Ex-CNN reporter: “I was damaged goods”

Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Peter Arnett says that when the
recent war in Afghanistan broke out, he offered his services to several
TV networks but was turned down.

Arnett, best known for his reporting
for CNN during the Gulf War and for being one of the few reporters to
have interviewed Osama bin Laden, told today’s New York
Times
: “I have covered lots of wars, and I feel I’m sort of good at
it. …On the other hand, I was basically fired by CNN, I was damaged
goods, and, you know, it’s not easy to get back in the game.”

Arnett
recently was hired by the little-known independent news organization,
Broadcast News Networks to report from Afghanistan. He told the Times
that he was forced out of CNN after fronting a report alleging that
the U.S. used nerve gas against American defectors during the Vietnam
War.

Although maintaining that he did little more than read a script for
the discredited broadcast, Arnett suggested that his style of reporting
might even have done him in in today’s climate. CNN currently, he said,
is reluctant to air “the enemy’s words” for fear of alienating some of
its audience.

“It seems they don’t want to have unhappy viewers because
possibly they would turn to other channels, and where would CNN be?”
Arnett told the Times.

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