America

CNN Career Ends After Tweet Praising Hezbollah Cleric

Octavia Nasr was a frequent on-camera presence on CNN when the subject was the Middle East. She specifically was called on to provide the Arab or Muslim perspective.

No longer. She lost her CNN job of more than two decades Wednesday after a tweet eulogy to a Shiite cleric associated with Hezbollah.

As NPR's David Folkenflik reported for the network's newscast:

She wrote, quote, "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot."

The Tweet sparked instant outrage. The Lebanese cleric has cheered violence against Americans and Israelis and has been designated a terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Department.

In an essay on CNN's website, Nasr wrote she deeply regretted her tweet - saying it was shorn of context. But she also wrote that he had been a moderating force - a champion of rights for Islamic women and a critic of Hezbollah's loyalty to Iran.

CNN judged that Nasr had lost her standing as a credible journalist. Her ouster sparked a new round of criticism of CNN - this time, that it had buckled to its earlier critics.

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