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JAD_333
21 Aug 10,, 20:11
Should CNN have fired her?


Octavia Nasr’s blunder: When a tweet gets you fired
July 8th, 2010 by Natasha

Octavia Nasr's tweet

As many of you have heard by now: CNN Senior Middle East correspondent Octavia Nasr has been fired over one single tweet. The 140 (or less) word burst said the following:

“Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot. #Lebanon”.

The tweet resulted in a public outcry with some accusing her of being a sympathizer of an group viewed by many in the US as a “terrorist” organization. CNN acted swiftly to the controversy by firing Nasr.

What a sad way to end the career of a veteran journalist liker her! Nasr and I exchanged a few “tweets” over the past months, and I highly admired her. I saw her as a passionate, hard-working journalist. She represented the best of Arabs. Unfortunately, she made a mistake by voicing her own opinion while working as journalist and representing CNN. In fact, her twitter user name was “octavianasrcnn,” which made it clear that her views were linked to CNN.

As a trained journalist myself, I regard what she did as an error in judgment. She must have gotten so carried away with all the Twitter excitement (which includes crowdsourcing and direct, personal interaction) that she forgot to abide by the fairly rigid rules of mainstream media. Journalists are not supposed to air their personal opinions when they present themselves as part of a news organization. There is no question about that. You will never be viewed as a balanced reporter when you publicly express your opinion, especially about a hot political issue like that of Hezbulah.

Nasr recognized her mistake and issued an apology, which I thought was the right thing to do.

However, this was not enough for CNN and they simply let her go. It’s disappointing. If I was her boss and I had to make the decision, I would have given her a warning and asked her to issue a public apology. Sacking her seems a bit excessive, especially for someone who has been working for the organization for two decades and has given so much. Why not give her a second chance?

In addition to putting the word “Hezoballa” and “Respect” in one sentence, Nasr has also made another mistake: she forgot – or chose to forget – the sad reality of the world we are living in, where there are many watching and waiting for public figures to make mistakes. Those of Arab/Middle Eastern backgrounds are scrutinized more than others. At least that is how things look these days. Think Helen Thomas, who made a similar mistake. Thomas shouldn’t have said what she said. It was unacceptable. Thomas also forgot today’s sad reality. Scrutiny is the name of the game. Forgiveness is no longer an option.

As a writer and a trained reporter from an Arab background I’m completely aware of this scrutiny. I remember when I first moved to the US and was looking for a job; a number of potential employers questioned my ethics as a reporter and asked me bluntly if I would be able to report on issues, like the Palestinian-Israeli topic for example, in a fair and balanced manner. They immediately assumed that I would be biased.

This sense of scrutiny follows me most of the time, so much so that I will likely write at least two or three drafts of this simple blog post to make sure I don’t make a public blunder. It’s sad and frustrating, but there is nothing much I can do about it.

Twitter or not, never forget to stick with basic ethics and make sound judgments, because yes, forgiveness is no longer an option.

Mental Mayhem (http://www.mentalmayhem.org/)

bigross86
21 Aug 10,, 20:38
She was rightfully shown to the door. CNN already has a bad reputation in the Middle East, especially in Israel, and something like this did them more harm than good. She was stupid enough to tweet with a CNN related username, she's stupid enough to get fired.

rj1
23 Aug 10,, 16:20
I don't get the point of Twitter. It just leads to stupid, ill-thought out bullsh*t more often than not.

bigross86
23 Aug 10,, 16:25
It's the newest way to yell "Look at me!" without yelling "Look at me!"

crooks
23 Aug 10,, 18:50
Yikes, serious faux-pas alright. It's amazing that any journalist covering the situation for that long can't imagine what's going to happen with a sentence like that, even off the cuff.

gunnut
23 Aug 10,, 18:55
She's lucky she's only fired. A cosmetic surgeon in California died because of twitter. He was posting a picture he just took of his dog on a hill in Malibu and a short description on twitter while driving on the twisty roads in the hills. If you don't know, Malibu is famous for the picturesque scenery. Picturesque means hilly and twisty roads. He drove right off the road and into the canyon below. Luckily the dog suffered only minor injuries.

Genosaurer
23 Aug 10,, 19:20
It's not the fact that she accidentally slipped and showed the rest of us a serious personal bias. While what she said is bad enough, the real issue I see here is that CNN employed her as a Mideast correspondent for twenty years while she held such views, and would presumably have had no problem keeping her on if it hadn't become public knowledge and forced their hand.

tim52
24 Aug 10,, 13:59
Should CNN have fired her?


In a word no. A public apology and a reprimand from CNN should have been sufficient. Unfortunately as the writer of the piece said "Scrutiny is the name of the game. Forgiveness is no longer an option"

This applies to both those on the left and the right. Consider the case of Trent Lott being forced to resign following racially charged comments regarding Strom Thurmond's presidential candidacy.

The unfortunate thing is that none of us really knows what Ms. Nasr was thinking when she wrote "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot. #Lebanon”.

In my opinion there is all too often a rush to judgment, particularly when someone expresses a view that runs counter to the accepted norm of the group or organization or audience one is addressing.

We see the word Hezbulah and any comment or opinion that does not automatically condemn anyone or anything associated with it is then suspect of being sympathetic towards terrorism.

A good journalist must of necessity develop a certain amount of rapport with those they interview, and in that context it is often possible to find positive qualities in the person being interviewed even if the journalist does not share their same worldview.

From the little I know of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, based on a wikipedia search he was a highly educated, intelligent, articulate and accomplished individual, who while considered the spiritual leader of Hezbollah, also condemned the September 11 attacks in the United States as acts of terror.

I learned long ago the world is not black and white but varying shades of grey. Unfortunately we live in a world of 24 hour news channels and talking heads trying to package complex issues into 30 second sound bytes.

kuku
24 Aug 10,, 14:29
Twitter, really?
What would be the military equivalent of this? A soldier posting his/her current location while on some top secret mission.

JAD_333
24 Aug 10,, 15:21
In a word no. A public apology and a reprimand from CNN should have been sufficient. Unfortunately as the writer of the piece said "Scrutiny is the name of the game. Forgiveness is no longer an option"

This applies to both those on the left and the right. Consider the case of Trent Lott being forced to resign following racially charged comments regarding Strom Thurmond's presidential candidacy.

The unfortunate thing is that none of us really knows what Ms. Nasr was thinking when she wrote "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot. #Lebanon”.

In my opinion there is all too often a rush to judgment, particularly when someone expresses a view that runs counter to the accepted norm of the group or organization or audience one is addressing.

We see the word Hezbulah and any comment or opinion that does not automatically condemn anyone or anything associated with it is then suspect of being sympathetic towards terrorism.

A good journalist must of necessity develop a certain amount of rapport with those they interview, and in that context it is often possible to find positive qualities in the person being interviewed even if the journalist does not share their same worldview.

From the little I know of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, based on a wikipedia search he was a highly educated, intelligent, articulate and accomplished individual, who while considered the spiritual leader of Hezbollah, also condemned the September 11 attacks in the United States as acts of terror.

I learned long ago the world is not black and white but varying shades of grey. Unfortunately we live in a world of 24 hour news channels and talking heads trying to package complex issues into 30 second sound bytes.

Tim:

Your Trent Lott analogy is a little off. Altogether you make some good points. The thing is, a major news organization depends on the public's perception of its credibility. Any bias expressed on the public record by one of its journalists is pretty much death for its credibility.

On top of that, anything to do with terror groups is super sensitive. The old man may have been a hero to Hezbolah, but he belonged to a group the US designates a terrorist organization. CNN is a US media outlet. It can't afford to appear sympathetic to a terror group. CNN had to act swiftly to preserve its reputation for unbiased reporting. Whether it is truly unbiased is another subject.

tim52
24 Aug 10,, 15:49
Tim:

The thing is, a major news organization depends on the public's perception of its credibility. Any bias expressed on the public record by one of its journalists is pretty much death for its credibility.

Oh well, that pretty much takes out Fox, MSNBC and CNN and don’t get me started on the newspapers. I guess that pretty much leaves us with the National Enquirer to provide unbiased coverage of the day’s events. :biggrin:

USSWisconsin
24 Aug 10,, 17:47
I've come to beleive that these news agencies are like drug pushers, doing what ever works to get people hooked, shocking news works best, truth is only used when absolutely necessary, sponsors are considered before accuracy, real news is often supressed to suite a variety of overseers, corporate and goverment. If something happens in the news, the whole story will come out later, these breaking news stories are just dope for the news junkies. The days of Walter Cronkite like reporting are history.

gunnut
25 Aug 10,, 01:03
Oh well, that pretty much takes out Fox, MSNBC and CNN and don’t get me started on the newspapers. I guess that pretty much leaves us with the National Enquirer to provide unbiased coverage of the day’s events. :biggrin:

You forgot ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS, all leftist organizations, and one of them is funded by tax dollars.

highsea
25 Aug 10,, 02:12
I don't get the point of Twitter. It just leads to stupid, ill-thought out bullsh*t more often than not.Twitter is the Internet equivalent of the pager. I hated them then, and I still hate them now.

It's like the cell phone companies trying to get you to watch movies on your smart phone. Who the hell wants to see a movie on a 4" screen? That's why we buy 52" flat screen tv's. :cool:

CNN shouldn't have fired her. They should have just admitted that they admire Hezbollah too.

YellowFever
25 Aug 10,, 02:15
CNN shouldn't have fired her. They should have just admitted that they admire Hezbollah too.

:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

I was thinking the same thing...

JAD_333
25 Aug 10,, 06:23
Oh well, that pretty much takes out Fox, MSNBC and CNN and don’t get me started on the newspapers. I guess that pretty much leaves us with the National Enquirer to provide unbiased coverage of the day’s events. :biggrin:

I can't watch any of them. It's too painful to watch the obvious slant... CNN Sunday morning is pretty good. Candy Crowley is a first class political reporter. But my favorite is NPR. It's pretty well balanced and covers stories in depth. No tabloid junk, which seems to be crowding out the real news on local TV news broadcasts.

tim52
25 Aug 10,, 14:51
I can't watch any of them. It's too painful to watch the obvious slant... CNN Sunday morning is pretty good. Candy Crowley is a first class political reporter. But my favorite is NPR. It's pretty well balanced and covers stories in depth. No tabloid junk, which seems to be crowding out the real news on local TV news broadcasts.

I happen to agree with you on NPR although I suspect saying so could get us labeled as a couple of leftie pinko sympathizers by Gunnut and a few others. :biggrin:

That having been said I’d like to circle back around to your original question regarding Ms. Nasr’s tweet.

First a couple of questions. To whom does the twitter account belong?

Is it Ms. Nasr’s or CNN’s? I suspect it was CNN’s or maintained by CNN otherwise her opinion, and it was clearly an opinion, would be protected speech.

Second was Ms. Nasr fired for showing bias or expressing an opinion that runs counter to the editorial position of CNN or current U.S. public opinion?

As you state most succinctly in your earlier post most reporting being done today is obviously slanted, no doubt based in large part by the editorial board or marketing department of the particular news outlet.

In my opinion Fox, MSNBC, CNN and the rest have each identified and targeted a specific market or demographic, and any news reported will be pitched in a manner that most closely aligns to the opinions of their targeted audience. Which is in no small part thanks to the efforts of Rupert Murdoch.

Therefore my question is did Ms. Nasr run afoul because her opinion ran counter to the editorial (marketing) position of CNN or was it because she showed bias toward one side over the other and therefore could not be trusted to present well balanced stories free of personal bias in the future?

You decide.

JAD_333
26 Aug 10,, 00:54
I happen to agree with you on NPR although I suspect saying so could get us labeled as a couple of leftie pinko sympathizers by Gunnut and a few others. :biggrin:

I lot of my pinko friends, like the ex-Marine who floods me with anti-Obama emails, listen to NPR regularly. I always have it on in the background when I drive and at work. You get to know who goes down the middle of the road and who off it to the left.


That having been said I’d like to circle back around to your original question regarding Ms. Nasr’s tweet.

First a couple of questions. To whom does the twitter account belong?

Is it Ms. Nasr’s or CNN’s? I suspect it was CNN’s or maintained by CNN otherwise her opinion, and it was clearly an opinion, would be protected speech.

I believe it was hers. Once you send someone a letter or email, it's theirs. They can share it with others.



Second was Ms. Nasr fired for showing bias or expressing an opinion that runs counter to the editorial position of CNN or current U.S. public opinion?


I think it came down to corporate survival or, at the least, image. She publicly stated that she was an admirer of a terror group's chief theorist. CNN was probably afraid that if they kept her on, they would be ripped for employing a known Hezbolah sympathizer. Fox, Beck, Rush etal, would have had their lunch. CNN had to act fast before the sharks began circling. They didn't want it said that they were forced to act.


As you state most succinctly in your earlier post most reporting being done today is obviously slanted, no doubt based in large part by the editorial board or marketing department of the particular news outlet.

In my opinion Fox, MSNBC, CNN and the rest have each identified and targeted a specific market or demographic, and any news reported will be pitched in a manner that most closely aligns to the opinions of their targeted audience. Which is in no small part thanks to the efforts of Rupert Murdoch.

It's not a new phenomenon. (see Hearst and yellow journalism; see the Jefferson-Hamilton-Adams media shootouts of 1800.) It's infecting formerly sober news outlets (see Time, Newsweek, TV network affiliate news shows, etc.) The best defense for the consumer is a healthy dose of skepticism, a willingness to cross check stories with multiple media sources, and education, education, education.

KRON1
26 Aug 10,, 21:51
As a teacher, I am so paranoid over Facebook, Twitter and whatnot, I don't even use it.

gunnut
27 Aug 10,, 01:00
As a teacher, I am so paranoid over Facebook, Twitter and whatnot, I don't even use it.

I don't have a Facebook account or a Twitter account. A lot of the techies (like the ones on Tomshardware) actually don't like Facebook. They (and me too) believe it's just a childish gossip mill with pictures and silly games.

Do you have an account on Facebook just so you can spy on the kids? :biggrin:

Read this story:

Swedish Schoolgirls Bug Teachers' Lounge (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Surveillance-Spies-Swedish-Schoolgirls-school-girls,news-7854.html)



Swedish Schoolgirls Bug Teachers' Lounge

Improvements in technology means kids are becoming more and more creative with cheating. The days of writing physics formulae on rulers have been replaced by smartphones packing Wikipedia apps. However, just because you're using an incredibly clever method to get your hands on answers or test questions ahead of time, doesn't mean you're particularly clever.

Case in point: A couple of Swedish schoolgirls had bugged the teachers' lounge hoping to overhear what topics would come up on their exams. Unfortunately for them, they were thwarted when one half of the duo got so excited she bragged about the gambit on Facebook.

According to My Fox, the girls came up with the plan after finding a key to the staff room. Once they had formed the plan, they went to a spy shop to purchase bugging equipment, and planted it in the teachers' lounge the day before the staff was due to have a meeting about grading students' work. However, things fell flat when one of the students bragged about the plan on her Facebook. Once word got out, teachers found the bug and the jig was up. The girls were charged with trespassing and fined $270 each.


Facebook and Twitter - finding new ways to make people dumb.

bigross86
27 Aug 10,, 01:16
I don't have a Facebook account or a Twitter account. A lot of the techies (like the ones on Tomshardware) actually don't like Facebook. They (and me too) believe it's just a childish gossip mill with pictures and silly games.

Do you have an account on Facebook just so you can spy on the kids? :biggrin:

Read this story:

Swedish Schoolgirls Bug Teachers' Lounge (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Surveillance-Spies-Swedish-Schoolgirls-school-girls,news-7854.html)



Facebook and Twitter - finding new ways to make people dumb.

I don't know about that. For someone like me who has friends in the USA, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, Facebook is an excellent way for me to stay in touch with them. I've got exactly 103 friends, and they are all friends that I speak to at least once a week or I'm interested in their lives. I don't play the games, and I don't have any of the apps. I use it solely to talk to my friends. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than phones, I don't need to be online the same time as them like Skype, and I know that they are sure as hell gonna use theirs, anyway.

I don't have a Twitter account because I think it's just damn stupid.

JAD_333
27 Aug 10,, 02:25
Ironduke got me into facebook when he set up a WAB thing there. I sometimes wish I didn't have it. It's ok for sharing with family and close friends. Just limit your friends to people you know and care about. I don't have Twitter and don't ever plan on getting it. Who needs it? The WAB already offers some of the best one-liners around.

JAD_333
27 Aug 10,, 02:40
As a teacher, I am so paranoid over Facebook, Twitter and whatnot, I don't even use it.

And well you should be. Law firm recruiters and other big companies search applicants' past internet postings for compromising statements and photos. So many applicants have been turned down because of their past internet antics that cleaning up one's past indiscretions has become big business. One such company is Reputation Defender (http://www.reputationdefender.com/?gclid=CJm976HC2KMCFcvr7QodzSjD9Q). Then there is the reverse approach. More and mores schools are offering graduate students help with creating a prestigious internet presence, for example forming serious blogs and planting intelligent commentary on sites like this one. I doubt that Gunnut will ever get a job with a gun control organization.:biggrin:

tim52
27 Aug 10,, 03:06
I doubt that Gunnut will ever get a job with a gun control organization.:biggrin:

No doubt but he's a shoo-in for a job with the NRA. :biggrin:

bigross86
27 Aug 10,, 11:13
I wonder what an objective person would see after reading my posts...

I shudder to think....

JAD_333
27 Aug 10,, 14:28
ross, you have nothing to worry about...you're informed, civil, and decisive--all winning qualities. And, hey, if you put up a dud, you can always delete it.:)

tim52
01 Sep 10,, 18:40
Another tweet gone wrong!


Washington Post Suspends Columnist for Twitter Hoax

By JOSEPH PLAMBECK

On Monday morning, Mike Wise, a sports columnist at The Washington Post, published to his Twitter account that the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for five games.

Now Mr. Wise himself is suspended.

The information Mr. Wise published about Mr. Roethlisberger was made up — a test, he said, of how fast a piece of misinformation could spread online. (Mr. Roethlisberger was suspended for six games, not five, after he was accused of sexual assault in March, and the N.F.L. is considering whether to reduce the suspension.) Mr. Wise followed his initial post about the quarterback with three others about his sourcing for the news. And by the end of the day, the paper had suspended him for a month.

On his radio program on Washington’s WJFK on Tuesday morning, Mr. Wise said, “I could give you 10 reasons why I did this and explain what went wrong in the execution. But none of it matters today. I made a horrendous mistake.”

Kris Coratti, a spokeswoman for The Post, said that she could not comment on personnel issues. Before joining the paper in 2004, Mr. Wise worked as a reporter at The New York Times for 10 years.

Sree Sreenivasan, a digital media professor at the journalism school of Columbia University, said that because Twitter was often a source of news — athletes posting updates about their contracts, for example — the posts of newsmakers and journalists were taken seriously by followers.

A journalist’s reputation “is on the line with every tweet, for better or worse,” Mr. Sreenivasan said. “People have a reasonable expectation that it’s accurate or the best of what you know at the moment.”

Within a few hours of Mr. Wise’s Twitter post on Monday, The Post’s sports editor, Matthew Vita, sent an e-mail to his staff reminding it of the paper’s guidelines for using social media.

“When you use social media, remember that you are representing The Washington Post, even if you are using your own account,” Mr. Vita wrote. “This is not to be treated lightly.”

Yet within The Post, there was disagreement about whether the punishment fit the crime. Andrew Alexander, the paper’s ombudsman, wrote on his blog that Mr. Wise was “lucky he wasn’t fired.” Howard Kurtz, the paper’s media writer, wrote in a message on Twitter that the suspension “seems overly harsh to me.”

But on his radio program in Washington on Tuesday, Mr. Wise said that he agreed with the suspension.

“I’m paying the price I should for careless, dumb behavior in the multiplatform media world,” he said.

bigross86
01 Sep 10,, 22:33
People that use Twitter are twits. Maybe twats as well