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Associated Press Defends Firing of New Reporter, Says Social Media Rules ‘Keep Our Journalists Safe’

AP journalists ”cannot take sides in public forums,“ a rep for the news service told TheWrap

The Associated Press on Friday defended its social media guidelines amid a firestorm over the firing of a young journalist for her posts.

A representative for the organization told TheWrap, “The Associated Press covers conflicts all over the world. Our social media guidelines exist to ensure AP’s ability to cover the news accurately and impartially, and to keep our journalists safe. Every AP journalist around the world has the responsibility to adhere to our news values and social media policy.”

A second representative added, “We have this policy so the comments of one person cannot create dangerous conditions for our journalists covering the story. Every AP journalist is responsible for safeguarding our ability to report on this conflict, or any other, with fairness and credibility, and cannot take sides in public forums.”

The AP drew intense backlash Thursday night after news broke that a young staffer was fired for her past tweets about Israel and Palestine. The axing took place just days after the AP’s Gaza bureau was decimated by Israeli forces.

Emily Wilder was a news associate at the AP only a few weeks when she was fired. In an initial statement to TheWrap, the publisher said, “While AP generally refrains from commenting on personnel matters, we can confirm Emily Wilder’s comments on Thursday that she was dismissed for violations of AP’s social media policy during her time at AP.”

Wilder frequently tweeted about the situation in the Middle East. Last Sunday, for instance, she tweeted: “‘objectivity’ feels fickle when the basic terms we use to report news implicitly stake a claim. using ‘israel’ but never ‘palestine,’ or ‘war’ but not ‘siege and occupation’ are political choices — yet media make those exact choices all the time without being flagged as biased.”

She later said she was “canceled” by the AP and not told specifically which post or posts had earned her the firing, which came after her college participation in Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine was called out by the Stanford College Republicans. She said she believes the AP caved to a Republican “witch hunt.”