CNN Suspends Reporter for Tweet About Syrian Refugees

Syrian Refugees CNN
Stefano Schirato/REX Shutterstock

CNN has suspended global affairs correspondent Elise Labott after she tweeted about Syrian refugees and a bill that would make it harder for them to enter the United States, according to multiple reports.

Labott injected her own opinion about the bill in her tweet, along with the link to her story about the development.

“House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees. Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish,” she wrote earlier on Thursday in a tweet that is still up.

Media watchers questioned whether or not the tweet revealed an unfair bias, with the Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple writing, “Does this comport with CNN editorial guidelines?”

CNN has a strict social media policy for its reporters, reading, “If you publicly declare your preference for issues or candidates or one side or the other of the public policy issues CNN reports on, then your ability to be viewed as objective is compromised.”

The bill in question was passed in a Republican-led House Thursday by a 289-137 and suspends the program that allows Syrian and Iraqi refugees, a hot-button topic especially after the recent Paris terror attacks. President Obama has announced that he plans to veto the bill.

Labott has been with CNN since 2000. She was promoted to her current position last year.

Reps at CNN did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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  1. Kevin says:

    Perhaps you have heard of this person? “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”
    — Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

  2. Kevin says:

    S. B. Garrett says:
    November 20, 2015 at 5:49 pm
    Dear Kevin, Israel. You just described Israel as well as Iraq. One we support blindly, the other we invented reasons to attack. Your turn.

    Do you have any idea whatsoever as to why the USA has supported Israel? Do you have any idea as to why the USA attacked Iraq?

    • Kevin says:

      Democrat Quotes on Iraq
      Weapons of Mass Destruction

      “One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”
      –President Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

      “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
      –President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

      “Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”
      –Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

      “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”
      –Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

      “[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
      Letter to President Clinton, signed by:
      — Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998

      “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”
      -Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

      “Hussein has … chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”
      — Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

      “There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.”
      Letter to President Bush, Signed by:
      — Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001

      “We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them.”
      — Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

      “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
      — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

      “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
      — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

      “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
      — Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

      “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”
      — Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

      “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
      — Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

      “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years … We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”
      — Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

      “He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do”
      — Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

      “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
      — Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

      “We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.”
      — Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

      “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”
      — Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

  3. S. B. Garrett says:

    Laughable considering how much bias they regularly show in their reporting. Just watch robin Meade in the morning, she makes all kinds of side comments about stories that clearly indicate bias, so does Erin Burnett… You cannot watch the news without the “anchor” injecting their bias.

  4. MIchael Kozaczek says:

    Shame on CNN. THIS is freedom of the press?

  5. Michelle Mackenzie says:

    Since when have CNN reporters and anchors ever been fair and objective? Wolf Blitzer is a notoriously biased conservative and shows it everytime he opens his mouth and drones on in his dreary monotone voice. Elise Labott is being treated unfairly simply because she is female and doesn’t have the clout of the boring Blitzer.

    • Kevin says:

      Yeah, CNN is so Conservative now that they are almost as bad as Fox News. Do you know of any nice liberal networks that we can watch?

  6. Richard says:

    Seriously? Suspending her for commenting on the INCREDIBLE INHUMANITY of this Congress? Sometimes, issues are so overwhelmingly important they REQUIRE a sober, civilized response. Almost 61 years old—have faithfully watched CNN for DECADES. That’s frkng over. Don’t give one Damn what ur policy says.

  7. CNN your station is racist and bigoted!!! Bring that girl back !! Do not be a bunch of idiots that are running from the truth !!! Come on stand up for justice and doing right by mankind !!!!

    • Kevin says:

      Richard, you are clearly a very bright and informed person. Please tell us about the INHUMANITY perpetrated upon the Syrian people for the last few years, since obama refused to enforce his own “red line”. I am sure that you know all about that, and can educate us all. https://www.yahoo.com/politics/syrian-atrocity-photos-are-real-fbi-says-photo-124080891291.html

      A yearlong analysis by the FBI has concluded that controversial photographs showing the torture of Syrian political prisoners are authentic, providing powerful new evidence to support charges of extensive human rights violations by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

      The photographs, smuggled out of Syria by a defector two years ago, show no evidence of being manipulated and “appear to depict real people and events,” the FBI concluded in a report compiled at the request of the State Department.

      A top State Department official said the FBI report, a copy of which was obtained exclusively by Yahoo News, could provide fresh impetus for international war crimes prosecutors to bring criminal charges against top Syrian officials.

      But, by refocusing attention on Syrian abuses, it could also complicate Obama administration efforts to persuade Congress to back the Iranian nuclear deal signed today in Vienna.

      Iran has been a major backer of the Assad regime, and Assad himself today sent a congratulatory telegram to the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying he expected the accord to lead to more support “with greater drive.”

      After more than a year of analysis by the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., the five-page report was completed last month. It focused on 242 of the grisly photos — there were more than 55,000 in all — showing emaciated, bruised and scorched bodies, some lined up in a warehouse with ribs protruding, in scenes that have been compared to images from the Nazi Holocaust.

      They were taken by a former official government photographer-turned-defector who, using the codename “Caesar,” smuggled them out of Syria two years ago on thumb drives concealed in his shoes.

  8. John Hanson says:

    When CNN files reports that appear to be “unbiased” but really support the nationwide fearmongering that is transpiring in the USA, I do not consider that objective. When CNN walks lockstep with the State Department and the Pentagon I do not consider that to be objective. I watched Wolf Blitzer almost pee his pants from fear yesterday about “closing the door” to terrorists, but not once mention that toppling Kaddafi, Assad, or Saddam Hussein brought about this terrorism. And CNN is going to suspend someone for editorializing her version of fear? What a corrupt corporate media we subscribe to!! Well, not me. I watch Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, and RT.

    • GKN says:

      Absolutely, John. Flipped back and forth between CNN, the BBC and French channels throughout it all, and not were mere rumors reported as ‘facts’ on CNN, but they seemed intent on inciting mass-hysteria most of the time. Disgusting. Thanks for the tips on some alternatives. I’ll check them out.

      • S. B. Garrett says:

        Dear Kevin, Israel. You just described Israel as well as Iraq. One we support blindly, the other we invented reasons to attack. Your turn.

      • Kevin says:

        Some people thought that I was in the CIA, but I really wasn’t.

      • Kevin says:

        ” I watch Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, and RT.”
        So then, inquiring minds might ask, “How did you see Wolf Blitzer on CNN?”
        I will accept your supposition that you are very knowledgeable about the situation in the Middle East. In your opinion, what do you think would have happened if the USA had decided to leave Saddam in power? I mean, I thought he was a very benevolent Dictator, who was kind and generous to his people and was only looking for peace in the Middle East, and he was surely not the sort of person to invade any other country or try to develop nuclear weapons or, for that matter, any sort of WMD at all. I mean, he never got into a war with Iran, and he never attacked and took over Kuwait, with the intention to attack Saudi Arabia, so we know that he would have never done any of those things. Clearly, you wish that he was still in power, so, in your expert opinion, how do you think that he would have acted, had we never taken him out of power? BTW, he also has two really good sons, who never hurt a fly, as I am sure that you know. Thanks for your expert opinion, which I expect that we will get shortly. BTW, I am sure that you are also aware of “Operation Opera”. Please enlighten us about that as well.

  9. ejhickey says:

    she should have been suspended for 2 years instead of 2 weeks

  10. Jim Cashman says:

    Interesting. Directly under the screen capture of the CNN broadcast the Kissing Fish used in their report of the suspension of correspondent Elise Labott is a very interesting Breaking News banner. It states “Airstrikes Killing Civilians in ISIS Capital”. This seems to me to be an opinion that ISIS should be recognized as a country. In my opinion Daesh(ISIS) is not a country and thus can NOT have a capital. They may have a city they are using as a headquarters for their Army/Gang but in no way is it a Capital. Since these two opinions (yours and mine) are opposing opinions, then I believe you have editorialized in your news scroll.Will someone be getting a suspension for this?

  11. Paula Anne says:

    Would reporting about McCarthy’s fear mongering also require that the reporter to treat the story as business as usual? I worry whether there is a balance when the push on the radical Conservative side is so violent. I hope this is just a slap on the hand cause if it isn’t it would cause me to rethink my confidence in CNN.

    • Kevin says:

      You are so right. All of those mean, nasty, radical, violent Conservatives should open the door to all of the displaced and threatened people on the entire planet. They are just mean and cruel and greedy. Of course, there is the fact that there have been atrocities going on in Syria for quite some time now, and, the last time I checked the newspaper, we have a Democratic President who is in complete control of our foreign policy. I wonder what he has been up to?

      • Kevin says:

        A yearlong analysis by the FBI has concluded that controversial photographs showing the torture of Syrian political prisoners are authentic, providing powerful new evidence to support charges of extensive human rights violations by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

        The photographs, smuggled out of Syria by a defector two years ago, show no evidence of being manipulated and “appear to depict real people and events,” the FBI concluded in a report compiled at the request of the State Department.

        A top State Department official said the FBI report, a copy of which was obtained exclusively by Yahoo News, could provide fresh impetus for international war crimes prosecutors to bring criminal charges against top Syrian officials.

  12. Kevin says:

    I don’t see where anyone noted that there was bi partisan support for this bill. With all of the cable news we have now, there is so much “opinion related content” from political supporters and commentators that the people whose job is to be a “journalist” not a “commentator” are very tempted to inject their own personal “opinions” into the news that they are supposed to “report on” accurately and fairly. It is their job, specifically, to present all valid sides of an issue in a truthful way and not to inject their own “opinion” into an actual News Story. As Sgt. Friday would say, “Just the facts mam, just the facts.”

  13. whostartedit says:

    Actually, there is nothing unobjective about a mention of the Statue of Liberty in this instance. The inscription therein is in no way vague.

  14. Mike James says:

    Journalists have forgotten their only role is to report facts. Just the facts. We should not know, based on your reporting what your personal opinions or beliefs are.

  15. Mia B. says:

    Better to be a decent and responsible human being than an ‘objective’ reporter. There are other jobs.

  16. Beth C. Pfohl says:

    Simply unprofessional. Keep your biases to yourself Ms. Labott.

  17. Journos Are Scum says:

    All journos are SCUM of the earth and the reason ISIS is on our ass: Scum of the earth: all journos… are SCUM of the earth…

  18. David says:

    What? Watch CNN for a few minutes and almost all the anchors inject opinions and editorials. That’s their “News” format today – discussion and inciting further sound bytes. This is the new journalism. Why take it out on this one employee?

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  20. charcramer says:

    Smart journalists know not to tweet everything they are thinking. She was working. Representing the company. If she doesn’t get that, she does not need to be working in journalism.

  21. Pl19 says:

    It’s funny that for stating a fact, she had to go through this. If I remember correctly part of the message on the Statue of Liberty says, and I’m paraphrasing, that she is the mother of expatriates or people who have nowhere to go, so in fact She would be bowing her head in anguish as what she represents is being prevented by this bill. Just saying.

    • Alan Peters says:

      Saying the Statue of Liberty is “bowing her head in anguish” is not stating a fact (unless Lady Liberty is badly in need of renovations!), it’s expressing a partisan opinion on a bill she’s reporting on. Barring such opinions in that situation is a very old principle (yes, often violated) of the news business. Would you be as supportive if the tweet expressed the opposite view of the bill?

  22. Tommy Marx says:

    This is why I don’t watch CNN. They’re so concerned about not showing any bias whatsoever (as if that’s humanly possible) that they end up some whitewashed crap news outlet that is terrified of offending anyone. They post the most blatant fanatic right-wing crap, seeking to leech off of Fox News audience (as if), but something like this happens every other week and they’re cool with it.

    • Alan Peters says:

      Okay, but if the bill is as bad as Elise Labott (and you, I’m guessing) think it is, wouldn’t that be conveyed just as efficiently by blandly and factually stating its provisions? How does tweeting or not tweeting a personal opinion have anything to do with network policies that you believe result in “whitewashed crap”? (And I don’t see how your view that they’re terrified of “showing any bias whatsoever” harmonizes with your accusation that they “post the most blatant fanatic right-wing crap”–which is it?)

  23. BocaRatso says:

    Imagine if Fox had the same policy. The sets would be empty.

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