The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 March 2003

Darn it, Arnett

Peter Arnett, we are told, is covering the war for MSNBC and for National Geographic Explorer, a narrower range than it sounds. At Regions of Mind, Geitner Simmons reports that Arnett's reportage so far has been, to be charitable, a bit on the soft side:

The overwrought segment last night [on NBC] showed Arnett's crew filming bombing footage from the balcony of a Baghdad hotel, but it didnít present any actual reporting. It was merely a two-minute puff piece in which viewers were shown Arnett standing in his hotel room as the bombs fell, barking into a satellite phone about how spectacular everything was.

In his voiceover, Arnett talked about how brave his crew was and how smart they had been to chose that particular hotel room, because, he said, it turned out to offer the perfect location for shooting.

He sounded less like a journalist than like Robin Leach at his most insufferable.

It seems they could have saved some money by just hiring Robin Leach. He's got lots of free time these days, and who else can intone "Presidential palace" with such gravitas?

Posted at 11:51 AM to Dyssynergy

I saw that segment. Arnett sounded like he was pissing his pants. "Oh my! The big booms scare me!" He was a total wuss during the last Gulf War too. (OT -- You know, I'm going to start saying: "during the first part of the Gulf War twelve years ago.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 9:56 PM on 24 March 2003

Good point, Andrea. And Arnett's voice...yeesh.

Posted by: DavidMSC at 11:13 PM on 24 March 2003

I never really paid that much attention to Peter Arnett in the past. Tonight 3/30/03, on FOX Cable news I saw an interview that he did on Iraqi TV. In my humble opinion we should keep this ass out of the US for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
There was no excuse for what he did and I hope that all the conservatives out there boycott MSNBC and other aspects of the NBC network to protest their support for him!

Posted by: Rob at 9:44 PM on 30 March 2003

People, including reporters, do make mistakes. Yes, we hold some people to a higher standard, but sometimes, in impromptu situations, people have been known to say things that, in hindsight, should have been better thought out. People have been known to regret their words, be embarrassed by their words &/or actions...but,we expect people in positions of high profile and public exposure to more carefully consider and choose their words. It isn't always easy to anticipate the public reaction to words, events, situations... clearly there are times we all regret having said something for which we later find ourselves apologizing. Mr. Arnett's words have cost him his job, jeopardized his career, tarnished his reputation, compromised his integrity and given cause to question his loyalty. What sad and catastrophic consequences. However,he has PUBLICLY and PROFUSELY apologized. He has been a valuable and contributing member of the American journalist community and has earned international recognition.We would do well to be mindful of his contributions...appreciate his very public and humbled apology...and give him room to attempt to make things right in whatever way he finds appropriate and available.

Posted by: High Energy at 7:56 AM on 31 March 2003

Yes, he probably shouldn't have talked to Iraqi TV, but what he said was true. It's pretty clear to everyone that the war plan is not going as expected - that there are going to be more casualties, and it's going to take longer than expected.

If you remember, Peter Arnett was also fired during the first US-Iraq war. He reported that the US had bombed a Children's Formula factory, while the US claimed that it was a chemical weapons factory. Who was right when all the facts came out? Arnett. But he was still fired...

This is just another example of how the US media is censoring itself. How the news outlets tow the party line, and when the step over it (for reporting the news) the Bush administration cries foul, the media kills the messenger.

Posted by: junk01 at 9:07 AM on 31 March 2003

Pierre Arnett you fool ! Now you can move to France ! have fun looking for work you CREEP!

Posted by: SADDAM ,THE DEAD MAN! at 10:33 AM on 31 March 2003

Arnett's credentials, I think, are impeccable. His judgment perhaps can be called into question on occasion, though, as noted, he has also been vindicated on some of his questioned calls.

For my part, I'm not going to join the chorus drooling at the prospect of seeing his head on a pike, but I can't say that I'm going to miss him much either.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:42 AM on 31 March 2003

Let's not forget that Peter Arnett is a Pulitzer Prize Winner and has covered several wars, including Viet-Nam, from a "first-person" perspective.

Please do not be deceived by the power of the Bush administration to dismiss him - they operate with an anti-Iraqi agenda while he reports from a real-world knowledge of what is going on.

Posted by: Robert W. Wylie at 12:49 PM on 31 March 2003


You say- "It's pretty clear to everyone that the war plan is not going as expected - that there are going to be more casualties, and it's going to take longer than expected."

I forgot about the Franks and Bush pre-war press conference in February where they told us that
1. The war would last a week -
2. There would be 12 casualties-
3. Expect us to drive right up the Euphrates- take a right at Karbala and storm Baghdad.

Pretty clear to everyone??? You and 200 non-military reporters - including Arnett. I still don't remember the war plan being distributed to you and Arnett? There was no press guide given out with text on -'Attacking Iraq 101'. War isn't constructed with a AAA road map and push pins (ala our media)- It's real live equipment and men with flexible strategies based on the opponent.

The people we elect or appoint in America are chosen because they can do specific jobs based on their credentials. And in my humble opinion - our wonderful country has the best people in place to do the best job(s) possible. It's 11 days into the campaign! My gosh - what does everyone expect! They've moved into a hostile country some 200 miles at a minimal loss to coalition as well as civilian lives in ELEVEN DAYS!

By the way- Show me the facts on the Milk factory while you're at it- The French built and supervised Milk factory that was surrounded with razor wire and guards. Oh yes- Screening and guarding evaporated milk employees is a security nightmare! Never know when one might go crazy and turn the vaccuum evaporator up too high - or maybe add too much lactose to the mix!

Posted by: Jimbo at 4:43 PM on 31 March 2003

Peter Arnett should not be allowed to return to the United States. He continues to show is ignorance and those that support his are no better than he is. Freedom of Speech was paid for by those he is aiding. Please go and never return! You are not wanted in the land of the free.

Posted by: Terry Brashers at 10:10 PM on 31 March 2003