Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guest Post: Are Journalists' Free Speech Rights Being Challenged?

We're always interested in hearing what our readers have to say so we encourage you to send in your submissions for Guest Posts on whatever you think we should be talking about on The Urban Politico.  This Guest Post comes to us from one of our old-school readers and commenter, William Sullivan Jr., so show him some love in the comment section below and weigh in with your 2 cents on whether Journalists' free speech rights being challenged:

*** GUEST POST ***

In recent months high profile journalists have been relieved of their duties after making statements that were, in many circles, considered to be Anti-Semitic. Many argue that Rick Sanchez was released because of poor ratings on his daytime show Rick’s List but after the ordeal with Helen Thomas in May of this year one must question if these people are being released because of a powerful Jewish presence in the U.S. media.

In a May 27 exchange with Rabbi David Nesenoff, Thomas said “Israelis should get the hell out of Palestine and go home to Germany and Poland“.

"Yeah, very powerless people," Sanchez said, laughing. "He's such a minority. I mean, you know, please. What are you kidding? I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?"

Using her official CNN  Twitter account Nasr wrote: "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot."
Nasr interviewed the Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadiallah for Lebanese television in 1990, and was referring  to his stance on women's rights, notably his demands that "honour killings" stop, she explained.

Parisa Khosravi, senior vice president of CNN International Newsgathering, said “Nasr accepts she shouldn't have made such a "simplistic" comment without context.”

"However," Khorsravi stated, "at this point, we believe that her credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward."

Are we dealing with censorship or were these people fired because what they said was so upsetting to the American public that they could no longer continue at their current positions. Journalists need to be able to speak their minds without fear of losing their jobs or jeopardizing their careers. Throughout history dictatorships have used such methods of controlling the thoughts of populations of people and I fear that, if allowed to continue, we are seeing the beginning of the end of independent journalism in this country. What concerns me the most is that each time we have lost a journalist for what has been perceived as Anti-Semitism the rest of the media has been silent. 

The questions I ask are:
  • Is this censorship or legitimate reasons for firing these journalists?                                         
  • Are these people victims of what is called The Israel Lobby?
  • Would a journalist be fired for making similar comments about another minority in this country?
  • Is Fear causing the rest of American Journalists to be Silent?
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