‘Hung out to dry’: Young journalist fired by AP speaks out against her dismissal

‘Hung out to dry’: Young journalist fired by AP speaks out against her dismissal


‘Hung out to dry’: Young journalist fired by AP speaks out against her dismissal

‘Hung out to dry’: Young journalist fired by AP speaks out against her dismissal

The young reporter recently fired by the Associated Press says her termination was part of a broader pattern of censorship against pro-Palestine reporters.

“I am one victim to the asymmetrical enforcement of rules around objectivity and social media that has censored so many journalists – particularly Palestinian journalists and other journalists of color – before me,” Emily Wilder, 22, said in a statement.

The journalist had been at her job less than three weeks when she was fired, ostensibly for violating AP’s social media policy. Ms Wilder, however, says AP’s editors would not answer her when she asked which of her posts had violated that policy.

AP told The Guardian that although it “generally refrains from commenting on personnel matters, we can confirm Emily Wilder’s comments on Thursday that she was dismissed for violations of AP’s social media policy during her time at AP.”

Ms Wilder, however, believes the news service buckled to an online “smear campaign” against her. Last Monday, college Republicans at Stanford University, where she had been a student, posted a series of tweets highlighting her pro-Palestinian activism as an undergraduate, arguing that it made her a biased journalist.

In the days that followed, more prominent conservatives picked up the story. The right-wing Washington Free Beacon ran an article titled “AP Hires Anti-Israel Activist as News Associate.” Tom Cotton, the arch-conservative senator from Arkansas, then retweeted that article.

What followed, Ms Wilder says, was an “onslaught of sexist, antisemitic, racist, and violent comments and messages.”

In the beginning, Ms Wilder said, AP had her back.

“I was transparent with my editors, and they reassured me I would not face punishment for my previous activism,” the former news associate wrote.

Two days later, she was fired.

“In the end, rather than take whatever misstep I made as a teaching opportunity – as is the point of the news associate program – it appears they took it as an opportunity to make me a scapegoat,” Ms Wilder said. “It’s terrifying as a young woman who was hung out to dry when I needed support from my institution most.”

Prominent journalists have spoken out against AP’s decision as well.

“Amazing how quickly a talented young reporter’s career can be snuffed out by a Twitter mob that decided to feign outrage over some college tweets,” tweeted Glenn Kessler, an editor at The Washington Post. “And if [Ms Wilder] somehow violated @AP’s social-media rules, the solution is to offer guidance, not termination, to a new reporter.”

Ms Wilder, however, does not appear to believe her career is over.

“While the last few days have been overwhelming, I will not be intimidated into silence,” she wrote. “I will be back soon.”




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