Associated Press journalists published a open letter on Monday, denouncing the decision to fire Emily Wilder, a young employee targeted by a Republican smear campaign regarding her pro-Palestinian defense as a student.
“It has left our colleagues, in particular emerging journalists, wondering how we treat our own, what culture we embrace and what values we really uphold as a company,” the journalists wrote.
Wilder, a 2020 Stanford graduate, was a intern in the Republic of Arizona before the AP hired her for an entry-level role in Phoenix.
She announced her new position in April, tweeting photos showing her wearing an AP logo. She started as a news associate in early May but was fired weeks later, according to the company, for violating its social media policy. She and other AP staff remain confused about how.
Wilder was fired shortly after Republicans At Stanford, her pro-Palestinian advocacy story resurfaced as a college student. Conservative outlets He published the story and prominent characters, including the Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton shared it.
“They told me that my editors were only hoping to support me as I received a flood of sexist, anti-Semitic, racist and violent comments and messages,” Wilder wrote in a statement.
“Less than 48 hours later, the AP fired me. What future does it promise to aspiring journalists that an institution like the Associated Press would sacrifice those with less power to the cruel trolling of a group of anonymous thugs?
Last week, an AP spokesperson said: “We can confirm Emily Wilder’s comments that she was fired for violating AP’s social media policy during her time at the AP.”
The firing came days after a building that housed an AP office in Gaza was destroyed by Israeli action.
The AP’s social media policy, the spokesperson said, was designed to ensure that “no one person can create dangerous conditions for our journalists covering the story. Each 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 ”.
Still, Wilder’s firing has sparked outcry from journalists, many of whom wonder why the AP chose to harm a young professional rather than appreciate a learning moment.
“The fact that the AP refused to stand up for her when the going got tough underscores exactly what people have been saying all day: Only the powerful survive. The rules only apply to the vulnerable, ”tweeted Megan Taros, who reports for the Republic of Arizona.
In the open letter, AP employees criticized the company’s willingness to fire Wilder.
“We are often the target of people unhappy with scrutiny,” staff members wrote. “What happens when they organize a smear campaign directed at another of us?
“Once we decide to play this game on the terms of those who act in bad faith, we cannot win.”
The AP did not immediately comment on the letter.
Wilder’s termination too revitalized conversations on journalistic impartiality.
“A reckoning is coming in American journalism,” tweeted Julián Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Good. It is time to rethink a notion of ‘objectivity’ and ‘neutrality’ that always privileged the status quo and all who benefit from it.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism