As noted previously in this space, commentator Rula Jebreal was commonly labeled an “MSNBC contributor” or a “journalist” when she turned in her pundit appearances on the cable network. Then she appeared on Monday’s “Ronan Farrow Daily” and blasted the network — and U.S. media writ large — for a pro-Israeli bias in the coverage of hostilities with Hamas. The next time she showed up to commentate, on Chris Hayes’ prime-time show “All In,” an on-screen graphic identified her as a “Palestinian Journalist.”
Peeved would be a mild descriptor for how that decision left Jebreal: “I wasn’t invited as a ‘Palestinian’ voice and if they had told me I was going to be a ‘Palestinian’ voice, I would have said, ‘Invite someone else,’” she told the Erik Wemple Blog earlier this week.
Shifting Jebreal’s chyron from “MSNBC contributor” or “journalist” to “Palestinian Journalist” appeared suspect, especially considering that it came after she blasted MSNBC for alleged bias. So we asked MSNBC if it had ever previously identified her as a “Palestinian Journalist” on air. A network spokeswoman responded that the network used the label “because it’s how she self-identifies on her website.” See this screengrab that the network passed along:
MSNBC also argues that “other media outlets have also used the title.” Another screengrab from the network:
Fair enough — screengrabs are always helpful. They do not, however, answer the question of whether MSNBC had ever used this identifier before and, if not, why now?