Christiane Amanpour is ABC News’ highly touted host of This Week. She came from CNN, where she made a reputation as a fearless foreign correspondent. This Anglo-Persian reporter wrote recently of the untimely death of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. She gave great praise to the trouble-shooting diplomat, who was always on the short list for Secretary of State in every Democratic administration.
Describing Holbrooke’s greatest diplomatic success, Amanpour wrote:
It was in Bosnia that I learned—I do not mean to make my tribute to my friend too personal, but Bosnia, and Holbrooke’s role in it, was inseparable from my own education—what it means to really see what you are witnessing and to call it by its right name.
Hers is a genuinely touching eulogy to a dedicated public servant. It also speaks to the need for reporters to see, to witness, and to call things by their right names.
Bosnia was an exciting and dangerous assignment for young Amanpour. Her clipped British accent would seem more fitting for a stately garden party at Downton Abbey than dodging real bullets and ducking from incoming Serbian mortars. We can see young Miss Amanpour wearing a broad-brimmed white hat and being served a watercress sandwich by Thomas, Milord’s footman.
Instead, the courageous CNN correspondent wore a flak jacket and did stand-up reporting outside soccer stadiums that had become makeshift cemeteries.
It all made for compelling journalism. I give Christiane Amanpour full credit for having awakened the conscience of the world to “ethnic cleansing,” the 1990s name for genocide based on ancient grudges. She could not understand how any human being could target children. Aren’t they fathers, too? I agree.
Writing of Ambassador Holbrooke’s crucial role in that conflict, she quoted jaded Europeans who kept telling her and others: “Don’t think that the cavalry is coming over the hill to save you.” They were wrong, she writes: Holbrooke was the cavalry, backed up by American military might.
Now, Chiristiane Amanpour has replaced George Stephanopoulos on the Sunday morning talk show. I have this challenge for her:
Go to Philadelphia, Christiane. Visit the little hell of Kermit Gosnell.
See the vermin-infested hole where Gosnell ran an abortion mill. Listen to stories of how he and his minions snipped the spinal chords of newborns that they had failed to kill in the womb. Hear how Gosnell described one of the newborn babies he killed as “big enough to walk me to the bus.”
Can Christiane Amanpour exercise her moral sense on this story? Is she willing to “see what you are witnessing and call it by its right name” here in Philadelphia, far from exotic Sarajevo?