Wednesday, April 2
Honesty: The Worst Policy
When Telling The Truth Will Get You Fired From The Networks
Doug Ireland, TomPaine.com, April 1, 2003
When NBC -- which is owned by General Electric, a prime military-industrial complex contractor -- decided to fire Peter Arnett for the thought crime of plain speaking, it was undoubtedly responding both to pressure from the White House (which accused Arnett of "pandering" to the Iraqis) and to the imperatives of its MSNBC ratings chase against the gung-ho, pro-war frothers of Fox News.
What provoked Arnett's defenestration? In an interview he accorded on Sunday to Iraqi television (which an MSNBC spokesperson initially described as a "professional courtesy"), Arnett allowed as how media reports of civilian casualties in Iraq "help" the "growing challenge to President Bush about the conduct of the war and also opposition to the war. The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another plan."
Of course, these are rather commonsense observations of the sort that can be read daily in the pages of our newspapers, and which even find their way onto U.S. television.
Yet when NBC snatched the mic from Arnett's hands, on Monday morning CNN 's Jeff Greenfield rushed to endorse the veteran war correspondent's firing.
Greenfield dismissed the notion of an anti-war movement whose challenge was "growing" -- as if the millions who have taken to the streets of major U.S. cities and the some 5,000 American civil disobedients who have so far been voluntarily arrested in "die-ins" and other nonviolent forms of political action -- part of the rising crescendo of protest on a scale not seen since the Vietnam war -- were not energized by the heart-rending accounts of civilians shredded by American bombs and bullets in an unnecessary and obtusely-run war. [...]