National Geographic Fires Peter Arnett

National Geographic News
March 31, 2003

National Geographic severed its relationship with reporter Peter Arnett today, citing his expression of "personal views" on state-controlled Iraqi television about what he said were failures of the U.S. war strategy.

Arnett, who has been reporting on the war from Baghdad, has apologized to the television companies and the U.S. people for his "misjudgment."

The statement released by the National Geographic Society said the following:

"National Geographic has terminated the service of Peter Arnett. The Society did not authorize or have any prior knowledge of Arnett's television interview with Iraqi Television, and had we been consulted, would not have allowed it.

"His decision to grant an interview and express his personal views on state-controlled Iraqi Television, especially during a time of war, was a serious error in judgment and wrong."

NBC News President Neal Shapiro said in a statement published on MSNBC.com: "It was wrong for Mr. Arnett to grant an interview to state-controlled Iraqi TVespecially at a time of war and it was wrong for him to discuss his personal observations and opinions in that interview. Therefore, Peter Arnett will no longer be reporting for NBC News and MSNBC."

Arnett apologized for the interview in an interview on NBC's Today show this morning.

"I want to apologize to NBC, MSNBC, National Geographic EXPLORER and the American people for clearly making a misjudgment by giving the interview to Iraqi Television," Arnett said. "Clearly by giving that interview I created a firestorm in the United States, and for that I'm truly sorry."

Arnett was in Baghdad to work on a documentary for National Geographic EXPLORER, a documentary TV series that airs on MSNBC. He covered the gulf war in 1991 for CNN.

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