islam. There are so many more in America advising those who attempt to lead you. Whole systems to flush.

BL@KBIRD on July 7, 2010 at 11:22 PM

So even in the structure of the news organisations words don’t mean anything?

Screw Jake Tapper. If she was the Senior Editor for Mideast Affairs, she was the Senior Editor for Mideast Affairs. Make CNN own the fact that they had someone who admired terrorists as their Senior Editor for Mideast Affairs.

Blarg the Destroyer on July 8, 2010 at 12:18 AM

CNN has been selling themselves (and their audience) out to tyrants and terrorists for years. The only real surprise would be if there are any left at CNN who actually, you know, report the news. As opposed to making it up.

iconoclast on July 8, 2010 at 1:16 AM

Tapper knows his industry is falling a part….

d1carter on July 8, 2010 at 1:40 AM

I would say “good for CNN” for doing the right thing, if I didn’t feel that they fired her because they felt they “had to”, instead of doing it because it was the right thing to do.

Sterling Holobyte on July 8, 2010 at 1:42 AM

There was a story on HA recently in which an industry inside suggested that we don’t know the half of how crazy-left most journalists are, and that when you get a couple martinis in these idiots you find out what they really think about global politics.

Wish I could find it but I can’t. Anyone remember the story or the context?

Jaibones on July 7, 2010 at 9:38 PM

I don’t remember exactly which post, but I believe it had something to do with the Helen Thomas story. And it might have been a link in the headlines here to a post on one of the National Review blogs – maybe the Corner?

RINO in Name Only on July 8, 2010 at 2:55 AM

CNN: the most busted name in news.

dthorny on July 8, 2010 at 5:34 AM

Nasr’s role as senior editor could seriously damage the credibility of a wide portion of a major media outlet’s coverage:

How? When they copped to paying bribes to Sadam and censoring their coverage of Iraq, specifically all the human rights violations, no one held CNN’s feet to the fire.

Blake on July 8, 2010 at 6:22 AM

Journalists breaking news about themselves.

RobCon on July 8, 2010 at 7:56 AM

In journalism, the title “editor” means something specific — someone who provides management of the news.

Actually the term editor, in journalism circles, has nothing to do with “news” and certainly not management of it; the broadcast media has abused the term editor in relation to their product: news. In reference, the editor or ‘to edit’ relates to the process of selecting and preparing language, images, sound, video, or film through processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications in various media (Courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editing).

On the other hand, Tapper tweeted that titles don’t necessarily connote responsibility in news orgs these days.

Titles in journalism news organizations absolutely do not reflect or connote responsibility; I strongly doubt Octavia Nasr pursued or conducted editing, at the senior or junior level. These broadcast media types use to use the title “Correspondent” for their journalism role and that more appropriately describes their function, far more so than editor…

IntheNet on July 8, 2010 at 8:08 AM

I’m confused– CNN fired someone for saying something positive about Hezbollah? Did they think she was talking about an Israeli?

morganfrost on July 8, 2010 at 8:22 AM

News ‘product’ .. hmmmm … any ‘product liability’ lawyers out there ??

/.

CaveatEmpty on July 8, 2010 at 8:54 AM

She will be on al jazerrah tv next week…

albill on July 8, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Her and her brother Donny used to have the best tv show.

johnnyU on July 8, 2010 at 9:15 AM

How? When they copped to paying bribes to Sadam and censoring their coverage of Iraq, specifically all the human rights violations, no one held CNN’s feet to the fire.

Blake on July 8, 2010 at 6:22 AM

Not sure how this translates, Blake, but look at the ratings. CNN has been in free fall for a couple years. No one watches them.

Jaibones on July 8, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Despite her senior editor title, Ms. Nasr did not run CNN’s Middle East coverage

next: “..despite his “CEO” title , Mr. Walton does not run CNN…”

runner on July 8, 2010 at 9:31 AM

I’m starting to appreciate Twitter. Them libs just can’t keep their pie holes shut. And the world is listening.

Coronagold on July 8, 2010 at 9:52 AM

I’m gonna miss Charles Manson when he passes. I always respected him a lot. He was a true intellectual who understood the world better than anyone.

Oh, is that wrong? LOL

jeffn21 on July 8, 2010 at 10:09 AM

UPDATE!!

So don’t bother going back and attributing any of our crappy coverage to her bent look on the world.

How much CNN went down the memory hole in the last few days?

BigWyo on July 8, 2010 at 10:15 AM

The odd thing to me is that this is even an issue being it’s CNN. We already know their political leanings (domestic/intl).

ctcb05 on July 8, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Here’s a new logo for them:

CNN

justltl on July 8, 2010 at 10:34 AM

. CNN has been in free fall for a couple years. No one watches them.

Jaibones on July 8, 2010 at 9:29 AM

To the contrary-polls show that the majority of CNN’s viewers ID themselves as Democrats.

Del Dolemonte on July 8, 2010 at 10:55 AM

I wonder what Ms. Nasr looks like in a burqa. Probably looks alot like Rosie O’Donell in a burqa….or for that matter, anyone in a burqa.

I wonder if the Hezbollah-Jihadi giant was aware that she had the hots for him.

BobMbx on July 8, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Tapper is a liberal, a pro-Israel liberal, but a totally committed liberal in ever other way. I would not put much faith in his assessment. Except of course when he called himself a whore over his coverage of Monica Lewinsky (he dished about their date). If a man says he’s a whore, who am I to argue and why should I think he’s changed and credible.

clnurnberg on July 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Helen Thomas .. now Octavia Nasr

It’s Global Warming I tell you …

If you look at this by example, it’s pretty obvious that rising CO2 levels have driven a large number of otherwise “sane” politicians, journalists and scientists to “madness.”

J_Crater on July 8, 2010 at 11:34 AM

I wonder what Ms. Nasr looks like in a burqa. Probably looks alot like Rosie O’Donell in a burqa….or for that matter, anyone in a burqa.

I wonder if the Hezbollah-Jihadi giant was aware that she had the hots for him.

BobMbx on July 8, 2010 at 10:56 AM

It’s very ironic you would write that considering why Ms. Nasr wrote that tweet. Did you read or understand the reason behind her remarks?

mycowardice on July 8, 2010 at 11:45 AM

this..is CNN

DrW on July 8, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Nasr. Anyone have a clue? I wonder how deep her affection for Richard al Speckr runs?

LarryG on July 8, 2010 at 12:27 PM

A terrorist symp analyst is just as bad IMO. That would be the person giving CNN’s editors and producers the background and information for their news items e. g., the Hezollah prospective.

OxyCon on July 8, 2010 at 12:46 PM

How many other moles reside within the editorial bowels of the CNN complex in Atlanta?

At least they did the correct thing by showing her the door.

FireBlogger on July 8, 2010 at 1:15 PM

So does this mean this bimbo is a Mamma Camel instead of a Mamma Grizzly? I’m trying to figure out the difference between a strong female standing up for Hezbollah and a strong female standing up against Obama — like, how can she *be* so stupid??? (Nasr being way-stoopid one, of course.) I think it must be something to do with heat-stroke and a dehydrated pea-brain.

NahnCee on July 8, 2010 at 1:52 PM

It’s very ironic you would write that considering why Ms. Nasr wrote that tweet. Did you read or understand the reason behind her remarks?

mycowardice on July 8, 2010 at 11:45 AM

She admired a leader of Hezbollah.

And that’s right up there with admiring Heinrich Himmler.

BobMbx on July 8, 2010 at 4:58 PM

“One of the Hezbollah giants I respect alot”

So he only one a group of murderers whom she respected. Will she provide a list the other giants?

BTW, I just read her “explanation” of why she respected him. He apparently was a contrarian….as contrarian as a muslim cleric can be and not lose his head. Says he advocated for better treatment of Muslim women, and cheered on 9/11.

“Muslim women need to be treated better…so they’re healthy when we stone them to death”

BobMbx on July 8, 2010 at 5:10 PM

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