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View Diary: For Immediate Release: The Jeff Gannon Controversy - A Primer for the Press (436 comments)

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  •  Gannon/Guckert out to get Arnett and Rather (none)
    Gannon/Guckert works to discredit Peter Arnett and Dan Rather in the same article.  Here's an (oxy)moron: fake journalist talking about "state-run TV"!

    NBC Fires Arnett over Iraqi Interview by Jeff Gannon

    March 31, 2003

    (GOPUSA News) -- NBC abruptly ended its association with journalist Peter Arnett Monday as the fallout from his weekend interview on Iraqi television continues. NBC News President Neal Shapiro said in a statement, "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." Arnett later apologized in an appearance on the Today show.

    Arnett appeared Sunday on state-controlled Iraqi TV saying that the American war plan has "failed because of Iraqi resistance." During the interview that was broadcast throughout the country, Arnett said, "Clearly the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces."

    Arnett praised the citizens of Baghdad when he said, "Clearly this is a city that is disciplined. The population is responsive to the government's requirements of discipline." He added, "My Iraqi friends tell me there is a growing sense of nationalism and resistance to what the United States and Britain are doing."

    Arnett took credit for aiding the American anti-war movement saying, "Our reports about civilian casualties here, about the resistance of the Iraqi forces are going back to the United States and helps those who oppose the war."

    A naturalized American citizen born in New Zealand, Arnett is practically the only Western reporter left in Baghdad. Most journalists have been expelled, and several are missing.

    In anticipation of a negative reaction, NBC issued a statement Sunday which stated: "His impromptu interview with Iraqi TV was done as a professional courtesy. His remarks were analytical in nature and were not intended to be anything more."

    Last month, Dan Rather's interview with dictator Saddam Hussein was widely criticized except by like-minded colleagues.

    Arnett's interview comes at a time when 11 days into the military action, journalists incessantly imply that the war is going badly and that there is disagreement among military leaders. Last week the White House expressed frustration with the media's presumption that the war effort was "bogged down."

    The veteran journalist was criticized by the first Bush administration for similar acts of propaganda reporting during the Gulf War. It was Arnett, who was working for CNN in 1991, who reported the Iraqi claim that coalition forces had bombed a baby milk factory when the military believed it to be a biological weapons plant. In 1998, the Pulitzer Prize winner reported a story that accused American forces of using Sarin gas on a Laotian village in 1970 to kill U.S. defectors. Arnett was reprimanded, and CNN later retracted the story.

    Reaction to Arnett's interview began to emerge on Sunday night. In a Fox News interview, former Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato said that the reporter's comments verged on "giving aid and comfort to the enemy." Colonel Buzz Kriesel, U.S. Army (Ret.) called the remarks "a new plateau for bias" during a Fox News interview.

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