CNN fires veteran editor for Mideast over Tweet

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – CNN has fired a senior  editor for Middle East news after she published a Twitter  message that said she respected a Lebanese Shi’ite cleric  branded a terrorist by the United States, U.S. and British  media said yesterday.

The Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, one of  Shi’ite Islam’s highest religious authorities and an early  mentor of the militant group Hezbollah, died in Beirut on  Sunday.

Octavia Nasr, a 20-year CNN veteran based in Atlanta, wrote  on Twitter: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed  Hussein Fadlallah … One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a  lot,” the New York Times reported.

Some supporters of Israel saw the Twitter posting almost  immediately and took issue with it, the Times said. CNN  officials were not immediately available to speak to Reuters.

The Times cited Parisa Khosravi, the senior vice president  for CNN International Newsgathering, as saying in an internal  memorandum that she “had a conversation” with Nasr and that “we  have decided that she will be leaving the company”.

Fadlallah was a supporter of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and  one of the first backers of the Iraqi Dawa Party of Prime  Minister Nuri al-Maliki. He was also the spiritual leader and  mentor of Hezbollah when it was formed after Israel invaded  Lebanon in 1982, though he later distanced himself from its  ties with Iran.

CNN officials became aware of Nasr’s message on Monday, and  a spokesman said on Tuesday that it was an “error of judgment”  on her part, the Times reported.

“CNN regrets any offence her Twitter message caused. It did  not meet CNN’s editorial standards. This is a serious matter  and will be dealt with accordingly,” the spokesman said,  according to the Times.

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