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Rep. Rashida Tlaib speaks at a hearing

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) speaks during a hearing on December 1, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Host 'Censored and Fired' by The Hill Over Segment on Tlaib Naming Israeli Apartheid

"Sadly, Israel is an apartheid state and we have to push back," said progressive commentator Katie Halper. "And when we encounter censorship, we can't just run away with our tails between our legs."

Jake Johnson

Progressive commentator Katie Halper said Thursday that she was "censored and fired" by the corporate-owned media outlet The Hill over a segment defending Rep. Rashida Tlaib's characterization of Israel as an apartheid state, a label that mainstream human rights organizations have used to describe the government's grotesque treatment of Palestinians.

Halper's segment was prepared for Hill TV's morning program "Rising"—for which she worked as a guest co-host—but executives at the publication blocked the monologue from airing on the platform, an intervention that another Hill TV co-host, Ryan Grim of The Intercept, described as unprecedented for the show.

"I've recorded more than 150 [monologues]. There is no approval process: A co-host files a script, which is loaded into a teleprompter," Grim wrote Friday in a piece about the spiked Halper segment. "The monologue is then recorded, with a back-and-forth discussion and debate with the other co-host following it. The segment is then uploaded to a variety of platforms along with the rest of the show."

"But Halper—who spoke publicly about the censorship Thursday evening on her livestream—said that Monday's process was different," Grim continued. "After the taping of the segment, producers asked co-host Robby Soave to do what's known as a 'pick up,' a fairly standard editorial addition to a segment. In this case, Soave was asked to repeat something that had already been included, namely the perspective of Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt that stood in opposition to Tlaib. Later, Halper was told the segment was being reviewed and held up. Later in the week, she was told it wouldn't run."

Central to the blocked segment, which Halper later delivered in full for the independent outlet BreakThrough News, were Tlaib's (D-Mich.) remarks during a recent Palestinian rights event.

"I want you all to know that among progressives, it becomes clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel's apartheid government," said Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress.

Tlaib's comments prompted a firestorm of criticism from fellow Democrats, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and television news pundits who rushed to distort the Michigan lawmaker's remarks.

In her monologue, Halper argued that the backlash against Tlaib was "outrageous" and made the case that Israel's unjust laws and brutalization of Palestinians meet the definition of "apartheid"—a conclusion that Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B'Tselem, and other major rights groups have also reached.

Watch Halper's segment on BreakThrough News:

Grim reported Friday that "the decision of whether to post the segment was kicked from 'Rising' producers to The Hill's editor-in-chief Bob Cusack."

"In a call with Halper on Wednesday," Grim added, "[Cusack] framed Halper's segment as similar to an op-ed submission, telling her that The Hill accepts some submissions and rejects other submissions, and that this right extends to Hill TV journalism as well."

During her livestream on Thursday, Halper said that when she pushed back against the decision not to air her segment, she was fired both as a co-host and as a regular contributor to the program. The Hill is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which bills itself as "America's largest local television and media company."

Censorship of content that criticizes the Israeli government's systematic dehumanization and abuse of Palestinians is hardly novel—as Halper noted, the decision by Hill TV higher-ups to squash her segment represents "yet another case of censorship over this issue."

"Don't worry, we're not going anywhere," Halper said. "By we, I mean people who actually talk about these issues, especially the issue of Israel/Palestine... There are people out there who cover this issue and, in doing so, risk their lives—they lose their lives or their livelihoods. I'm going to be fine."

"I just wanted to make sure to get the word out there about this," she added. "Sadly, Israel is an apartheid state and we have to push back. And when we encounter censorship, we can't just run away with our tails between our legs."

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