CNN’s Cheerleader for Hizbollah

This is a cross-post from Honest Reporting

CNN’s Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs professes her respect for an extremist sheikh and spiritual father of a terrorist organization.

“Today we lost a merciful father and a wise guide,” said Hezbollah’s leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, referring to the death of 75 year old Lebanese Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, seen as one of the original spiritual guides of the terrorist organization.

But Fadlallah was being mourned by a far more surprising source – CNN’s Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs, Octavia Nasr, who Tweeted the following on her personal page:

HonestReporting has previously exposed a former CNN employee who let her personal politics influence her professional life. In that case, former CNN producer Nidal Rafa, a Palestinian, was videoed haranguing current Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon at a media event. Rafa crossed the line from media professional to agenda driven activist, breaching professional media standards and blatantly exposing her personal politics.

In this latest case involving CNN, Octavia Nasr’s Lebanese background should not, in itself, be an impediment to maintaining high journalistic standards. However, we have to question these standards when she expresses her respect for Fadlallah, whom she describes as one of “Hezbollah’s giants”.

Is Nasr a Hezbollah sympathizer? This is disturbing enough given that the group is designated a terrorist organization by the US and is committed to the destruction of Israel. And which of Fadlallah’s individual views does Nasr admire?

Is it Fadlallah’s praise for the massacre of eight Israeli students at Mercaz Ha-Rav Yeshiva in Jerusalem on March 6, 2008? Or perhaps it was the fatwa (religious opinion) to the suicide bomber who attacked the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Fadlallah supported the seizure and hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, backed suicide bombing attacks in 2002, and praised Iran’s efforts to build long-range missiles as the “pride of the Islamic world” in 2008.

Fadlallah has even engaged in Holocaust denial. In an interview with Al-Manar TV on March 21, 2008, Fadlullah stated:

The Hebrew state is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary – 60 years since it plundered Palestine – in a festival, which will be attended by the countries of the world, most of which still support the Zionist state and consider the resistance movement to be terrorism. This is what led German Chancellor Merkel to visit that plundering country, which extorted and continues to extort Germany, using as a pretext the German Hitlerist-Nazi past, and the placing of the Jews in a holocaust. Zionism has inflated the number of victims in this holocaust beyond imagination. They say there were six million Jews – not six million, not three million, or anything like that… But the world accepted this [figure], and it does not allow anyone to discuss this.

Is this the sort of extremist figure that CNN’s Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs should be professing her respect for?

A “Relative Moderate”?

Many obituaries in the international press have described Fadlallah as something of a “relative moderate”. According to Reuters, however, at the hospital when a nurse asked the ailing cleric what he needed, he replied: “For the Zionist entity to cease to exist.”

Octavia Nasr’s position at CNN has been fatally compromised. CNN cannot continue to employ an apparent Hezbollah sympathiser in such a senior post. Please send your considered comments to CNN calling on the news organization to take the appropriate action – http://edition.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form4.html?112

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20 replies »

  1. I wonder if she celebrated the released murderer of a six year old girl Samir Kuntar?

  2. Many obituaries in the international press have described Fadlallah as something of a “relative moderate”.
    The question begs to be asked: relative to what?

  3. According to the one link:

    Fadlallah declared: “the heroic operation in Jerusalem proved that the mujahedeen in Palestine are able to hit the Zionists hard.”

    Why wasn’t this mentioned in the CNN report I watched yesterday? We all know how comments can be mistranslated and/or taken out of context – but those are pretty clear words above.

  4. Helen Thomas and Octavia Nasr should join hands and start the Fadlallah Fan Club, although obtaining signed photographs might be difficult. Perhaps Helen could sign some of her own instead.

  5. It is strange to come to Israel or Europe and see all the Arab anchors on CNN there. They do not appear on CNN in the US. Almost as if its a different company, or certainly one that is pandering to the Arabs.

  6. Pretzelberg

    If you want to read a much more disgusting whitewash of a fascist murderous hate preacher called Fadlallah you can find it on CIF penned by Ian Williams

    A quote from this moderate Islamist – the hero of the Guardian kind left:

    All of Palestine is a war zone and every Jew who unlawfully occupies a house or land belonging to a Palestinian is a legitimate target. There are no innocent Jews in Palestine.

    Some minor Holocaust denial will only intensify Ian Williams’ ethernal love of the ayatollah:

    Zionism has inflated the number of victims in this holocaust beyond imagination.

  7. peterTH the comment you quote by some nonentity
    Zionism has inflated the number of victims in this holocaust beyond imagination
    reminds me of what LindaGrant says in cif today Part of the problem is the plethora of opinion pieces by low level journalists l

  8. It can only be hoped that Nasr meets with the same fate as befell our Orla (Guerin) whose blatant support for Islamist terror – she said she cried, or actually cried, when greasy Arafat died, and was shamelessly and openly biased in her reporting – and is exiled to a place which is rarely heard from or about.

  9. CNN fires Middle Eastern editor over tweet

    NEW YORK — CNN has fired an editor responsible for Middle Eastern coverage after she posted a note on Twitter expressing admiration for a late Lebanese cleric considered an inspiration for the Hezbollah militant movement.

    Octavia Nasr later apologized for her tweet, but CNN’s senior vice president for international newsgathering, Parisa Khosravi, said Wednesday that Nasr’s credibility had been compromised.

    The Atlanta-based Nasr worked at CNN for 20 years, starting as an assignment editor on the international desk. Her job was mostly off the air, but she occasionally would appear as an onscreen analyst during discussions of Middle Eastern news.

    Lebanon’s Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah died Sunday after a long illness. He was staunchly anti-American and linked to bombings that killed more than 260 Americans, a charge he denied.

    In a Twitter posting over the weekend, Nasr said she was sad to hear of Fadlallah’s death. She called him “one of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”
    CNN issued a statement on Tuesday calling it an error in judgment for Nasr to write such a simplistic tweet.

    Nasr later said in a blog that she had been referring to Fadlallah’s attitude toward women’s rights. The cleric had issued edicts banning so-called “honor killing” of women and giving women the right to hit their husbands if attacked first.

    She wrote that Fadlallah was “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.”

    But Khosravi said in a memo Wednesday that she spoke with Nasr and “we have decided that she will be leaving the company.”

    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


  10. They sacked her,I find it hard to believe that CNN would sack her,now she can go and lie down next to that giant of Hezbollah.

    These people have no self-respect at all ,first they come out with the nastiest things that they can think of.And when pulled up they start to shed crock tears.She fancies herself,a real poseur.

  11. Maybe she should add “Hizbullah” to her surname.

    Nasr means (among other things) “support” in Arabic.

  12. So she was free to weave her admiration for Hezbollah in her editorials at CNN as long as she kept her support for this terrorist organisation a secret. Now that she’s come out and shown her true colours in public, she’s fired.

    This is how large progressive media organisations like CNN and BBC work. Their editors and reporters feed messages of support for Hamas/Hezbollah and al Quida subliminally to their audience. These are the covert army of Islamism working their socks off in secret but when they’re found out, they’re dumped to give an air of credibility.

  13. What about another british shame?

    British Ambassador to Lebanon, Frances Guy, heaped praise on Fadlallah far more gushing than anything Nasr said. In a piece she entitled “The Passing of Decent Men,” Ambassador Guy wrote that he was one of the people whom she enjoyed meeting most and with whom she was most impressed; that he was “a true man of religion, leaving an impact on everyone he meets, no matter what their faith”; that “Lebanon is a lesser place the day after his absence”; and that “the world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths.”

  14. I certainly hope that they removed Octavia Nasr and Frances Guy’s tongues from his butt,before they sent him to paradise with lots and lots of Viagra,to meet the 72 Virgins that will be waiting for him in paradiso.

  15. I tend to agree with Tom Gross that Ms Nasr’s sacking, she having explained and apologise, is probably an overreaction.
    However, there’s no doubt that Ms Guy, given the position she holds, should be given her marching orders, she having expressed her admiration for a man who helped to found an organisation that has done so much harm to her own country and its allies via bombings, terrorism, kidnappings and various fatwas. As a diplomat there is no excuse for her.