Former CNN host Lara Baldesarra responded to the news that Canada was celebrating its first hijab-wearing Muslim news anchor by asserting that she was warned against wearing a Christian cross while on air.
Toronto’s CityNews network “suddenly has its first hijab-wearing news anchor on commercial television,” with Ginella Massa asserting that it “shouldn’t be a big deal.”
With network bosses lauding the move as a big leap forward for “diversity,” Massa used the spotlight to go on an anti-Donald Trump rant, claiming that his presidency will lead to Islamophobia and “hatred” towards Muslims.
However, when it comes to “diversity,” Christian presenters who want to display their religious faith while on air haven’t been made to feel quite as welcome.
Former CNN host Lara Baldesarra responded to my sardonic tweet that “the reaction to a Christian wearing a giant cross would be just as sympathetic,” by tweeting, “Any guesses which channel told me it was “inappropriate” for me to wear my cross on air?”
Any guesses which channel told me it was "inappropriate" for me to wear my cross on air? https://t.co/iEgToOf3fR
— Lara Baldesarra (@LaraBaldesarra) November 28, 2016
It is not clear which network Baldesarra is referring to, although there is no record of her working for CityNews, so she presumably means CNN told her not to wear the cross.
While hijab-wearing Muslims are being welcomed as hosts on western news networks (UK’s Channel 4 also has one), presenters who show even subtle signs of their Christian faith are dissuaded from doing so.
Back in 2006, the BBC debated whether or not to allow Fiona Bruce to wear a Christian cross after bosses “debated banning the news reader’s discreet cross necklace.” Bruce ended up not wearing the cross anyway.
Baldesarra left CNN in April 2015. She has since commented on the failure of the media to identity the problem of Islamic terrorism for what it really represents.
“Why call it “terrorism”? Just call it Radical Islamism. It’s hate, it’s death, it’s an ideology – and this is it at work,” tweeted Baldesarra after the Nice attack earlier this year.
With that attitude, it’s unlikely you’ll see her back on CNN any time soon.
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