Old 31st March 2003, 23:23   #1
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NBC Fires Arnette

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NEW YORK (March 31) - NBC fired journalist Peter Arnett on Monday, saying it was wrong for him to give an interview with state-run Iraqi TV in which he said the American-led coalition's initial plan for the war had failed because of Iraq's resistance. Arnett called the interview a ``misjudgment'' and apologized.

Arnett, on NBC's ``Today'' show on Monday, said he was sorry for his statement but added ``I said over the weekend what we all know about the war.''

``I want to apologize to the American people for clearly making a misjudgment,'' the New Zealand-born Arnett said. He said he would try to leave Baghdad now, joking ``there's a small island in the South Pacific that I've inhabited that I'll try to swim to.''

NBC defended him Sunday, saying he had given the interview as a professional courtesy and that his remarks were analytical in nature. But by Monday morning the network switched course and, after Arnett spoke with NBC News President Neal Shapiro, said it would no longer work with Arnett.

``It was wrong for Mr. Arnett to grant an interview to state-controlled Iraqi TV, especially at a time of war,'' NBC spokeswoman Allison Gollust said. ``And it was wrong for him to discuss his personal observations and opinions in that interview.''

Arnett, who won a Pulitzer Prize reporting in Vietnam for The Associated Press, gained much of his prominence from covering the 1991 Gulf War for CNN. One of the few American television reporters left in Baghdad, his reports were frequently aired on NBC and its cable sisters, MSNBC and CNBC.

Leaving a second network under a cloud may mark the end of his TV career. Arnett was the on-air reporter of the 1998 CNN report that accused American forces of using sarin nerve 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 left the network when his contract was not renewed.

In the Iraqi TV interview, broadcast Sunday by Iraq's satellite television station and monitored by The Associated Press in Egypt, Arnett said his Iraqi friends tell him there is a growing sense of nationalism and resistance to what the United States and Britain are doing.

He said the United States is 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 war plan.''

``Clearly, the American war plans misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces,'' Arnett said.

Arnett said it is clear that within the United States there is growing opposition to the war and a growing challenge to President Bush about the war's conduct.

``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 arguments.''

At a briefing Sunday in Qatar, Gen. Tommy Franks ticked off major achievements of the war campaign, including the advance of troops to within 60 miles of Baghdad. But he found himself answering questions about whether he had enough troops to do the job and denying that coalition forces were stalled.

A Republican congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, told Fox News Channel on Sunday that Arnett's remarks were ``Kafkaesque'' and ``just crazy.''

``Let's hope that he's being coerced,'' Ros-Lehtinen said.

The first Bush administration was unhappy with Arnett's reporting on the Gulf War in 1991 for CNN, suggesting he had become a conveyor of propaganda. ARnett was denounced for reporting that the allies had bombed a baby milk factory in Baghdad when the military said it was a biological weapons plant.

Arnett went to Iraq this year not as an NBC News reporter but as an employee of the MSNBC show ``National Geographic Explorer.'' When other NBC reporters left Baghdad for safety reasons, the network began airing his reports. NBC said Monday he wouldn't be reporting for ``National Geographic Explorer,'' either.

The Iraqi TV interview was broadcast in English and translated by a uniformed Iraqi anchor. NBC said Arnett gave the interview when asked shortly after he attended an Iraqi government briefing.

In the April 5 issue of TV Guide, Arnett said he felt he had found redemption reporting on the current war.

``I was furious with (CNN founder) Ted Turner and (then-CNN chairman) Tom Johnson when they threw me to the wolves after I made them billions risking my life to cover the first Gulf War,'' Arnett told TV Guide.

``Now (Turner and Johnson) are gone, the Iraqis have thrown the CNN crew out of Baghdad, and I'm still here,'' he said. ``Any satisfaction in that? Ha, ha, ha, ha.''

He said the Iraqis allowed him to stay in Baghdad because they respect him and ``see me as a fellow warrior.''

03/31/03 13:22 EST

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
Anyone else think this is complete bullshit? He is a reporter. He reported the news as accuratly as he saw them. Your thought...GO!
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Old 31st March 2003, 23:36   #2
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He's done this a couple times....not news really. He got kicked out of Iraq in 91 for the same thing.

No. It's not cool. Personally I think the guy is an asshole, and I'm glad he's gone, but why was he fired? For practicing free speech? It's stupid. He shouldn't have been fired unless he did something else they're not telling us.

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Old 31st March 2003, 23:38   #3
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and also, reuters was expelled from Iraq, but I havn't heard the whole story about that, and I was unaware that he Arnet been fired/done this before.
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Old 31st March 2003, 23:39   #4
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Well, yeah - i can see why the reaction was as strong as it was, a western reporter stating something like that to Iraqi State Television, are bound to strengthen the resolve and propaganda of the Iraqi regime.

On the other hand, he was working in some sort of freelance status, so firing him for something like that, is also wrong.

I realy don't know what to think about it, but as i firmly believe in the freedom of speach, i think i believe that it was wrong hmmmmmm.

Also i think you need to show some goodwill to the information ministry of Iraq, to get the freedom to do your reporting. I think that should help his case aswell.
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Old 1st April 2003, 01:45   #5
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If you believe in freedom of speech, you can't really argue with what happened.

NBC was well within their rights to fire him. NBC is not, after all, a governmentally controlled network.

He also seems to have a history of making unfounded accusations on air. Not exactly a good record to have.
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Old 1st April 2003, 09:17   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by feroxis
NBC was well within their rights to fire him. NBC is not, after all, a governmentally controlled network.
Well it certainly looks that way. "OMG! he's not pushing the government line we have to follow!". Definatly reminds me of that picture someone poasted a whil back:


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Old 1st April 2003, 11:24   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by feroxis
If you believe in freedom of speech, you can't really argue with what happened.

NBC was well within their rights to fire him. NBC is not, after all, a governmentally controlled network.

He also seems to have a history of making unfounded accusations on air. Not exactly a good record to have.
I don't think we have the same definition of freedom of speach....
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Old 1st April 2003, 12:16   #8
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Free Speech is a facade- NBC fired him to continue the war monger brainwashing of the American people.

Boycott NBC and their government mind feed! Read the Utne Reader!
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Old 1st April 2003, 14:05   #9
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Have you been 'smoking' X or trying a 'trojan horse' war approach?

What's the Utne Reader? A quick google says it's a liberal magazine

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Old 1st April 2003, 15:10   #10
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/me is confused, Xerxes wheren't you pro war until a day ago or somethin'..... or are you just being ironic in a way i don't understand?

very anoying avatar btw
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Old 1st April 2003, 19:32   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by watadoo
Jerry Rivers, ulp, I mean, Geraldo Rivera got the boot, too. His cirme was a little more directly heinous, though. Drawing out plans in the sand showing current locations and upcoming movements. That's pretty dangerous. Regardless of one's politics, putting lives in danger is a bad thing.
Yea, bennedick, i mean geraldo deserved the boot. I ope he gets charged for treason.
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Old 1st April 2003, 19:41   #12
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treason = death, think about it

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Old 1st April 2003, 23:41   #13
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Well he got fired not because of free speech being breached but because of those listening. There is a difference between expressing your opinion to others in your nation or the government itself but expressing dislike for your nation's strategy infront of the enemy isn't the same thing.

Just like if you mouthed off about why the US should be destroyed to your friends in the US its not a big deal but telling it to another nation so that they can hate the US and have a reason to destroy the US could essentially be considered a low form of treason depending at how you look at it.

Thats why he was fired.

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Old 1st April 2003, 23:43   #14
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yea, i am starting to agree that the should have been fired, simply because of the propaganda that he supplied the Iraqis.
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Old 1st April 2003, 23:48   #15
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yet another good point. I think however the news stations are just putting their circles in the general area of our troops (ie. our tropps are southof Baghdad, so a red circle anywhere below Baghdad works, since the American public won't know the difference) and Geraldo was more exact about the positions. that is just what I have heard though the grapevine though, i didn't get that off of any respectable site
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Old 2nd April 2003, 01:06   #16
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I guess you didn't hear, Geraldo was not kicked out of Iraq.
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Old 2nd April 2003, 01:08   #17
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Thats becasue he was never in Iraq. He is in afganistan
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Old 2nd April 2003, 09:53   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by dlinkwit27
yea, i am starting to agree that the should have been fired, simply because of the propaganda that he supplied the Iraqis.
Excuse my while my brain fries trying to figure that logic out .

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Old 3rd April 2003, 18:44   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by BMWboy
I guess you didn't hear, Geraldo was not kicked out of Iraq.
Geraldo was in Iraq. He moved from Afghanistan to Iraq in the last couple of days. MSNBC started a rumor that he had been removed, but Hey!! He was still on my TV until a day ago!

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