Yesterday The Jewish Press reported that CNN international correspondent Diana Magnay who was reporting from Israel, near the Gaza border had referred to a group of Israelis in Sderot as “scum.” As noted in that story, Magnay deleted the tweet, but not until many others had already retweeted (and some favorited) it.
This was the tweet that led to Magnay’s reassignment which was announced today:
Today, Friday, July 20, it was revealed that CNN has re-assigned Magnay to Moscow, following an uproar over her “scum” tweet.
“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.”
What seems to have escaped the notice of both CNN and Magnay is that the defense used to at least partially justify Magnay’s imprudent tweet simply underscores how tone deaf both the station and the reporter are in this situation.
They seem to think that it was only problematic if Magnay was referring to all Israelis as scum. They were quick to point out that actually, she only meant the Israelis who were near her and whom she found annoying were scum.
Imagine this: CNN and its reporter, Magnay, are justifying her loss of temper by pointing to the annoying behavior of people (who live there) standing near to where Magnay was reporting. And yet she was reporting from Sderot, on the Gaza border, where the people she was referring to as “scum” have been living under constant rocket attacks for nine years. Indeed, over the past few weeks, the people acting less than hospitably towards Magnay have experienced up to hundreds of rockets and or rocket alarms each day.
The fact that Magnay lost her cool in a live combat situation reveals a lack of professionalism. The fact that she and her employer felt she was justified in losing her cool at the Sderot residents for annoying her, yet was criticizing them for acting inappropriately under pressure, makes it even worse.
What next? How about a nice desk position editing stories about local fashion shows?
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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