NBC Fires Contrite Arnett Over Iraqi
Derek Caney and Mark Wilkinson 1st April 2003
Yahoo! News: http://story.news.yahoo.com
American television network NBC said on Monday it
had fired veteran reporter Peter Arnett after he told
Iraqi television the U.S. war plan against Saddam
Hussein had failed.
who as a CNN reporter in 1991 was one of the few Western
journalists reporting from Baghdad during the first
Gulf War, said in an interview on Sunday with state-owned
Iraqi television that the U.S. military would need
to rewrite its war plan following Iraqi resistance.
is re-appraising the battlefield, delaying the war,
maybe a week, and re-writing the war plan," Arnett
said in the interview. "The first war plan has
failed because of Iraqi resistance now they are trying
to write another war plan."
who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Vietnam
War, told NBC's "Today" show, "I said
in that interview essentially what we all know about
the war, that there have been delays in implementing
policy, there have been surprises.
clearly by giving that interview I created a firestorm
in the United States and for that I am truly sorry.
My stupid misjudgement was to spend fifteen minutes
in an impromptu interview with Iraqi television,"
assignment with NBC and National Geographic represented
a chance for redemption after he was fired from CNN
in 1998 after the network retracted a documentary,
in which Arnett alleged that U.S. commandos had used
sarin gas on American defectors in the Vietnam war.
said in a statement it was wrong for Arnett to grant
an interview with state-controlled Iraqi TV at a time
of war and chastised him for making personal observations
remarks were analytical in nature and were not intended
to be anything more," the network said.
Sunday, Arnett told Iraqi television that American
war planners had underestimated the determination
of Iraqi troops to fight U.S. and British troops and
that the Pentagon seemed to be amending its original
which had been using Arnett's reports, also severed
ties with him. "I'm not aware of anybody in the
journalism community who has seen the war plan, much
less Peter Arnett," said Erik Sorenson, MSNBC
president and general manager.
just inappropriate and arguably unpatriotic for an
American to be communicating these things to the Iraqi
government and the Iraqi people," he added.
how much of a priority patriotism should be for an
objective journalist, he said, "When you go on
state-controlled television after Iraq's vice president
promised to send terrorists into your country, I do
think some patriotism is appropriate in this instance."
Saturday after a suicide car bomb that killed at least
four U.S. soldiers, Iraq's vice president Taha Yassin
Ramadan said it would use any method that "stops
or kills the enemy."
also said there was a "growing challenge to President
Bush about the conduct of the war and also opposition
to the war."
view echoed similar comments in many U.S. media after
the rapid advance of U.S. forces through southern
Iraq slowed south of Baghdad amid disruptive attacks
on its long supply lines and persistent resistance,
particularly in the towns.
remarks were received with anger by the administration
in Washington. One White House source said they were
based on "a position of complete ignorance."
another media development, veteran reporter Geraldo
Rivera, a correspondent for Fox News, is being removed
from Iraq by the U.S. military for reporting Western
troop movements in the war, the Pentagon said on Monday.
of reporters from around the world are currently assigned
to U.S. and British military units to report the war
in Iraq under ground rules that allow them freedom
to report without compromising the security of the
while apologetic on NBC, said he has granted many
interviews in the past and that his remarks were not
"out of line with what experts think."
some people think I'm insane, but I'm not anti-military,"
he added. "This is the biggest story of my life."
Asked what the future held for him, Arnett said: "There's
a small island, inhabited in the South Pacific that
I will try to swim to."
leave, I'm embarrassed," he said.