The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s news network, suspended an employee on Friday for shooting a rifle at Islamic State terrorists while on assignment in Iraq.
Jason Buttrill, a chief researcher for The Blaze, bragged about opening fire against Islamic State from his personal Twitter account Thursday in the midst of covering the terror group’s occupation of Mosul.
“Major bucket list completed. Shoot at #ISIS ? Check!” Mr. Buttrill, a former Marine, said in a tweet that accompanied a photograph of himself behind the scope of a sniper rifle.
“I got off 6 shots. ISIS looked like ants on that scope,” he said in a follow-up tweet, using an alternative time for the Islamic State.
On Thursday evening, The Blaze’s website published an article touting Mr. Buttrill’s exploits with the headline “Exclusive: TheBlaze’s Jason Buttrill shoots at ISIS members and shares footage from the Mosul front.”
On Friday, however, The Blaze announced that it had recalled Mr. Buttrill back to the United States as a result of his recent actions.
“Jason Buttrill is a valued researcher for Mercury Radio Arts for a television show that airs on TheBlaze network. Given his military and security background, Mr. Buttrill was offered the opportunity for an important research assignment in Iraq. Due to his conduct, Mercury Radio Arts has recalled him back to the U.S. He has been suspended from further field research assignments,” The Blaze said in a statement.
The Blaze’s rebuking came on the heels of Mr. Buttrill’s actions igniting a firestorm on social media over the repercussions it could have with respect to journalists covering the fight against ISIS.
“Dude, when you get shot we can’t really go ‘oh boo-hoo for journalism,’ can we?” New York Times reporter and fellow Marine veteran C.J. Chivers tweeted Friday. “How about knocking off the bull[expletive].”
“Jason, journalists are detained and killed all over the world over false accusations of being combatants,” Jason Stern of the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a tweet of his own Friday. “This doesn’t help.”
While the U.S. currently lacks a program for embedding journalists in Iraq, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s anti-ISIS mission told the Military Times that reporters have the option of coordinating coverage directly with Iraqi security forces.
“We do not accept responsibility for reporters and do not have the logistical capabilities to provide basic life support or transportation to media in Northern Iraq,” Sgt. 1st Class Jose Colon told Military Times.
A LinkedIn profile in Mr. Buttrill’s name lists him as a chief researcher and writer for The Blaze News, and specifically as the head of research for the Glenn Beck Program. Mr. Buttrill was initially listed as a “correspondent” in Thursday’s online article, but The Blaze has since issued a correction stating he was on assignment in Iraq as a “researcher” for Mr. Beck’s news company.
Mr. Buttrill served as an intelligence specialist in the Marine Corps from January 1999 to January 2003, and was promoted to sergeant in July 2004 while serving in the Individual Ready Reserve, Military Times reported. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment, Military Times reported.