Jim Clancy Leaves CNN After 34 Years Over Angry Online Clash With Supporters of Israel

January 16th, 2015 4:55 PM

For more than three decades, international correspondent Jim Clancy reported the news and anchored several programs for the Cable News Network.

That long-time record came to an abrupt end on Friday, when he left CNN more than a week after he got into an angry Twitter argument in which he claimed that people who disagree with him regarding Mohammed cartoons are “agents for Israel” and used a derogatory term for disabled individuals.

Clancy's memo began:

After nearly 34 years with Cable News Network, the time has come to say farewell! It has been my honor to work alongside all of you for all of these years.

This is one of the greatest news organizations in the world. It has truly revolutionized information delivery while driving technological advances in how we gather the news.

According to the Honest Reporting website, the exchange began when Clancy issued a bizarre defense of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed published by a Danish newspaper in 2005 and by Charlie Hebdo in 2011, which led to violent protests in both western capitals and throughout the Islamic world.

“The cartoons NEVER mocked the Prophet,” Clancy wrote. “They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word. Pay attention.”

Soon afterwards, Oren Kessler of the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies declared that Clancy’s claim was “absolutely untrue” because Charlie Hebdo had been previously targeted for publishing an issue in which the prophet Mohammed was listed as a “guest editor.”

The CNN reporter -- who has been obsessed with Israeli settlement policy -- shot back that the man challenging him is serving as an Israeli propaganda agent (commonly known as “Hasbara,” which refers to public relations efforts by Israel supporters to disseminate positive information about the country).

Kessler responded: “Huh? What on Earth are you talking about? I call you out on your unfamiliarity with the facts, and that's your response? Extraordinary.”

The pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon entered the argument by stating: “You might want to actually look at the cartoons before tweeting about them. I have a collection.”

“This is great,” Clancy replied. A “pro-Israel voice try [sic] to convince us that cartoonists were really anti-Muslim, and that's why they were attacked. FALSE.”

“These accounts are part of a campaign to do PR for Israel (including “Jews Making News”) but not HR (Human Rights),” he continued. “Here's the rub: Those organizations” have about 50 followers each.

In another ad-hominem attack, this time against criticism by Twitter user @HumanRights2K, Clancy wrote: “Thanks for the glimpse into your dreams. Everyone who stands for Human Rights is anti-Semitic. Great moniker, that.”

Other tweeters slammed the long-time newsman, including @pgplant1970, who posted: “I'm 1000% convinced Jim Clancy is straight up drunk tweeting. Still no excuse; still deserves massive slap.”

As Honest Reporting also pointed out: “What does it say about Clancy’s state of mind that he cannot distinguish between a genuine pro-Israel blog site and another that expressly promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories?”

Clancy’s tirade was also described as “unhinged” and “extraordinarily ill-judged” for someone of his stature.

The CNN newsman then revealed a concept he believes many hold: “The notion that every Muslim is a terrorist opponent of truth, justice and the American way needs to be tested. Methinks.”

When another Twitter user told Clancy that no pro-Israel voices had articulated the positions he was erroneously ascribing to them, the anchor launched into another hostile tirade:

Get a grip, junior. It’s my Friday night. You and the Hasbara team need to pick on some cripple on the edge of the herd.

The CNN anchor's use of the word “cripple” in an insulting fashion didn’t escape the notice of a disability rights advocate: Jay Ruderman, head of the Ruderman Family Foundation -- an organization closely involved with disability issues -- who tweeted: “Cripple is a derogatory term.”

In the aftermath of the online exchange, Clancy blocked his critics and eventually took his account down entirely.

Another segment of Clancy's farewell memo read:

Through it all, CNN has been a family to my own family. That means something.

As I reflect on all of the great adventures and achievements of the past, I wish you great success in the future.

A CNN spokesperson confirmed the news, saying: “Jim Clancy is no longer with CNN. We thank him for more than three decades of distinguished service and wish him nothing but the best.”

Meanwhile, it fell to @Yar_Rosenberg to sum up the situation: “Uh, after these incredibly biased and inappropriate tweets, I hope CNN won't be sending this guy to cover Israel.”