Saturday, May 22, 2021

AP fires new journalist for expressing her views on Middle East in social media, even indirectly

Stanford campus 2018/9

The AP reports (story by David Bauder) that it fired a new employee Emily Wilder, who started May 3, for violating its social media policy    

There were speculations that conservative sources complained about her pro-Palestinian activism when she was at Stanford, but AP said she was fired for her activity after she started work.

AP (apparently) prohibits its journalists from expressing their own political opinions publicly, even when labeled as their own.

But there would be questions as to whether people who had participated in organized activism on anything can become journalists (maybe even if working for themselves if tech platforms turn on this issue, which I fear they could).

That raises tangential ethical questions for truly independent journalists who work for themselves.  For example, YouTube has required that on some sensitive topics (the 2020 election) journalists included counterveiling views with the video itself of interviews or protests.  There are hidden concerns about independent or citizen journalists who fund their own work, as this may have a disruptive effect on normal activism and organizing. 

It also reminds me of my own “conflict of interest” question back in the 1990s when I was planning to publish a book on gays in the military but worked for a life insurance company selling specifically to military officers.

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