Peter Arnett of National Geographic, broadcasting from Bagdad for NBC/MSNBC is the first media casualty of war. Peter Arnett of National Geographic, broadcasting from Bagdad for NBC/MSNBC is the first media casualty of this war.
Yesterday, Arnett gave an interview to Iraqi state owned and controlled televison, where he crapped all over the coalition, but specifically the Americans.
The frustration of NOT being a wartime MEDIA SUPERSTAR finally got to Arnett, simply because he has become outsider in an insider’s game.
Unlike Arnett’s 1991 experience in Gulf War 1, where he covered the air-war campaign for CNN from his Bagdad rooftop location, he gave a bomb by bomb blow for CNN’s television audience.
In Gulf War 1, Peter Arnett was an “important” player, where we tuned in for days on end to hear him describe the events as they unfolded, even if the description was no more than a series of never ending rehashed repetitions.
Nonetheless; we craved whatever information we could get. Hence Peter Arnett became a livingroom wartime superstar journalist.
This time around, who gives a damn what Peter Arnett has to say? Unlike 1991, when Arnett broadcast from one single rooftop, far from the action, we now have the embedded journalists who are bringing the war to us up close and personal.
There is an interesting piece written in today’s National Post by Canadian General Lewis Mackenzie (retired), who complains that battle and troop information being given out by the embedded reporters is so timely, that it can place coalition troops in danger. And as much as I don’t want to see that happen: THAT’S REPORTING!
As I wrote yesterday, and several days before, the first victory of war has been journalistic integrity. And the first casualty of war has been the useless self-absorbed media talking heads.
Arnett was fired by NBC/MSNBC for his stupid and injurious remarks. He also made a near teary apology to everyone he could think of in the media, the military and the folks back in the USA. He sounded like the winner of an Academy Award who wanted to make certain to leave no one out. But to no avail.
Peter Arnett is the first media battlefield suicide. He won’t be the last. Just listen to the talking heads and the media who sit in the briefing rooms. Their frustration in their own knowledge that they are irrelevant is palpable.
I take great pleasure in watching the smugness of these media legends in their own mind being wiped somewhat off their faces. They’ve had it their own way for far too long. GOOD ON THEM!