Geraldo in trouble too
- I have always despised Geraldo Rivera (or Gerry Rivers, as he was known in
the 1970s) as a vile dishonest reactionary and applauded when in an October
1988 talk show episode he got his nose broken by some skinheads he was trying
to intimidate and spent the rest of the show holding his nose while his
Jew guest kept screaming about how wonderful Jews were. Nonetheless I find
I actually feel some sympathy for him now that he has gotten on the wrong
side of the campaign to silence dissident journalists. The following article
appeared on page A5 of the Tuesday 1 April 2003 edition of The Arizona
Republic and is credited to the Associated Press.
NBC FIRES ARNETT FOR IRAQ INTERVIEW; RIVERA IN HOT WATER
New York--NBC fired journalist Peter Arnett on Monday, angered that he had
given an unauthorized interview with state-run Iraqi TV saying the U.S.-led
war effort initially failed because of Iraq's resistance.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is investigating whether Fox News Channel reporter
Geraldo Rivera endangered troops by revealing the plans of a military unit
Rivera denied reports that he has been expelled from the country.
Arnett, who also was fired by National Geographic Explorer, apologized for
his "misjudgment," but added: "I said over the weekend what we all know
about this war."
Early today, the Daily Mirror, a vehemently anti-war British tabloid, said
it has hired Arnett.
"Fired by America for telling the truth," the Daily Mirror said in a page
"I am still in shock and awe at being fired," Arnett wrote for the Daily
Mirror. And despite his earlier apologetic remarks he wrote, "I report the
truth of what is happening here in Baghdad and will not apologize for it."
Arnett won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting in Vietnam for the Associated
Press. One of the few American television reporters left in Baghdad, his
reports were frequently aired on NBC and its cable sisters, MSNBC and CNBC.
NBC was angered because Arnett gave the interview Sunday without permission
and presented opinion as fact. The network initially backed him, but
reversed field after watching a tape of his remarks.
The network said it got "thousands" of e-mails and phone calls protesting
Arnett's remarks--a thousand e-mails to MSNBC President Erik Sorenson alone.
In the interview, shown by Iraq's satellite television, Arnett said the
United States was reappraising the battlefield and delaying the war, maybe
for a week, "and rewriting the war plan."
Arnett said it was clear that, within the United States, opposition to the
war is growing, along with a challenge to President Bush about the war's
Arnett, speaking Monday on Today, apologized to the American people.
"I gave some personal observations, some analytical observations, which I
don't think are out of line with what experts think," he said. "But clearly
I misjudged the firestorm."
Rivera, traveling with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, revealed tactical
information and at one point told about an attack two hours before it took
place, according to sources at the U.S. Central Command who asked not to be
Fox's rivals, CNN and MSNBC, both reported Monday that Rivera had been kicked
out of the country.
"During a live broadcast, Geraldo drew a map in the sand of where that unit
was going. Not exactly what you're supposed to do out there," CNN
anchorman Leon Harris said.
Shortly thereafter, Rivera delivered a report via satellite phone saying he
was 60 miles from Baghdad. In the report, Rivera labeled reports of his
ouster "a pack of lies" spread by his former colleagues at NBC.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that while Rivera is not embedded
with any military unit, any violations of embedding rules are taken very