1. Introduction of the Issue
CNN recently terminated its contract with Marc Lamont Hill for Commentator services. A quick search of the Internet does not show a direct related statement from CNN. However, it's generally accepted that this is true and the best second hand statement seen (from CNN Business) is:
CNN severs ties with liberal pundit Marc Lamont Hill after his controversial remarks on Israel:
Why It Happened?
So far CNN has not publicly stated why it terminated the contract so you have to try and deduce/guess why. A summary of the first page of a related Google search gives popular reasons/guesses. Note that those critical of Hill give relatively better potential main specific reasons for why the contract was terminated and those supportive of Hill give relatively worse reasons:
The Washington Post = Apologists for Israel conducted a smear and harassment campaign.
Jewish Journal = For saying “free Palestine from the river to the sea,”.
Jewish Exponent = For saying “free Palestine from the river to the sea,”.
Campus Reform = For saying “free Palestine from the river to the sea,”.
Insider NJ = For supporting equal rights for Palestinians.
The Inquirer = For saying “free Palestine from the river to the sea,”.
Al Dia = For saying “free Palestine from the river to the sea,”.
TruthOut = For saying “free Palestine from the river to the sea,”.
BreakingIsraelNews = For saying “free Palestine from the river to the sea,”.
Ebony = For saying “free Palestine from the river to the sea,”.
CNN has not released any information about the contract between CNN and Hill so the terms needed to be guessed at. Something to look at than would be known contract information from similar contracts between commentators and major networks, especially CNN. Unfortunately CNN also does not appear to release general information regarding contracts with Commentators either. Since Hill and others who have had their contracts terminated by CNN have not stated exactly what was in the contract that caused its termination we can only deduce that one term of the contract was that the Commentator was prohibited from revealing the terms of the contract.
2. Possible Terms of the Contract that Caused Termination
Commentator contracts often limit the commentator from making comments that the Network considers overly negative such as inflammatory, prejudiced, biased, controversial and false. The Network could decide that a Commentator went over the limit with a single comment, an entire commentary or cumulative comments in commentaries on the same subject.
A contract could also have a term that the Network reserves the right to terminate the contract without cause. This could be caused by a Commentator being too controversial, outside pressure on the Network or the Network simply deciding that this Commentator was not a very good commentator.
3. The Best Reason is the Worst Comment
The best reason to terminate is usually the one worst comment because individual comments are easier to publicize than cumulative ones. Let's look for the possible worst comment by Hill in his recent speech to the UN:
The worst comment appears to be:
“Contrary to western mythology, black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Ghandi and nonviolence," Hill said (see video below.) "Rather, slave revolts and self-defense and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom. If we are to operate in true solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility. If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself. We must prioritize peace, but we must not romanticize or fetishize it. We must advocate and promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing."
In just one paragraph Hill manages to present the entire range of positions on Palestinian Terrorism:
1) Advocate against it.
2) Advocate against it but don't criticize it.
3) Accept it but do not prioritize it.
4) Advocate for it.
Of course the worst of this range would be advocating Palestinian Terrorism. Hill does not say this directly but a strong implication from being in favor of Palestinian Terrorism would be somewhere in between also being in favor of increased Israeli civilian casualties or at least a position with a consequence of increased Israeli civilian casualties. Note that in general an increase in Palestinian Terrorism (or for those who think the two words do not go together like Arafat & Nobel or President & Trump, "violence") is exponentially more likely to cause exponentially more Palestinian casualties than Israeli.
In summary Hill is clearly in favor of increased Palestinian violence and his being unclear on his exact position of Palestinian Terrorism and the related effect of increased Israeli civilian casualties leaves it open, especially to his critics, to interpret the worst.
The next best worst comment appears to be:
"Give us what justice requires -- and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea"
"from the river to the sea" has always been not just a but the main political slogan of The Palestinians/Hamas supporting a goal of complete Palestinian control of all of Israel:
From the river to the sea
4. The Cumulative Reason for Termination
Per the above Hill at a minimum called for increased Palestinian violence and invoked the traditional Palestinian rallying cry for the elimination of the Country of Israel in the same speech.
Further cumulative effect may have been that the above also made CNN consider Hill's previous controversial comments on the same subject such as:
“How can you romanticize nonviolence when you have a state that is at all moments waging war against you, against your bodies, poisoning your water, limiting your access to water, locking up your children, killing them,” Hill said. “We can’t romanticize resistance.”
Yikes! Since retracted.
which is very different than say, 10 years ago or 15 years ago in other wars like Lebanon, et cetera. As a result, it not only serves a defensive purpose but de facto serves an offensive purpose. "
Hill is against Israel having the Iron Dome defense which helps protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian Terrorist Rocket attacks.
Hill was a supporter of Ward Churchill who was a 911 denier.
Until recently Hill said he did not know if Louis Farrakhan was a racist and anti-semite:
Hill invokes Leila Khaled, a Palestinian Terrorist, in the context of violently resisting what he considers to be a violent State:
The Washington Free Beacon
As that great 20th century philosopher Goose would say, "The List is long and distinguished."
The irony here is that Hill is really being vetted after his contract was terminated.
The best reason Marc Lamont Hill's Commentator contract with CNN was terminated may have been a combination of the recent worst comment he has made in a UN speech advocating at a minimum increased Palestinian violence against Israel along with the cumulative effect of his prior controversial comments on the same subject of Israel. CNN promotes itself as being a relatively objective Network and while trying to present both sides of an issue trying to avoid commentators with overly radical positions.
For those who need a simpler conclusion, based on what he should have known were CNN's standards for commentators, he was not a very good commentator. And for my Jewish readers, in the simplest terms, Marc Lamont Hill is a putz.
Perhaps the better question/title for this post is why didn't CNN terminate its contract with Hill earlier?