Michael Oren says he left CNN of his own accord

Former ambassador to US denies being fired, says network exclusivity was impeding his patriotic duties during war

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Michael Oren, interviewed on CNN on a screen filled with images from Gaza (YouTube screenshot)
Michael Oren, interviewed on CNN on a screen filled with images from Gaza (YouTube screenshot)

Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren denied Monday that he was fired as a CNN analyst, saying that he asked to suspend his contract, which obligates him to interview exclusively to that network, so he could accept more requests from other media as well.

“I have a patriotic duty. That’s what I do — I speak for the state of Israel. And I was inundated with media requests and every one I turned down, I felt I wasn’t doing my duty,” Oren told The Times of Israel on Monday. Having received media inquiries from various television stations — including Fox, MSNBC, BBC, Channel 4, and even one network in China — Oren decided to forgo a handsome paycheck from CNN and make himself available to as many networks as possible, he said.

CNN had hired Oren as “a Middle East contributor” in January. According to his contract, he was not allowed to appear on other channels.

Mondoweiss, a pro-Palestinian website, quoted sources “knowledgable [sic] of the situation” saying that Oren was stripped of his job “after internal dissent within CNN that Oren’s classification as an ‘analyst’ was not suitable.”

But a spokesperson for CNN confirmed Oren’s version of the events. “Michael Oren requested that CNN suspend his agreement with the network so that he would be free to support and defend Israel before the international community during the current Gaza upheaval,” the spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

“CNN agreed to Ambassador Oren’s request to suspend the contract and he has continued to appear on our air as a guest.”

Oren said he would consider reinstating his contract with the network after Operation Protective Edge ends.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed