Monday March 31
Arnett, On Iraq TV, Praises Treatment Of Reporters
By Joe Flint Of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
NEW YORK (Dow Jones) Veteran television correspondent Peter Arnett, who has been covering the war with Iraq for NBC News through an arrangement with National Geographic Explorer, went on Iraq's state television network and praised Iraq's treatment of journalists.
In a transcript of Arnett's comments during the interview, he seemed to praise Iraq's Ministry of Information, saying it has "allowed me and many other reporters to cover 12 whole years since the Gulf War with a degree which we appreciate and that is continuing today."
(This story and related background will be available on The Journal's Web site, WSJ.com.)
Arnett's comments are sure to stir controversy since some media outlets, including CNN, Arnett's former employer, have been booted out of Baghdad. Also, two reporters from the Tribune Co.-owned (TRB) newspaper Newsday are missing after being expelled from Baghdad and the paper has said it believes its journalists are being held by the Iraqi government.
After speaking with Arnett, General Electric Co.'s (GE) NBC said in a statement that "Peter Arnett and his crew have risked their lives to bring the American people up-to-date, straight-forward information on what is happening in and around Baghdad." The network said Arnett's "impromptu interview with Iraqi TV was done as a professional courtesy and was similar to other interviews he has done with media outlets from around the world. His remarks were analytical in nature and were not intended to be anything more."
Arnett appeared on MSNBC, the cable news channel NBC owns with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Sunday afternoon with coverage of coalition attacks. Arnett isn't employed by NBC but the network struck a deal with National Geographic, whose program "Explorer" airs on MSNBC, for the correspondent to provide war coverage for the network. He is one of the few Western television reporters remaining in Baghdad providing coverage for a U.S. network.
-By Joe Flint, The Wall Street Journal
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