Fact-Based Reporting, Without Fear or Favor
I first took note of war correspondent Christiane Amanpour back in the early 1990s when I saw her on cable channel CNN, running across a crowded street in Bosnia with sniper fire ringing out.
It wasn’t only her risk-taking that arrested me; it was her unflinching reports on a different kind of war. This wasn’t an army versus an army. It was a war against civilians.
More than two decades later, she would say: “I learned…when I was covering genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, never to equate victim and aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence.”
“Because then, if you do, particularly in situations like that,” she said, “you are party and accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.”
“So,” she concluded, “I believe in being truthful, not neutral.”
Amanpour, who is now CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, interviews global leaders and decision-makers on PBS every weeknight at 11:00. Her program, Amanpour on PBS, joined the programming line-up after PBS stopped distributing programs with Charlie Rose, following multiple women’s allegations of sexual harassment.
Amanpour, who turns 59 this month, is a British citizen who spent her early years in Tehran. She is the product of a Muslim father from Iran and a Christian mother from England – and she’s married to a Jewish American, former U.S. diplomat Jamie Rubin. They live in London with their teenage son, Darius.
“I’ve lived in a completely multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious environment, in some of the most difficult places in the world,” Amanpour has said.
“I’ve seen firsthand that you can bridge differences, you can have tolerance between groups. The trick is to minimize the extremes, whether it’s in politics or in religion or in any kind of relationship, and to stick to the sensible center, which is where the vast majority, not only of this country but the world, lies,” she says.
Amanpour also has a knack for bridging between television networks and countries. She will remain with CNN in Britain while sharing her interviews with PBS in America.
She urges all journalists to re-commit to robust, fact-based reporting on the issues – without fear and without favor.
“When lies become mixed up with the truth,” she said, “it’s a very dangerous world.”
Almost three decades after Christiane dodged bullets in the Balkans, she’s sitting down in the studio with world power players. I still find her coverage arresting. And the truth is worth staying up for. See you at 11:00 weeknights, “Amanpour on PBS.”