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Peter Arnett chiede scusa all'America
- Subject: Peter Arnett chiede scusa all'America
- From: Carlo Gubitosa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 02:25:28 +0200
NBC, MSNBC fire Peter Arnett
March 31 -- Peter Arnett apologizes for the interview he gave to Iraqi TV,
saying he made a "stupid misjudgment."
NBC, MSNBC AND NEWS SERVICES
March 31 - NBC, MSNBC and National Geographic on Monday said they had
terminated their relationship with Peter Arnett after the journalist told
state-run Iraqi TV that the U.S.-led coalition's initial war plan had
failed and that reports from Baghdad about civilian casualties had helped
antiwar protesters undermine the Bush administration's strategy.
"IT WAS wrong for Mr. Arnett to grant an interview to state controlled
Iraqi TV — especially at a time of war — and it was wrong for him to
discuss his personal observations and opinions in that interview," NBC News
President Neal Shapiro said in a statement. "Therefore, Peter Arnett will
no longer be reporting for NBC News and MSNBC."
National Geographic, for whom Arnett first traveled to Baghdad, said it too
had "terminated the service of Peter Arnett."
"The Society did not authorize or have any prior knowledge of Arnett's
television interview with Iraqi television," it said in a statement, "and
had we been consulted, would not have allowed it. His decision to grant an
interview and express his personal views on state controlled Iraqi
television, especially during a time of war, was a serious error in
judgment and wrong."
Arnett, who won a Pulitzer Prize reporting in Vietnam for The Associated
Press, appeared on NBC's "Today" show Monday to apologize for his
statements. (MSNBC.com is an NBC News-Microsoft joint venture.)
In the Iraqi TV interview, Arnett said his Iraqi friends had told him that
there was a growing sense of nationalism and resistance to what the United
States and Britain were doing.
He said the United States was reappraising the battlefield and delaying the
war, maybe for a week, "and rewriting the war plan. The first war plan has
failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another
"Clearly, the American war plans misjudged the determination of the Iraqi
forces," Arnett said during the interview, which was broadcast by Iraq's
satellite television station and monitored by The AP in Egypt.
Arnett said it was clear that there was growing opposition to the war
within the United States and a growing challenge to President Bush.
"Our reports about civilian casualties here, about the resistance of the
Iraqi forces, are going back to the United States," he said. "It helps
those who oppose the war when you challenge the policy to develop their
The interview was broadcast in English and translated by a green military
uniform-wearing Iraqi anchor. NBC said Arnett gave the interview when asked
shortly after he attended an Iraqi government briefing.
The interview quickly made Arnett a target of the war's supporters.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said on Fox News Channel that she found
the interview "nauseating" and accused Arnett of "kowtowing to what clearly
is the enemy in this way."
NBC initially backed Arnett's interview. "His impromptu interview with
Iraqi TV was done as a professional courtesy and was similar to other
interviews he has done with media outlets from around the world," NBC News
spokeswoman Allison Gollust said. "His remarks were analytical in nature
and were not intended to be anything more. His outstanding reporting on the
war speaks for itself."
BACKGROUND SINCE 1991
Arnett garnered much of his prominence from covering the 1991 Gulf War for
CNN. But even then the first Bush administration was unhappy with his
reporting, suggesting that he had become a conveyor of propaganda.
At one point, he was denounced for his reporting about an allied bombing of
a baby milk factory in Baghdad that the military said was a biological
weapons plant. The U.S. military responded vigorously to the suggestion it
had targeted a civilian facility, but Arnett stood by his reporting that
the plant's sole purpose was to make baby formula.
Arnett was also the on-air reporter of a 1998 CNN report that accused U.S.
forces of using sarin gas on a Laotian village in 1970 to kill U.S.
defectors. Two CNN employees were sacked, and Arnett was reprimanded over
the report, which the station later retracted. Arnett later left the network.
He went to Iraq this year not as an NBC News reporter but as an employee of
"National Geographic Explorer." When other NBC reporters left Baghdad for
safety reasons, the network began airing his reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.