Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Peter Arnett and Geraldo Rivera both got given their marching orders. Arnett committed a heinous sin:
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.'' [...]
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.
That's the intriguing and somewhat worrying bit, that the network defended him at first and then later decided to let him go. I don't know if NBC are trying to present themselves as a fearlessly independent news source at all, but if they are they just dented their image rather badly there. Arguably what Arnett did was fucking stupid, but NBC haven't helped themselves much either.
As for Geraldo, he committed a marginally less heinous sin than telling people what he really thinks:
Fox News Channel correspondent Geraldo Rivera is being expelled from Iraq for broadcasting details about future U.S. troop movements in the country, according to the Pentagon.
A primary obligation of the hundreds of reporters traveling with coalition forces in Iraq is to refrain from disclosing sensitive information about military operations.
The veteran correspondent, who was temporarily accompanying the Army's 101st Airborne Division, violated the rule during a live broadcast on Fox television. [...]
In the broadcast, Rivera instructed his photographer to tilt the camera down to the sand in front of his feet so that he could draw a map.
The Fox correspondent then outlined a map of Iraq, and showed the relative location of Baghdad and his location with the 101st Airborne unit.
Rivera then continued with his sandy diagram to illustrate where the 101st would be going next.
"He went down in the sand and drew where the forces are going," said a stunned senior military official. "He gave away the big picture stuff."
At least Geraldo will still have his job when he gets home. Peter Arnett's lost his, though he's already been hired by a British newspaper so he won't starve. And so this shit-ugly war carries on...