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Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Longtime CNN editor fired for controversial Tweet



Another journalist has been fired for what was deemed an inappropriate Tweet, raising questions about the fine line journalists must walk between facts and opinions.

Octavia Nasr, a 20-year CNN veteran based in Atlanta, was fired Wednesday, July 7, from the television network after she Tweeted about her respect for a man whom the U.S. considers a terrorist, reported The New York Times and Reuters.

“Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot,” Nasr Tweeted after the death Sunday of the Shiite cleric the Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.

The Associated Press said Nasr has apologized for her Tweet, but CNN stood behind its decision, arguing her "credibility had been compromised."

Nasr's dismissal comes after an editor for National Geographic Brasil, Felipe Milanez, was fired in May for a Tweet critical of an article in the magazine Veja. Turns out, both Veja and National Geographic Brasil are published by the same media group.

Even as more and more journalists are using Twitter as a fast way to get out the latest news, earlier this year Reuters warned against breaking news via Twitter.

Just as Nasr was fired for Tweeting an opinion, other journalists, such as ex-Washington Post blogger David Weigel, also recently have lost their jobs for making their opinions known, according to The Atlantic.

Both The Atlantic and The New York Times point out the difficulty of maintaining the traditional journalism standards of objectivity in this age of social media, where nothing is private anymore.

Still, some, like TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, call for more opinion in the news. He writes, "I think journalists should have the right to express their opinions on the topics they cover. More importantly, I think readers have a right to know what those opinions are. Frankly, I’d like to know sooner rather than later just how insane some of these people at CNN and Fox News are. To stop them from giving me that information is just another way to lie to me."


Other Related Headlines:
» Twitter and the media: Can journalists speak their minds? (Knight Center)
» Octavia Nasr's firing and what the liberal media allows (The Salon)

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