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CNN anchor resigns after criticising pro-Israel Twitter accounts

Broadcaster Jim Clancy accused of making 'biased' and 'insensitive' comments on social media
Jim Clancy had worked for CNN since its early days (Twitter/@adimuliapradana)

A veteran CNN anchor has resigned following complaints over a tweet in which he criticised pro-Israel tweeters for spreading “hasbara” and making what was seen as a derogatory reference to a “cripple”.

Jim Clancy, an anchor who had worked for CNN, owned by Time Warner, since its early days, announced his resignation on Saturday.

“After nearly 34 years with Cable News Network, the time has come to say Farewell!” he wrote in a memo to his colleagues. “It has been my honor to work alongside all of you for all of these years. This is one of the greatest news organizations in the world. It has truly revolutionized information delivery while driving technological advances in how we gather the news.

“Through it all, CNN has been a family to my own family. That means something."

He did not specify the reason for his resignation.

Last Wednesday, hours after 12 people were killed in the attacks on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, the anchor - whose account has since been deleted - tweeted:

The cartoons NEVER mocked the Prophet. They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word. Pay attention.

— Jim Clancy (@clancycnn) January 7, 2015

He was later taken up on the comment by Oren Kessler, deputy director of research and research fellow at the Washington DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-profit focused on foreign policy and national security issues, who asked him to clarify his comments.

In response, Clancy tweeted:

@OrenKessler Hasbara?

— Jim Clancy (@clancycnn) January 7, 2015

Hasbara refers to information disseminated by Israel and pro-Israel activists in favour of the country. Clancy went on to argue that “Pro-Israel voice try to convince us that cartoonists were really anti Muslim”.

Other social media users condemned Clancy's tweets, including several from the pro-Israel @elderofziyon account, provoking Clancy to tweet:

@HumanRights2K Get a grip, junior. It's my Friday night. You and the Hasbara team need to pick on some cripple on the edge of the herd.

— Jim Clancy (@clancycnn) January 8, 2015

The affair provoked mixed responses on Twitter, with some applauding his resignation and deletion of his tweets and others arguing it impeded his freedom of speech:

Jay Ruderman, head of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which covers advocacy and inclusion for the disabled, demanded an apology from Clancy and CNN arguing the term "cripple" was insensitive.

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