Veteran CNN Editor Fired After Tweeting About Hezbollah Mentor

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Photo: CNN

CNN announced Wednesday it is removing Octavia Nasr, its senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs and a twenty-year veteran of the network, after she posted a tweet in which she expressed her “respect” for Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who died Sunday. Fadlallah was a frequent critic of Israel and the U.S., supporting suicide bombings against Israel’s civilians, and his teachings and writings influenced the founders of Hezbollah. After Nasr’s tweet — which said “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot” — supporters of Israel immediately declared their outrage, with one website asking if Nasr was a “Hezbollah sympathizer.”

CNN issued a statement Tuesday saying that the tweet represented an “error of judgment” on Nasr’s part, and that the network regretted “any offense her Twitter message caused.” Nasr deleted the tweet and also wrote a blog post Tuesday night in which she made clear that she did not support “Fadlallah’s life work.” Wednesday, however, CNN made the decision to fire Nasr: Parisa Khosravi, the senior vice-president for CNN International Newsgathering, wrote in an internal memo, “At this point, we believe that [Nasr’s] credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward.”

CNN Drops Editor After Hezbollah Comments [Media Decoder/NYT]