Why did NBC pull a reporter from Gaza as Israel launched its ground offensive against Hamas?
A day earlier, Ayman Mohyeldin had witnessed and tweeted about the killing of four Palestinian boys. Israeli gunboats opened fire on the boys as they played soccer on a beach.
It was just the type of story for which NBC lured Mohyeldin from Al Jazeera.
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) July 16, 2014
Officials said Mohyeldin was removed for “security reasons,” but after pulling Mohyeldin out, it sent Richard Engel in.
Michael Calderone at Huffington Post says many journalists are upset by Mohyeldin’s disappearance on air, just when the conflict needs more attention.
There’s been speculation that Mohyeldin could have rankled NBC News executives with a since-removed tweet and Facebook post describing the State Department as having said it considered Hamas ultimately responsible for the Israeli strike on the beach because it did not agree to a ceasefire.
But the source with knowledge of the network’s decision told HuffPost that the deleted tweet and Facebook post were not given internally as reasons behind Mohyeldin’s removal.
Some conservative outlets have suggested in the past that Mohyeldin favored Palestine’s side in the conflict. But there’s no evidence at this time that such a criticism, or any outside pressure, was behind NBC’s decision.
Mohyeldin, an Egyptian-American journalist, started at NBC News in Washington in 2001 and later worked for Fox News and CNN. He joined Al Jazeera English and became a TV news star covering the 2011 Arab Spring upheaval. That April, he was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people, and a few months later he was poached by NBC News.
Glenn Greenwald thinks the reporter was pulled because of his reporting on the deaths in Gaza.
“As much contempt as I have for the lack of journalistic backbone at NBC News management, I am not going to jump to conclusions as to why the move was made,” media watcher David Zurwawik of the Baltimore Sun writes this morning.
NBC could easily clarify the move. But it’s so far refusing to comment.