Arnett Fired

Yeh – we’ve heard all about it. Here’s National Geographic’s take on things (via Joi Ito).

I thought this statement was interesting:

“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.”

Now, I don’t agree with Arnett’s decision, it seems to me to be a rather strange move, but this statement needs deconstrucing.

How is expressing a personal view wrong? Because it was on Iraqi state TV. We are hearing countless “personal views” daily on our news services here, and strangely enough they seem to reinforce Arnett’s perspective on the U.S. war strategy. However, it is “wrong” to do this on “the enemy’s” TV network. Do you not think that Iraqi state TV will be monitoring CNN and reporting what’s being said? Of course they will, but this was an American journalist expressing his right to free speech in the wrong place.

Silly move, and the reaction is predictable, but he had every right to do what he did, to consider this “wrong” in a country that prides itself on the concept of free speech seems indicative of the state of media affairs in the U.S., and one could argue globally.