See also: CNN Senior Editor Fired For A Tweet
Journalists are being fired for saying what they think while politicians on the Left and Right are being allowed to get away without being questioned
Freedom of speech may be part of the United States Constitution but perhaps the First Amendment that enshrines it could do with a caveat or two being added.
Congress may make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”, the Bill of Rights lays down. That still holds true but, increasingly, speaking freely can get you fired or tarred for life.
Even more ominously, the internet and the increased ease of free communication is allowing the cannier politicians to escape scrutiny rather than be held to account.
Ironically, it is the mainstream media itself that is on the attack against press freedom. Last week, Octavia Nasr, a Lebanese Christian who was CNN’s Senior Editor for Arab Affairs, was summarily fired after 20 years for tweeting that she was “sad” about the death of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, describing him as “one of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot”.
We can debate the wisdom of that statement and question whether respect was what Fadlallah, who praised Palestinian “martyrdom operations” and was acclaimed as the spiritual leader of a group whose hands are drenched in blood, really deserved.
But Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government and Nasr’s sentiments are shared by millions in the Middle East. Her opinion was considerably milder than the gushing praise for Fadlallah from the British ambassador to Lebanon. Firing her for expressing it was boneheaded and killed any chance of intelligent discussion.
Dave Weigel, a Washington Post blogger, has also found himself out of a job after his colourful venting about conservatives in a private email group was maliciously leaked. Now, even the private opinions of journalists are grounds for dismissal? Reporters have to blog and tweet and show edge and attitude and be controversial – except when it becomes uncomfortable.
General Stanley McChrystal, a legendary Special Forces officer and the man who President Barack Obama had chosen to win the war in Afghanistan, is now spending his time on long walks in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
Why? Because of the idiotic utterances of some of his junior aides when they got stuck in Paris within earshot of a Rolling Stone reporter who wanted to make a name for himself. Continue reading »