After taking MSNBC to task last month for its coverage of the conflict in Gaza, Rula Jebreal shifted her criticism to Fox News over the weekend.
During an interview that aired Saturday, Jebreal appeared to catch Fox host Geraldo Rivera off guard with a question about the channel’s diversity.
“How many people here on Fox News do you have that are from Arab descent?” she asked.
After a slight pause, Rivera confessed that he was stumped.
“I’ll tell you,” Jebreal said. “Zero.”
During a memorable appearance on MSNBC a few weeks ago, Jebreal accused the network of giving disproportionate airtime to pro-Israel officials.
“Look at how many airtime Netanyahu and his folks have on air on a daily basis. Andrea Mitchell and others,” Jebreal said, referring to the MSNBC daytime host and NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent. “I never see one Palestinian being interviewed on theses same issues.”
Jebreal was identified as an “MSNBC contributor” during that appearance on “Ronan Farrow Daily,” a description that turned out to be inaccurate.
Jebreal’s contract with MSNBC ended earlier this summer, and she told TPM that she voluntarily chose to explore other options. But after her on-air criticism, Jebreal said on Twitter that her “forthcoming TV appearances” had been canceled, fueling speculation that she had been punished by MSNBC brass.
MSNBC said that her originally scheduled appearance on July 22 had been bumped in order to re-air an interview with with Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian-American teenager who was beaten by Israeli forces, but that claim was dubious.
Nevertheless, she was welcomed back on MSNBC that same evening for an interview with Chris Hayes, during which she was labeled as a “Palestinian journalist.”
The characterization offended Jebreal.
“For me, the point is I am a journalist. So I go wherever I find better opportunity, stronger possibilities, and I am called there as a journalist. I am not called as a ‘black woman.’ I am not called as a ‘Palestinian,'” she told TPM in a phone interview. “I was never called to be hired by MSNBC because I was Palestinian. [I was hired] because of my foreign policy expertise. I talked about Egypt, I talked about Tunisia, I talked about the Arab Spring, I talked about Yemen, about Iraq, about Syria. And suddenly I become the ‘Palestinian journalist’?”