Arnett should have been fired for the stupidity of his claims to Iraqi television. The first war plan "failed" and the Pentagon's writing another plan? To reach that conclusion one must have working knowledge of a plan Arnett has never seen. There's a "growing challenge" to President Bush? Polls haven't slipped since the war began, and continue to hover in the stratosphere. Iraqi propaganda ministers allow a "degree of freedom"? Tell that to the American reporters and photographers who were abducted and imprisoned by "Information Ministry" goons.
The real mystery was not why NBC & Co. fired Arnett. Why did they hire him in the first place?
CNN also fired Arnett in 1999, almost a year after his role in another anti-American debacle, as star reporter on the program "Valley of Death," which claimed that U.S. forces knowingly killed their own "defector" soldiers with nerve gas in Laos during the Vietnam War. In that case, CNN folded on the veracity of its dastardly claims like a tent.
But still there were no apologies from Arnett. Instead, there was pathetic excusifying: "I was never informed that my face on the air gave me responsibility for a major story," said the allegedly brave reporter. "I'm a company guy. You want me to read a script, I'll read it."
His reporting for CNN during the first Gulf War displayed a very similar and equally casual disregard for the veracity of his stories -- so long as America was the target. On a March 21, 1991, story on ABC's "Prime Time Live," Arnett was questioned about the possibility that the Iraqis were disguising a chemical plant behind that infamous "baby milk factory," Arnett countered dismissively, "Why would they go to all the trouble of doing that? Was their nuclear weapons plant disguised as a bagel factory?" Throughout the ABC interview, Arnett revealed his reporting was based upon lame suppositions, not actual knowledge. When asked about a military command center he called a "civilian shelter," he admitted: "I didn't go deep down. I really didn't have any equipment for digging. I just, to this day, I can't really believe that was a command center."
It took Arnett just hours after his sacking to find another venue, and in no time at all, he was back at it, charging he lost his job because of a "right-wing media" conspiracy. Arnett also suggested that "Some reporters make judgments, but that is not my style. I present both sides and report what I see with my own eyes."
Arnett's new employer is the Daily Mirror of London, one of the most radical anti-American tabloids in the world. A perfect fit for a cretinous liar.
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