Best War Quote: Peter Arnett in Daily Mirror

Daily Mirror Front Page Here’s Peter Arnett, quoted by Yahoo! News which is, in turn, quoting the Daily Mirror:

“I am still in shock and awe at being fired,” Arnett wrote for the newspaper, which is vehemently opposed to the war. “I report the truth of what is happening here in Baghdad and will not apologize for it.”

News Interactive reports the Daily Mirror’s head was “Fired by America for telling the truth … Hired by Daily Mirror to carry on telling it.”

The cover image from the Daily Mirror is at right.


Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on April 1, 2003 - 05:27 Permalink

The transcript of the interview that got Arnett fired, says CNN, is here:…

The interview is a mixture of truths and unsourced/unsubstantiated assertions. Very probably it was neither per se that got him fired—it was offering to the Iraqi government his name and face and words that are probably helpful to them. I wonder if Arnett had much choice about granting the interview, because the government is obviously willing to kick out reporters that displease it. Some media critics say the unsubstantiated assertions give his employers an excuse to fire him, based on the standards of good reporting, but he wasn’t reporting in that interview. He was the subject of the interview and arguably was speaking as a pundit. What he said was tame talk for a pundit—just perhaps too left of center. Despite this, Arnett actually hasn’t been righteously indignant in all the interviews he’s granted since the one for the Iraqi news. In some of these he’s said that the choice to grant the interview was a big mistake that embarrassed him, and he seemed to concede that his employers were right to fire him. I suspect the choice was a lose-lose situation: Decline the interview and face reduced access to Iraq, or accept the interview and piss off his bosses.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on April 1, 2003 - 06:31 Permalink

Both Jon Lee Anderson (The New Yorker) and John F. Burns (New York Times) were interviewed on Charlie Rose tonight from Baghdad. Both did as much opining as reporting, and both arguably said things that cast the U.S. war effort in a bad light. Neither will suffer consequences from their appearance nor their opinions. I think Arnett was fired because NBC and National Geographic saw little upside in standing behind him given the “firestorm of controversy” that his appearance on Iraqi Television caused.

linda maki's picture
linda maki on April 3, 2003 - 01:26 Permalink

I’m very disapppointed that such a distinguished reporter as Peter Arnett was fired by NBC and National Geographic. At frist, NBC was willing to stick with him, but I guess there were too many viewers against him. I can’t help thinking that we’ve come a long way, in the wrong way, since T. Jefferson did so much to ensure our rights. Is it just me, or have we really gone sooo far since GW took over? Tooo far.

Felipe Caballero's picture
Felipe Caballero on April 3, 2003 - 23:22 Permalink

Estoy interesado en obtener la informaci

Brian HUEBNER's picture
Brian HUEBNER on April 3, 2003 - 23:23 Permalink

Patroiots love the truth!
Support out troops — don’t let them die for ExxonMobil!
Bring them home
As an American, I am deeply shocked and ashamed that the country that supposedly champions freedom of speech has become so much like the former Soviet empire in insisting that everyone tow the line

Bush is un-American and I can’t wait for his undoing.

He certainly has a lot of shady dealings.

America, this is your wake-up call.

Make the founding fathers proud!

U.S. patriot

Fletcher Copp's picture
Fletcher Copp on April 4, 2003 - 03:26 Permalink

To the Editor,

Thank you for giving Peter Arnett a forum for his reporting from Iraq. American are desperate for the truth about the invasion of Iraq and hope that truth will turn more American against this war. We are sorry that the British troops may have seen more casualties from American “friendly fire” than from enemy fire. With friends like the US you don’t need enemies.

The power of public opinion in Britain and the US must stop this disaster.

With grave concern,

Fletcher Copp
716 Broadway
NY, NY 10003

Alan's picture
Alan on April 4, 2003 - 14:31 Permalink

Peter, it is great to see that you are finding your true place in the global information system: Sr. Rukavina, Editor of Reinvented Herald-Tribune. A thread with an American in Paris and Felipe Caballero, who I suspect did not despite all appearenced play utility for the Expos in the 70’s, is a far cry from life under Boomer. Congrats on your internationale status.

sarfaraz ahmed's picture
sarfaraz ahmed on April 4, 2003 - 19:13 Permalink

Peter Arnett and I appeared together in a programme of a London-based Pakistani TV channel, ARY, in October last year. That programme was beamed live from Karachi, Pakistan. It was about the Oct 10 elections in Pakistan with a particular reference to the success of a religious alliance, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal. I would like to interview him for the Pakistani newspaper Daily Times and the United Arab Emirates newspaper Khaleej Times. I shall be grateful if I could be given his email address. I am bureau chief of Daily Times and Karachi-based correspondent of Khaleej Times.


Alan's picture
Alan on April 4, 2003 - 20:58 Permalink

Peter, is Arnett now on the reinvented payroll, too?

Brant Jessel's picture
Brant Jessel on April 4, 2003 - 22:13 Permalink

History will show that Peter Arnett did nothing wrong other than piss off the Pentagon. Our Bill of Rights for Freedom of Speech should be amended to include “… as long as it is in line with Pentagon strategy.” The fact that Iraqi civilians didn’t have cakes baked and giftbaskets for the liberating (a.k.a. “invading”) armies must have the war planners scratching their heads and/or asses.

Mankind must value life and liberty and the ability to report on it — truthfully. I dislike Saddam Hussein as much as anyone, except perhaps George W. Bush. I respect the liberties a powerful military entitles me to receive and hope that our troops all come home safely.

If Arnett’s comments slowed the “Coalition’s propaganda” — a phrase used by our own military experts, it slowed even more by the actions taken by NBC. NBC has drawn more attention to Arnett’s statements by firing this fine reporter. View his interview again and tell me “What was so inflamatory about his statements?”

I probably would have missed his interview entirely if it weren’t for NBC’s retaliation. This wasn’t the first, and certainly not the last, miscalculation of this war.

Kathryn Alyn's picture
Kathryn Alyn on April 6, 2003 - 17:45 Permalink

It takes a brave man to speak the truth in today’s world. Our men are dying to defend “freedom of speech” while these civil liberties are being taken away. Someone needs to be reporting from an international perspective.

J. Gleur's picture
J. Gleur on April 8, 2003 - 17:42 Permalink

Has anyone here ever read the U.S. Constitution? You complain about Arnett’s sacking being an example of a “loss of rights” in America. Our freedoms guarantee that the government cannot keep us quiet; not that we can perform poorly on the job.

Face it, Peter Arnett’s “analysis” was dismal at best and completely inaccurate. He was fired because he was a poor reporter sucking up to his hosts instead of telling the truth and asking the tough questions. The man had his chance to shine and instead he just grew dim.

P. Perry's picture
P. Perry on April 10, 2003 - 06:17 Permalink

Peter Arnett’s interview was like a breath of fresh air. If you happen to have watched the English-speaking networks, you couldnt’t help but think that there was an insulting to the viewer denial of balanced news, a put-down of the reader’s intellectual abilities, with all the news guiding, influencing the viewer to form the view that the Us was so well in control, so careful about who it shoots, so moral etc etc. What do they take the viewer for? It was so frustrating to have to put up with all this easily seen through propaganda. I lost all respect for America once again. I happen to have been watching european tv news about the war on Iraq, as well as the Cosovo War. I first had a taste of America’s lying, and how its disciples the networks lied for Us too, back in the Cosove war. eg when the Greek TV was showing the American bomb that had fallen on houses, CNN was a) repeating the Us govt line LIKE IT WAS THE TRUTH , ie THe US denies the ALLEGATION that a bomb has hit civilians, and b) there is NO CONFIRMATION of that. Funny that, given that all CNN reporters were in Cosovo too, and they could easily check out the disaster. Too damaging to the US to go out and check it themselves, it seems. They never did check it out, they let it roll on as a questionmark.So when it comes to embarassing their government, US networks become paralysed, cease to be able to function as investigative reporters : We might as well realise they are as controlled by their lying government as any mass media under a dictatorship.
So let us all be clear on what the Networks, as well as the embedded reporters, were doing in Iraq, . They were as the mouthpieces of US, to twist the truth, to take baseless rumours and propaganda that suited America and spin them into newsworthy items flashing at the bottom of the screen.
When in the early days of the war bombs hit civilians on a Friday morning, the Greek reporter in Bagdad was relaying that these people were bombed as they were praying. Yet the US line through its networks was that they had hit strategic targets only. So I say wake up American reporters! Find some self respect. It’s not all about your bank account , is it? It takes a nobody to follow the easy way, but a really special human being to decide, against governmental and employer pressure, that he will report what is right. I have seen Peter Arnett’s real concern about this tragedy and I know he is a thinking, feeling human being. He is what reporters from a “democracy” should be — independent. If he has to be brave to be that, that’s a clear indication that America does not know the meaning of democracy. And I think its imperialistic actions attest to that too.

michele himmel's picture
michele himmel on April 10, 2003 - 18:21 Permalink

Oh let`s face it………..every country has a media and government that lies! No one can claim innocence, so those of you up on your soap boxes and pedestals please step down. Remember when the EU said they would never have a constitution? Uh, they are getting one now. I remember the big stink about the leak on that one before it was ready to be presented to the public. Chirac`s pants must be on fire for all the…..ahem………non truths he has spouted.