CNN and Omit Firing of Middle East Senior Editor Nasr

July 8th, 2010 12:55 PM
[Update, 2:22 pm Eastern: put up an article on Nasr's "leaving" at 12:31 pm Eastern on Thursday, just before this item went up. H/t: NewsBusters reader johnny dollar.]

Both CNN and have punted on the firing of Octavia Nasr, the network's senior editor of Middle East affairs, after she mourned the death of Islamist cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, "one of Hezbollah's giants," to use her own phrase, on Twitter. None of CNN's on-air programming nor the website has mentioned her "leaving the company" since the news broke on Wednesday afternoon.

Mediaite's Steve Krakauer posted an item on Nasr at 3:38 pm on Wednesday which included the text of an internal memo from CNN International's Senior Vice President Parisa Khosravi which, as Hot Air's Ed Morrissey pointed out, "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, 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.
The senior editor acknowledged in the July 6 blog entry on that her Tweet was an "error of judgment" on her part, but then continued her eulogy of the deceased Hezbollah spiritual leader: "I used the words 'respect' and 'sad' because to me as a Middle Eastern woman, Fadlallah took a contrarian and pioneering stand among Shia clerics on woman's rights. He called for the abolition of the tribal system of 'honor killing.' He called the practice primitive and non-productive. He warned Muslim men that abuse of women was against Islam." Nasr did later qualify this by stating that "this does not mean I respected him for what else he did or said. Far from it....Sayyed Fadlallah. Revered across borders yet designated a terrorist. Not the kind of life to be commenting about in a brief tweet. It's something I deeply regret."

Other than the July 6 blog entry, a search of turned up no stories on the controversy over the senior editor's Tweet, nor her "leaving the company." In fact, as of 12:40 pm Eastern on Thursday, Nasr's bio still appears on the website.