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Monday, March 31, 2003

 

"Baghdad Pete" Gets the Boot...



NBC has fired reporter Peter Arnett for his interview on Iraqi state-run television, in which he claimed - offering no proof - that the original Coalition war plan had failed, the generals were in the midst of writing a new war plan, and that Iraqi resistance was strengthening anti-war protests in the U.S. I say good for NBC. Arnett already had a reputation for Iraqi propaganda when he interviewed Saddam Hussein for CNN during the first Gulf conflict.

That incident could well be chalked up to journalistic bad judgment, and it strains credulity that he does not recall the "firestorm" that created. His latest blunder, however, can speak only of malice toward the U.S. Journalists pound their breasts in indignation whenever anyone dare suggest even a hint of bias in their reporting. But how can Arnett even claim a lack of bias when making such outrageous claims on Iraqi television? I daresay that Arnett would call into question any claims of Coalition generals that no civilians were being hurt. Such a claim would be just as lacking in facts as Arnett's. Yet he utters his totally unsubstantiated rumors and opinions as if they were solid facts.

It is little wonder that the military likes to keep journalists at arm's length after displays of such irresponsibility and bias such as Arnett's. The military has gone to great lengths to provide reporters access to the troops, giving the world an unprecedented real-time view of the war. A stunt like this is bound to damage further the relationship between the military and the press.

It also begs the question, if Arnett was so willing to utter such blatantly biased personal opinions as fact for Iraqi TV, how much of that bias has slipped into his supposely unbiased journalism over the years?

"Today's report confirms that, despite White House scare tactics, Social Security remains sound for decades to come.."

-? Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) upon hearing reports that the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds will go bankrupt even earlier than predicted.

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