With our First Amendment rights on the line under the Trump Administration combined with the strict criterion for journalists on mainstream outlets, is evident more than ever of why minority journalists need to be under networks that have their best interest at heart and where they can freely express their opinions and research without being ridiculed and programmed.
One of the top Black commentators for CNN, Marc Lamont Hill, was recently released from his contract from the network this week due to comments that he made in his speech at the United Nations as part of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In his speech, it was reported by The New York Times that Hill made remarks which included a charge that the Israel government was “normalizing settler colonialism” and called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
Now at any radio station or independent news network, these type of remarks would be at a highlight and applauded for the network because it will bring about controversy that will start dialogue and engagement, and in communications and journalism that is what you want. But when we can’t express certain comments to bring about this type of conversation are we really growing in media? As media professionals, we need to stop being “puppets” because it is stealing the joy out of our passion.
According to Fox News, Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institite on Himan Rights and the Holocaust, she stated that Hill’s proclamations were “especially obscene U.N. moment that reveals the true nature of the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish animus of the modern United Nations.”
“Hill’s call at the United Nations for the destruction of the Jewish state was not some accident. He didn’t misspeak,” Bayefsky said. “He was an invited guest. He was the only person invited to speak as ‘the’ representative of ‘civil society.’ When he ended his extraordinary tirade with ‘give us a free Palestine from the river to the sea,’ his words were met by a round of applause. The only applause for any speaker.”
However, Hill’s comment was misinterpreted. Instead of those asking for a more clearere explanation of what he meant, CNN just made the choice to get rid of the Black man. Below Hill explained via his Twitter account of what his statement meant:
“In my speech, I talked about the need to return to the pre-1967 borders, to give full rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to allow the right of return. No part of this is a call to destroy Israel. It’s absurd on its face. I believe in full rights for all citizens. I believe in safety for all citizens. I believe in self-determination for all citizens. This is not an anti-Semitic position…Unfortunately, we are in a moment where any critique of the Israeli government is called anti-Semitic. Any call for Palestinian freedom is seen as an attempt to diminish Israel freedom. This does not have to be, nor should it be, the case. (sic)”