Back in Gaza, Mohyeldin resumes reporting.
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) July 20, 2014
While commentators including Greenwald take the view that social media – both Mohyeldin’s usage of it and the response to NBC’s decision to pull him from the assignment – is driving NBC’s decisions, NBC sources offer a more mundane view:
Everyone’s looking for a conspiracy and missing the real story, which is a news division making mistakes through ratings nervousness
The sources say News President Deborah Turness initially considered using Mohyeldin as an eyewitness reporter for the Nightly News segment on the deaths of four boys on a beach in the 2014 Gaza conflict but is disappointed in his ‘tracking,’ or narration of the package, and gave the script to senior foreign correspondent Engels. Nightly News competes with ABC’s World News for the top Nielsen ratings spot. Network source:
The producers are so paranoid about the ratings, they’ll do anything to stick with the faces viewers know and trust — so that would be Richard over Ayman […] Plus, there is no tolerance if a story is fed in and doesn’t live up to expectations
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) July 18, 2014
Ayman Mohyeldin has done extraordinary reporting throughout the escalation of the conflict in Gaza, filing 25+ reports over the past 17 days, including his invaluable and well-documented contribution to the story on the deaths of the four Palestinian children on Wednesday. As with any news team in conflict zones, deployments are constantly reassessed. We’ve carefully considered our deployment decisions and we will be sending Ayman back to Gaza over the weekend. We look forward to his contributions in the coming days.
NBC tells Mohyeldin to leave his reporting assignment in Gaza immediately, citing ‘security concerns’ as Israel prepares a ground invasion. He is replaced on Nightly News by NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engels, a fellow Arabic speaker who reports from Tel Aviv over footage obtained by Mohyeldin’s crew of Israeli shelling that killed four children on a Gaza beach earlier the same day. No official statement is issued by the network.
Mohyeldin uploads and quickly deletes nearly identical posts each on Facebook and Twitter regarding a statement by the U.S. that Hamas’ rejection of a ceasefire offer has led to the deaths of Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach. The Facebook post:
The #US State Department Spokesperson just said that #Hamas is ultimately responsible for #Israel shelling and killing 4 boys who were cousins aged 9-11 because Hamas didn’t accept the #ceasefire. Discuss among yourselves.
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