Peter Arnett

Journalist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his five-hour interview, Peter Arnett talks about his early years, and his first journalism jobs, at newspapers like "The Southland Times" and "The Sydney Sun." He describes his time at the Associated Press, first in Laos, and later in Indonesia. He chronicles reporting on the Vietnam War for the AP, where his coverage of the Tet Offensive received complaints from the Johnson Administration. He recalls being hired by then-fledgling cable news outlet CNN, where he filed several reports as a correspondent in South America. Arnett details reporting for CNN from the Al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad the evening that American bombing on the city commenced during the Gulf War, and the various challenges he faced during that reporting, from Iraqi security forces censoring his reports, to growing criticism from America on the substance of those reports. He speaks of his interviews with both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, as well as the biggest challenges facing journalists during the Trump administration. Tom Herman conducted the interview on November 19, 2018 in New York, NY.

“I walked through the halls of the Al Rashid Hotel and I said, ‘God, I’m the only journalist here. I’m reporting on America’s greatest enemy, and I’m able to talk about it to an audience, not just in Atlanta, Georgia or Washington, D.C. - the whole world is watching.’ Where else would I ever want to be?”

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Peter Arnett on the differences between print journalism and television journalism
Peter Arnett on the reaction of the Lyndon Johnson administration to his AP reporting from Vietnam
Peter Arnett on meeting Ted Turner soon after he was hired to be on CNN
Peter Arnett on broadcasting, along with Bernard Shaw and John Holliman, from the Al Rashid Hotel the night of the American bombing of of Baghdad
Peter Arnett on interviewing Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on conveying the importance of a free press to students
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his first jobs in journalism, at "The Southland Times" and "Trade Union Weekly" newspapers; on writing for "The Sydney Sun" newspaper, and on deciding he wanted to one day work on Fleet Street
On going to write for the "Bangkok World" newspaper, and later "The Laos Vientiane World"; on reporting on a Laotian coup d'état for the Associated Press
On going to work for the Associated Press in Indonesia; on being expelled from Indonesia while reporting for the Associated Press
On reporting from Saigon for the Associated Press during the Vietnam War; on the competition between the Associated Press and United Press International; on competing news outlets in Vietnam during the Vietnam War

Chapter 2

On covering the Buddhist crisis in Vietnam for the Associated Press; on getting stories out of Vietnam, and on television news being late with the stories; on government interference in his reporting from Vietnam
On appealing to the Kennedy administration when South Vietnam was hampering their reporting from the region; on covering the attempted coup in Vietnam
On covering the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and military complaints about the coverage; on the reaction of the Lyndon Johnson administration to his AP reporting from Vietnam

Chapter 3

On how the Vietnam War changed reporting on wars that came after; on being hired as a reporter for CNN in its early days
On meeting Ted Turner soon after he was hired to be on CNN; on the differences between print journalism and television journalism
On the process of putting a television news story together, and on reporting for CNN from Central America; on working with Peter Jennings

Chapter 4

On laying the groundwork for CNN's coverage of the Gulf War; on broadcasting, along with Bernard Shaw and John Holliman, from the Al Rashid Hotel the night of the American bombing of of Baghdad
On public reaction to his, Bernard Shaw's, and John Holliman's coverage of the bombing of Baghdad from the Al Rashid Hotel; on using words instead of pictures to describe the action on the ground in Baghdad the first day, and on dealing with Iraqi security; on Iraqi security forces attempting to censor his reports from Baghdad
On staying behind in Baghdad during the Gulf War after his colleagues from CNN left; on CNN and Ted Turner resisting pressure from the George H.W. Bush administration to pull Arnett out of Baghdad; on reporting on the bombing of a baby milk factory during the Gulf War, and on the growing criticism of his reporting from Baghdad

Chapter 5

On interviewing Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War; on getting the tapes of his Saddam Hussein interview back to CNN without censorship from the Iraqi Ministry of Information
On the events leading up to his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden; on his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden
On the challenges facing journalists during the Trump administration; on good advice he received when starting out as a journalist; on conveying the importance of a free press to students
On career achievements and regrets; on how he would like to be remembered
Topics

Donald J. Trump

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Peter Arnett on the challenges facing journalists during the Trump administration

George H.W. Bush

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Peter Arnett on CNN and Ted Turner resisting pressure from the George H.W. Bush administration to pull Arnett out of Baghdad during the Gulf War

Gulf War

View Topic
Peter Arnett on laying the groundwork for CNN's coverage of the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on broadcasting, along with Bernard Shaw and John Holliman, from the Al Rashid Hotel the night of the American bombing of of Baghdad which marked the start of the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on public reaction to his, Bernard Shaw's, and John Holliman's coverage of the bombing of Baghdad from the Al Rashid Hotel
Peter Arnett on using words rather than images to describe the action on the ground in Baghdad the first day of the Gulf War, and on dealing with Iraqi security
Peter Arnett on Iraqi security forces attempting to censor his reports from Baghdad
Peter Arnett on staying behind in Baghdad during the Gulf War after his colleagues from CNN left
Peter Arnett on CNN and Ted Turner resisting pressure from the George H.W. Bush administration to pull Arnett out of Baghdad during the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on reporting on the bombing of a baby milk factory during the Gulf War, and on the growing criticism of his reporting from Baghdad
Peter Arnett on interviewing Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on getting the tapes of his Saddam Hussein interviw back to CNN without censorship from the Iraqi Ministry of Information

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Peter Arnett on reporting from Saigon for the Associated Press during the Vietnam War
Peter Arnett on competing news outlets in Vietnam during the Vietnam War
Peter Arnett on covering the Buddhist crisis in Vietnam for the Associated Press
Peter Arnett on getting stories out of Vietnam, and on television news being late with the stories
Peter Arnett on government interference in his reporting from Vietnam
Peter Arnett on appealing to the Kennedy administration when South Vietnam was hampering their reporting from the region
Peter Arnett on covering the attempted coup in Vietnam
Peter Arnett on covering the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and military complaints about the coverage
Peter Arnett on the reaction of the Lyndon Johnson administration to his AP reporting from Vietnam
Peter Arnett on how the Vietnam War changed reporting on wars that came after
Peter Arnett on laying the groundwork for CNN's coverage of the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on broadcasting, along with Bernard Shaw and John Holliman, from the Al Rashid Hotel the night of the American bombing of of Baghdad which marked the start of the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on public reaction to his, Bernard Shaw's, and John Holliman's coverage of the bombing of Baghdad from the Al Rashid Hotel
Peter Arnett on using words rather than images to describe the action on the ground in Baghdad the first day of the Gulf War, and on dealing with Iraqi security
Peter Arnett on Iraqi security forces attempting to censor his reports from Baghdad
Peter Arnett on staying behind in Baghdad during the Gulf War after his colleagues from CNN left
Peter Arnett on CNN and Ted Turner resisting pressure from the George H.W. Bush administration to pull Arnett out of Baghdad during the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on reporting on the bombing of a baby milk factory during the Gulf War, and on the growing criticism of his reporting from Baghdad
Peter Arnett on interviewing Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on getting the tapes of his Saddam Hussein interview back to CNN without censorship from the Iraqi Ministry of Information
Peter Arnett on the events leading up to his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden
Peter Arnett on his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Peter Arnett on the reaction of the Lyndon Johnson administration to his AP reporting from Vietnam

Network Creation

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Peter Arnett on being hired as a reporter for CNN in its early days
Peter Arnett on meeting Ted Turner soon after he was hired to be on CNN

Television Industry

View Topic
Peter Arnett on being hired as a reporter for CNN in its early days
Peter Arnett on meeting Ted Turner soon after he was hired to be on CNN

Television and the Presidency

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Peter Arnett on the reaction of the Lyndon Johnson administration to his AP reporting from Vietnam
Peter Arnett on CNN and Ted Turner resisting pressure from the George H.W. Bush administration to pull Arnett out of Baghdad during the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on the challenges facing journalists during the Trump administration

Vietnam War

View Topic
Peter Arnett on reporting from Saigon for the Associated Press during the Vietnam War
Peter Arnett on competing news outlets in Vietnam during the Vietnam War
Peter Arnett on covering the Buddhist crisis in Vietnam for the Associated Press
Peter Arnett on getting stories out of Vietnam, and on television news being late with the stories
Peter Arnett on government interference in his reporting from Vietnam
Peter Arnett on appealing to the Kennedy administration when South Vietnam was hampering their reporting from the region
Peter Arnett on covering the attempted coup in Vietnam
Peter Arnett on covering the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and military complaints about the coverage
Peter Arnett on the reaction of the Lyndon Johnson administration to his AP reporting from Vietnam
Peter Arnett on how the Vietnam War changed reporting on wars that came after

War

View Topic
Peter Arnett on reporting from Saigon for the Associated Press during the Vietnam War
Peter Arnett on competing news outlets in Vietnam during the Vietnam War
Peter Arnett on covering the Buddhist crisis in Vietnam for the Associated Press
Peter Arnett on getting stories out of Vietnam, and on television news being late with the stories
Peter Arnett on government interference in his reporting from Vietnam
Peter Arnett on appealing to the Kennedy administration when South Vietnam was hampering their reporting from the region
Peter Arnett on covering the attempted coup in Vietnam
Peter Arnett on covering the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and military complaints about the coverage
Peter Arnett on the reaction of the Lyndon Johnson administration to his AP reporting from Vietnam
Peter Arnett on how the Vietnam War changed reporting on wars that came after
Peter Arnett on laying the groundwork for CNN's coverage of the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on public reaction to his, Bernard Shaw's, and John Holliman's coverage of the bombing of Baghdad from the Al Rashid Hotel
Peter Arnett on using words rather than images to describe the action on the ground in Baghdad the first day of the Gulf War, and on dealing with Iraqi security
Peter Arnett on Iraqi security forces attempting to censor his reports from Baghdad
Peter Arnett on staying behind in Baghdad during the Gulf War after his colleagues from CNN left
Peter Arnett on CNN and Ted Turner resisting pressure from the George H.W. Bush administration to pull Arnett out of Baghdad during the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on reporting on the bombing of a baby milk factory during the Gulf War, and on the growing criticism of his reporting from Baghdad
Peter Arnett on broadcasting, along with Bernard Shaw and John Holliman, from the Al Rashid Hotel the night of the American bombing of of Baghdad which marked the start of the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on interviewing Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on getting the tapes of his Saddam Hussein interview back to CNN without censorship from the Iraqi Ministry of Information
Peter Arnett on the events leading up to his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden
Peter Arnett on his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden

War on Terror

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Peter Arnett on the events leading up to his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden
Peter Arnett on his 1997 interview with Osama bin Laden
Professions

Correspondent

View Profession
Peter Arnett on the differences between print journalism and television journalism
Peter Arnett on the process of putting a television news story together, and on reporting for CNN from Central America
Peter Arnett on good advice he received when starting out as a journalist
Peter Arnett on conveying the importance of a free press to students

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Peter Arnett on the differences between print journalism and television journalism
Peter Arnett on the process of putting a television news story together, and on reporting for CNN from Central America
Peter Arnett on good advice he received when starting out as a journalist
Peter Arnett on conveying the importance of a free press to students
Genres

News and Documentary

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Peter Arnett on broadcasting, along with Bernard Shaw and John Holliman, from the Al Rashid Hotel the night of the American bombing of of Baghdad which marked the start of the Gulf War
Peter Arnett on using words rather than images to describe the action on the ground in Baghdad the first day of the Gulf War, and on dealing with Iraqi security
People

Saddam Hussein

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Peter Arnett on interviewing Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War

Peter Jennings

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Peter Arnett on working with Peter Jennings

Bernard Shaw

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Peter Arnett on broadcasting, along with Bernard Shaw and John Holliman, from the Al Rashid Hotel the night of the American bombing of of Baghdad
Peter Arnett on public reaction to his, Bernard Shaw's, and John Holliman's coverage of the bombing of Baghdad from the Al Rashid Hotel

Donald J. Trump

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Peter Arnett on the challenges facing journalists during the Trump administration

Ted Turner

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Peter Arnett on meeting Ted Turner soon after he was hired to be on CNN
Peter Arnett on CNN and Ted Turner resisting pressure from the George H.W. Bush administration to pull Arnett out of Baghdad during the Gulf War

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