THE ASSOCIATED PRESS sent a memo to the news agency’s editorial staff this weekend about its controversial decision to fire a young staff reporter, Emily Wilder, following a conservative campaign to have her removed over her college activism regarding Israel-Palestine. The memo, obtained by The Intercept, assured staffers that “we hear you” and “you will have a voice,” then goes on to stand by the decision. “We did not make it lightly,” the memo notes. Signed by 10 senior executives, one signature is conspicuously absent: AP’s Executive Editor Sally Buzbee.
On Monday, Buzbee insisted to NPR that she had no involvement in the decision, saying that she had already handed over day-to-day operations after accepting a new job at the Washington Post. Buzbee’s first day as the Post’s executive editor will be June 1.
Two AP staffers, who spoke to The Intercept on the condition of anonymity to avoid professional reprisal, said that Buzbee’s distancing from the issue reflects how controversial the firing is — both within the news agency and beyond. (Lauren Easton, a spokesperson for AP, declined to comment on why Buzbee did not sign the memo.)
“Sally doesn’t want the controversy directly attached to her name,” one of the AP staffers speculated.