General News

Ex-CNN reporter: "I was damaged goods"

Nov 26, 2001 | 10:35am EST

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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