WASHINGTON - Veteran US TV journalist Jim Clancy left CNN, the US international network, abruptly after 34 years, following a Twitter argument over Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that escalated to a verbal war between Clancy and pro-Israel social media users. Although neither Clancy nor CNN revealed the reasons for the departure, almost all media outlets connected it with a somewhat incoherent Twitter spat that began in the wake of the fatal attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine. ‘Jim Clancy is no longer with CNN. We thank him for more than three decades of distinguished service and wish him nothing but the best,’ said a terse statement from the Atlanta-headquartered network, which had sent Clancy as a reporter to Beirut, London, and Berlin before making him a senior anchor and contributor.

Clancy suggested that Charlie Hebdo aimed to poke fun not at Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but those who ‘distort his word’. ‘The cartoons never mocked the Prophet. They mocked how the cowards tried to distort his word. Pay attention,’ tweeted Clancy on January 7 - from an account that has since been deleted - referring to the magazine’s editorial output.

What followed was a storm of criticism, led by an anonymous pro-Israeli blogger and Oren Kessler, a Jewish-American Middle East analyst among others. The CNN reporter then tweeted ‘Hasbara?’ in response, implying that Kessler was engaging in public diplomacy on Israel’s behalf.  Clancy deleted the tweets in question and then his entire Twitter account, while CNN confirmed his resignation. By the end of last week, Clancy’s biography had been taken off the CNN website, and the journalist wrote a goodbye letter, saying ‘CNN has been a family to my own family,’ and thanking it for providing ‘great adventures and achievements.