Semafor, a global news website, and a leading Saudi daily Arab News, reported that MSNBC suspended the shows of three Muslim anchors Mehdi Hasan, Ayman Mohieddine and Ali Velshi who were “quietly taken out of the anchor’s chair since Hamas’ attack on Israel.”
“MSNBC needs to explain its position! Why would a network remove its three most informed insightful resources at a time when there (their) expertise is most needed to explain a conflict they understand better than all others in MSNNBC,” said Dr Moeed Pirzada, a US-based Pakistani journalist and analyst inn a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
MSNBC needs to explain its position! Why would a Network remove its three most informed insightful resources at a time when there expertise is most needed to explain a conflict they understand better than all others in MSNBC? https://t.co/Azo87HsM76
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) October 14, 2023
“Sunday will be a big test of MSNBC. If their 3 Muslim anchors still don’t host by then that would mean Mehdi will be sidelined for a week since his commentary. On Gaza, Velshi didn’t host this weekend, & Ayman didn’t host this weekend as well. A horrible look for the network,” said Wajahat Ali, another Muslim journalist and writer who contributes to publications like New York Times, BuzzFeed, Atlantic, etc.
Sunday will be a big test for MSNBC. If their 3 Muslim anchors still don’t host by then that would mean Mehdi will be sidelined for a week since his commentary on Gaza, Velshi didn’t host this weekend, & Ayman didn’t host this weekend as well. A horrible look for the network. https://t.co/6KZzsbQ41m
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) October 14, 2023
Ilhan Omar, one of the two Muslim members of US House of Representatives, also took to X to express her “shock” at the reported decision.
Muslims face routine discrimination and silencing campaigns based on our religion.
MSNBC is one of the few networks to give Muslim-Americans a prominent platform. This is a shocking decision that runs counter to our values of a free and open press. I hope it will be reversed. https://t.co/M2CTb6acKa
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 14, 2023
Another journalist and a cultural and media critique at @ajplus, called MSNBC’s decision “horrific”.
This is horrific. I have no words left. This is blatant anti-Muslim racism. Shame on you @MSNBC – and shame on this industry for illustrating again and again that we, as Muslims, are not welcome to work in this industry. @mehdirhasan @AymanM @AliVelshi https://t.co/bmuUUf94tX
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) October 13, 2023
Alan Maclleod, a senior staff writer/podcast producer at Mint Press News, said in a separate post on X: “If this were happening in China or another enemy country, it would make worldwide headlines…”
If this were happening in China or another enemy country, it would make worldwide headlines. pic.twitter.com/vrCuyFAriJ
— Alan MacLeod (@AlanRMacLeod) October 14, 2023
According to Semafor, the left-leaning news network did not air a scheduled Thursday night episode of “The Mehdi Hasan Show,” and dropped a plan for Mohieddine to anchor Joy Reid’s show on Thursday and Friday. “Sources also revealed that Velshi was being replaced by another anchor for his upcoming weekend shows,” it added.
MSNBC, however, “vehemently pushed back against any notion that either Hasan or Mohieddine were being sidelined in any way,” Semafor added
However, a leading Saudi daily, Arab News, reported that two sources directly involved with the decision within MSNBC confirmed the suspension. “There is a lot of unclarity over what happens next,” said one source. “But the mood is very similar to what had happened post 9/11 with the whole you are either with us or against us argument,” he added.
“Sadly, this has now gone beyond political views and is targeting anchors of a particular faith,” he said.
Arab News approached MSNBC but the network did not respond for comment by the time this story was published.
While Velshi is still reporting from the ground on other shows, what Arab News sources confirmed is that the shows have been suspended and the future of the three anchors at the network is unclear.
Mohyeldin, an Egyptian-American journalist and veteran NBC News correspondent covered the conflict from Gaza for two years.
Arab News is Saudi Arabia’s first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Media Group (SRMG).