British Ambassador Mourns Hezbollah Leader
BY John Noonan
July 8, 2010 10:15 AM
While CNN was busy firing senior editor for Middle East affairs Octavia Nasr for tweeting niceties about Hezbollah's recently deceased spiritual leader, another effusive tribute to terrorist Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah seeped out into cyberspace -- this one coming from, shockingly enough, the British Ambassador to Lebanon. Said Ambassador Frances Guy of Fadlallah:
One of the privileges of being a diplomat is the people you meet; great and small, passionate and furious. People in Lebanon like to ask me which politician I admire most. It is an unfair question, obviously, and many are seeking to make a political response of their own. I usually avoid answering by referring to those I enjoy meeting the most and those that impress me the most. Until yesterday my preferred answer was to refer to Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, head of the Shia clergy in Lebanon and much admired leader of many Shia muslims throughout the world. When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person. That for me is the real effect of a true man of religion; leaving an impact on everyone he meets, no matter what their faith....
The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints.
"Reach out across faiths?" That's one way of putting it. As Daniel Halper noted Monday, Fadallah was the religious leader who interpreted the Koran to provide justification for suicide bombings. He was believed to be responsible for the deaths of 241 Marines and 58 French paratroopers in the 1983 Lebanon bombings, denied the Holocaust, and--with his venomous rhetoric--fueled a decades-long conflict that claimed the lives of countless Israeli lives.
To say that it's deeply unprofessional and wholly inappropriate for a representative of the British government--a close ally of the U.S. and France, plus a supposed friend of Israel--to be publicly honoring Fadallah is a gross understatement.
CNN and CNN.com Omit Firing of Middle East Senior Editor Nasr
By Matthew Balan (Bio | Archive)
Thu, 07/08/2010 - 12:55 ET
Both CNN and CNN.com 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 about Nasr 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:"
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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.
The senior editor acknowledged in the July 6 blog entry on CNN.com 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 CNN.com 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.
—Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Russian bomber incursions
Russia is continuing to fly strategic nuclear bombers near U.S. and Canadian airspace because the Russian military is seeking to maintain "the illusion of power," the commander of the U.S. Northern Command says.
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