CNN Should Fire Scott Jennings, Period

Progressive lawmakers, advocacy groups, and commentators rushed to the defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar on Wednesday after a CNN pundit called her a “public relations agent for Hamas” during a primetime segment earlier this week.

Scott Jennings, a conservative who has contributed to CNN since 2017 and also writes for the Los Angeles Times, made the remark in response to an interview in which Omar (D-Minn.) questioned whether Israel and the Biden administration are doing everything in their power to achieve a negotiated end to the war on Gaza, which is now in its sixth month.

Omar pointed to reports that Israel declined to send negotiators to Egypt after receiving a proposal from Hamas that it deemed unacceptable. The Minnesota Democrat also accused Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, of “not sharing the full picture” when he provided an update on the status of cease-fire talks earlier this week.

“You can certainly have certain demands that you want, and we obviously want the hostages released to return to their families or American hostages that are included. There is an infant that is included in those hostages,” said Omar. “And so it is important that we do everything that we can, but we can’t be dishonest to the point where we are saying that everybody is doing everything that they can to be at the table to negotiate a cease-fire that can lead to a permanent solution.”

Jennings said during Tuesday’s segment that he is “surprised that in a year of our Lord 2024, there is a public relations agent for Hamas sitting in United States Congress.” Jennings added that he didn’t “hear a word” of concern about the hostages still being held by militants in Gaza—even though Omar explicitly said she supports their release.

Omar, who has received death threats for criticizing Israel’s war on Gaza, has said repeatedly that she wants the release of all hostages and condemned the October 7 Hamas-led attack as “horrific” and “senseless violence.”

Jennings received no pushback from his fellow CNN panelists. Observers noted that CNNfired contributor Marc Lamont Hill over a speech in which he demanded an end to Israel’s longstanding oppression of Palestinians.

Scott Jennings is reverting to one of the oldest Islamophobic tropes in the book, which is to allege that Muslim Americans are secretly terrorist sympathizers. People have been fired from CNN for much less,” said Waleed Shahid, a Democratic strategist and former spokesperson for Justice Democrats, an advocacy group that also spoke out against Jennings’ comments.

“Disgusting Islamophobic and racist comments with no correction or condemnation from
CNN,” the group wrote on social media. “CNN should be issuing an apology to [Omar] and Scott Jennings shouldn’t have a job. The normalization of Islamophobia like this on CNN is what leads to anti-Muslim hate crimes.”

Mehdi Hasan, a former MSNBC host and editor-in-chief of the media company Zeteo, joined the chorus denouncing Jennings’ remarks, which he described as “disgusting racism and Islamophobia.”

Jennings is hardly a fringe character in conservative politics: He worked in George W. Bush’s White House and on the 2002 reelection campaign of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), a leading cease-fire supporter and Omar ally in Congress, described Jennings’ comments as “reminiscent of the anti-Muslim bigotry we saw in the George Bush post-9/11 era.”

“It is disgusting and must not be normalized,” Bush wrote. ” CNN should denounce this hateful, dangerous, and blatant Islamophobia immediately.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked, “How on earth is this kind of blatant Islamophobia so casually accepted without pushback?”

“This is shocking,” she added.

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top