It happened again. On Sunday, now-former CNN freelance contributor out of Pakistan Adeel Raja tweeted out that “the world today needs a Hitler,” in response to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. It took CNN’s communications boss Matt Dornic several hours to respond to the growing outrage and criticism on social media. And the incident harkened back to 2019 when a CNN photo editor was fired after praising how “4 jewish [sic] pigs” were killed in Jerusalem by Hamas.
Raja’s now-deleted tweet started making the rounds shortly after it was posted Sunday afternoon. Twitter sleuths and conservative media types immediately started searching through his older tweets for other messages with similar themes. And boy did they dredge up a lot of nasty stuff.
The Daily Caller’s social media guru (and former NewsBusters intern) Greg Price aggregated some of Raja’s really abhorrent comments. Including: “Hail Hitler!” and “The only reason I am supporting Germany in the finals is – Hitler was a German and he did good with those jews [sic]!” Both of those tweets were put out in 2014.
This guy has 54 articles under his byline at CNN. They should probably fire whoever does their background checks. pic.twitter.com/yNr7iT29nD
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 16, 2021
“This guy has 54 articles under his byline at CNN. They should probably fire whoever does their background checks,” Price tweeted. And those articles date back to the start of 2014, which meant CNN had been relying on the guy for over seven years.
It wasn’t until much later in the night that Dornic first responded to critics on social media. “Adeel Raja has never been a CNN employee. As a freelancer, his reporting contributed to some newsgathering efforts from Islamabad. However, in light of these abhorrent statements, he will not be working with CNN again in any capacity,” he wrote.
Adeel Raja has never been a CNN employee. As a freelancer, his reporting contributed to some newsgathering efforts from Islamabad. However, in light of these abhorrent statements, he will not be working with CNN again in any capacity.
— Matt Dornic (@mdornic) May 17, 2021
That’s a far cry from what Dornic told the Washington Examiner earlier in the day. According to the paper’s Jake Dima, “After originally saying he ‘never heard of’ Raja, Matt Dornic, a spokesman for CNN, told the Washington Examiner that the journalist would no longer be allowed to work with CNN in the future.”
Dima also noted another disturbing tweet from the anti-Semitic reporter:
Raja, who appears to be an ally of Palestine during the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, has shared several opinions on the matter via Twitter in recent days. On Saturday, he tweeted, “What the Jews are doing in Palestine is similar to what Indian Hindus are doing in Occupied Kashmir. Same tactics.”
CNN’s official public relations Twitter account has yet to post a comment about this situation. And Twitter still has Raja verified.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time a CNNer from the Middle East had spewed vile anti-Semitism. As NewsBusters reported in 2019, a photo editor named Mohammed Elshamy was fired after tweets from 2011 showed him celebrating the deaths of “4 jewish [sic] pigs” who were killed by Hamas. “HAMAS HAMAS HAMAS #Anti-Israel #Gaza #Palestine #Hamas,” another tweet cheered.
There seems to a pattern of lurking anti-Semitism that the network refused to root out. This is CNN.