Nat Geo, NBC Drop Arnett3/31/2003 3:45 AM Eastern
National Geographic Television and NBC News severed ties with war
correspondent Peter Arnett Monday morning after he critiqued coalition war
efforts in an interview with Iraqi TV that ran over the weekend.
Arnett, the sole remaining Western TV journalist in Baghdad, had been working
for National GeographicExplorer, which runs on MSNBC. Since the
war began, he also filed frequent war updates on MSNBC and NBC shows such as
Today and NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.
The war coverage revived the career of Arnett, who was cut from Cable News
Network in 1999 after narrating the network's "Operation Tailwind" documentary,
which was retracted.
Arnett told reporters on a conference call last week that he believed his
diplomatic skills and his adherence to rules that Iraqi officials put in place
for journalists in Baghdad allowed him to remain in the city while journalists
from CNN and other media outlets were expelled.
Responding to an impromptu interview request from Iraqi TV Sunday, Arnett
noted in the interview that he believed the first U.S. war plan had failed, and
that U.S. war plans "misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces."
Arnett apologized Monday morning during an interview with Today host
Matt Lauer for "clearly making a misjudgment by giving an interview to Iraqi
National Geographic said in a prepared statement that Arnett's decision to
grant the interview and express his personal views on state-controlled Iraqi TV
"was a serious error in judgment and wrong."