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Israeli criticism: MSNBC cancels Mehdi Hasan's weekend program

Israeli criticism: MSNBC cancels Mehdi Hasans weekend program

In a move that has ignited controversy and drawn criticism, MSNBC has decided to cancel Mehdi Hasan's weekend TV program, a decision that comes amid growing concerns over a perceived crackdown on criticism against Israel in various sectors.

Hasan, known for his progressive stance and as a rare critic of Israeli policies on United States cable news, has been a persistent interviewer, often confronting guests about false claims and challenging powerful figures.

The cancellation of his show during the ongoing Israeli military offensive in Gaza, which has raised human rights concerns globally, has sparked anger among Palestinian rights supporters.

Left-wing Congressman Ro Khanna expressed his discontent, calling the cancellation "bad optics" for the network and emphasizing MSNBC's responsibility to provide an explanation.

The decision to replace Hasan's show with an extension of news anchor Ayman Mohyeldin's program has also raised eyebrows. Mohyeldin, an Arab American and a critic of the Israeli government, is set to take over the two-hour slot.

MSNBC President Rashida Jones, in a note to staff, mentioned that the reshuffle aims to "better position" the network as it heads into the 2024 US elections. However, no official statement has been provided regarding the specific reasons behind Hasan's show cancellation.

Critics argue that the move may be part of a broader trend of suppressing dissenting voices, with Hasan's program serving as a platform for evidence-based interviews challenging those in power.

Hasan's recent interview with Israeli government adviser Mark Regev, where he questioned false claims promoted by Israeli officials, has been highlighted as an example of the program's commitment to rigorous journalism.

Palestinian American human rights lawyer Noura Erakat expressed the importance of Hasan's program in the current context, stating that it is "more needed than ever" and should be amplified, not shut down.

Journalist David Sirota noted that Hasan has been critical of both Republicans and Democrats, suggesting that cancelling him could contribute to the homogenization of news content into partisan infotainment.

This decision by MSNBC adds to a history of US journalists facing consequences for criticism of Israel. In 2018, CNN sacked Marc Lamont Hill as a contributor over a speech at a United Nations meeting in support of Palestinian rights. Hill currently hosts the program UpFront on Al Jazeera. In 2021, The Associated Press fired a young reporter over social media posts supporting Palestinian rights.

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