Walter Cronkite on Peter Arnett

Here’s Walter Cronkite on Peter Arnett in an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times.

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Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 1, 2003 - 23:06

Two telling quotes from the John Pilger’s newest co-worker:

I want to apologize to the American people for clearly making a misjudgment.”
- March 31, 2003, on the Today Show

I report the truth of what is happening here in Baghdad and will not apologize for it…’
- April 1, 2003, in the Daily Mirror

Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on April 2, 2003 - 01:22

I think Cronkite probably is right in identifying some of the opinions Arnett expressed in his Iraqi news interview as insincere and reflecting a desire to cosy up to the information agency. But I think he portrays Arnett’s comments as more villainous and unusual than they actually were, at least based on my reading of the transcript. Cosying up is bad, but of course business pundits cosy up to companies all the time. As for treason, which Cronkite suggests Arnett may be guilty of…is Arnett a U.S. citizen? How does treason work when war hasn’t been declared and when the danger that the allegedly despicable act poses to the nation’s troops is so indirect?

Kevin's picture
Kevin on April 2, 2003 - 03:00

Wayne, those two quotes sound like they are contradictory. However, if one accepts that both are true, and tries to figure out how come that can be, then the murky image of what Americans consider inappropriate begins to become a little clearer.

I find it interesting that there can be so much opinion on just one side — he screwed up — when it is not so clear to me at all. We would hang a report who deliberately skewed a fact as told to him, why is it different when it’s a fact he sees first hand?

Is it that a reporter cannot be considered a reliable witness and is not permitted to interpret? If that’s the case they have to fire the entire anchor desk of CNN. They have gone beyone interpretation — their news casts look like infomercials for the state department. I’m just waiting for Colin Powell to pop in a chicken and “set it and forget it!”, and I can’t wait to see if George Bush uses that spray stuff to comb over a bald spot.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 2, 2003 - 18:54

His accusers claim he was delivering aid and comfort to the enemy.

Liam McCann's picture
Liam McCann on April 2, 2003 - 22:13

Mr. Arnett is a reporter who for years has been in the midst of many battles. He has seen every human dimension there is to war and reported those findings without bias. He has comitted to his writing for years without the consideration of what might happen to his job status. If he gets under the skin of the military planners (as he did in Vietnam) then he is doing his job properly. He is not a buffoon like Geraldo Rivera who gave out information about the location of the army unit he was imbedded in. The Pentagon has had it in for Mr. Arnett since Vietnam why should they stop now.

P.S. My best friend was killed on 9/11. If the Pentagon and the CIA had done their job properly, 9/11 and this war may have never happened and also don’t forget who the reporter was who brought Osama’s intentions to light in his only television interview.

Daniel's picture
Daniel on April 3, 2003 - 16:02

Yet another example of how stating the obvious is a dangerous policy. As far as I can tell, Arnett is right — the Americans were caught off guard and the Iraqi resistance is effective.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 16:04

Friends of Saddam” is a pretty obvious statement, too. I wonder if Kells will share his fate…?

Alan's picture
Alan on April 3, 2003 - 16:26

Is there a job open with the Daily Mirror for Kells, too?

Daniel's picture
Daniel on April 3, 2003 - 16:55

It’s not obvious to me that protesters are “Friends of Saddam”. I have protested with a great many Iraqis that have no affection whatsoever for this Hussein — he has killed and imprisonned members of their families.

Friends of Saddam” is just primitive name-calling… a subject this important requires a more enligthened debate.

Many want Hussein removed, but do not believe war is a proper way to do so. Is that too hard to respect?

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 17:33

In an otherwise empty statement, you make one good point: All protestors are not

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 3, 2003 - 17:48

It is not an issue of “proper way”, rather about what will work. Nobody wants war, but most people in the real world realize it sometimes is necessary. Just like handling a bully—try to reason first, and if it doesn

Tony's picture
Tony on April 5, 2003 - 17:47

To Liam McCann, I’m sorry for the loss of your friend during 9/11, but to blame the CIA and the Pentagon for letting this happen is way off base. I think you should first look at Former Pres. Clinton for all of his wonderful cuts to our intelligence agencies. Peter Arnett is a traitor and should be treated as such. That’s my opinion….I could be wrong.

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