By STEPHEN M. WALT
CNN has fired senior editor Octavia Nasr for tweeting that she was “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Fadlallah was one of the spiritual leaders of Hezbollah, and regarded by the U.S. government as a terrorist. More importantly, plenty of American journalists and politicians have shown “respect” (and in some cases, fawning admiration) for various world figures with hands far bloodier than Ayatollah Fadlallah — including Mao Zedong, Ariel Sharon, the Shah of Iran, or even Kim il Sung — but it didn’t cost them their jobs. And let’s not forget that plenty of American journalists treat our own leaders with plenty of deference and “respect,” even after the latter have launched unnecessary wars in which tens of thousands have died or authorized the torture of detainees.
The Lebanese militant Hezbollah has denounced CNN’s decision to fire a Middle East editor for posting a note on Twitter expressing admiration for the country’s late top Shiite cleric. Octavia Nasr later apologized for her tweet in which she described Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah as “one of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” But CNN officials said her credibility had been compromised. Hezbollah’s spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi says CNN’s decision amounts to “intellectual terrorism” and reflects the West’s “double standards” in dealing with the Mideast.
A coach at Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan has been dismissed from a longtime wresting coaching position after complaints that the coach’s former assistant was trying to convert Muslim students to Christianity. The assistant coach, Trey Hancock, an evangelical pastor, said that he never mixed religion with sports – the coach supported Hancock. The school’s principal, Imad Fadlallah, decided not to renew the contract of the coach due to his at-will status.