Associated Press fires reporter after she tweets pro-Palestine comments
Emily Wilder's social media history cited as reason behind termination
Emily Wilder was two weeks into a new job as a news associate for The Associated Press in Arizona when her career was derailed due to comments made on social media.
The 2020 Stanford graduate tweeted on Sunday about the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
“'Objectivity' feels fickle when the basic terms we use to report news implicitly stake a claim,” she wrote.
“Using 'Israel' but never 'Palestine', or 'war' but not 'siege and occupation' are political choices—yet media make those exact choices all the time without being flagged as biased.”
Wilder, who is Jewish, was a member of Jewish Voices for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine while at Stanford, according to reports.
Her tweet prompted Stanford College Republicans to dig through Wilder’s past social media posts about Israel and Palestine.
In one post flagged by the group, she called late billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a Republican and a staunch supporter of Israel, “a naked mole rat".
After the posts resurfaced, Wilder faced a deluge of criticism from conservative politicians and social media personalities who called for her termination.
“The hire could fuel concerns about the AP's objectivity,” wrote The Washington Free Beacon.
Four days after Wilder's tweet, she was terminated.
A representative for the AP told The National the news organisation does not comment on “personnel matters”, however he confirmed Wilder was let go for “violations of AP’s social media policy during her time at AP".
The news agency later said its social media policy exists "so the comments of one person cannot create dangerous conditions for our journalists covering the story."
"Every AP journalist is responsible for safeguarding our ability to report on this conflict, or any other, with fairness and credibility, and cannot take sides in public forums," said Lauren Easton, AP's head of communications.
Journalists have come to Wilder's defence on Twitter, expressing their frustration over her dismissal.
“Not that it should matter, but it just magnifies the absurdity of this that she was reporting local Arizona news and graduated from college in 2020," tweeted Matthew Zeitlen, a reporter and writer based in New York.
"This isn't exactly the Beirut bureau chief sounding off after getting loose with a militia chief."
This week, the Israeli military levelled the AP's office building in Gaza, alleging it housed elements of Hamas military infrastructure, though no evidence has yet been disclosed to support this claim.
The National has reached out to Wilder for comment.
Updated: May 21, 2021 08:26 PM