Michael Calderone reports: CNN has removed correspondent Diana Magnay from covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after she tweeted that Israelis who were cheering the bombing of Gaza, and who had allegedly threatened her, were “scum.”
“After being threatened and harassed before and during a liveshot, Diana reacted angrily on Twitter,” a CNN spokeswoman said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
“She deeply regrets the language used, which was aimed directly at those who had been targeting our crew,” the spokeswoman continued. “She certainly meant no offense to anyone beyond that group, and she and CNN apologize for any offense that may have been taken.”
The spokeswoman said Magnay has been assigned to Moscow.
Magnay appeared on CNN Thursday from a hill overlooking the Israel-Gaza border. While she reported, Israelis could be heard near her cheering as missiles were fired at Gaza.
After the liveshot, Magnay tweeted: “Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on #gaza; threaten to ‘destroy our car if I say a word wrong’. Scum.” The tweet was quickly removed, but not before it had been retweeted more than 200 times.
If Magnay’s use of the word “scum” was so regrettable, what would have been a more appropriate way of describing this group of Israelis?
Bloodthirsty. Savage. Callous. Inhumane. Hateful. Vengeful. Sadistic.
Any of those terms could have been accurately used by Magnay and yet there’s no doubt that CNN would have been just as apologetic.
The only way she could have reported what she was witnessing right next to her and avoided criticism, would have been to say nothing at all.
This is what American media too often now demands from its reporters who cover Israel: silence or unabashed bias in favor of the Jewish state.
Might Magnay’s removal — preceded by NBC removing Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza — prompt a rebellion among mainstream American journalists?
If only… Unfortunately, having been duly warned, it’s much more likely that nearly everyone will decide it’s not worth taking the risk of stepping out of line.
The exceptions will remain a few curmudgeons like AP’s Matt Lee who is afforded some latitude precisely because he is an exception. (Unfortunately, Lee’s acts of rebellion are confined to briefing rooms in Washington where they get less attention than they deserve.)
But having said that, what are we to make of the vile behavior of Israelis who celebrate carnage?
Do they reveal something about the nature of Israel and the meaning of Zionism?
To some extent, yes.
Palestinians, the enemy, the other, have been reduced to a sub-human status. Their lives are viewed as worthless.
Is this not an inevitable consequence of founding a state on the idea that the rights of one group of people, of one religious identity, have the exclusive authority to run that state?
And yet, should we not also acknowledge that there are base instincts that make people everywhere capable of acting with the same callousness displayed by the “scum” in Sderot?
If you think it couldn’t happen here — wherever that might be — you’re probably wrong.