[Update, 7:30 pm Eastern: Audio and video clips added.]
On CBS’s Late Late Show Tuesday night, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour again claimed that she was a nonpolitical entity: “I know it’s very fashionable and trendy to wear your politics on your sleeve right now, but I just don’t.” When host Craig Ferguson favorably compared her to the late Walter Cronkite, Amanpour gushed, “He was so special. I think we really will miss him” [audio clips from the interview are available here].
Towards the end of the interview, at about 22 minutes into the 1 am Eastern hour, Ferguson asked her if she about her political stance, specifically in the context of her native Iran: “What about you and politics though? Do you find yourself in accord with Ahmadinejad?” The CNN chief international correspondent tossed a question back at him: “What do you think?” When the CBS host joked that he didn’t view her as “a big Ahmadinejad-i,” Amanpour replied with her claim of objectivity: “You know...I know it’s very fashionable and trendy to wear your politics on your sleeve right now, but I just don’t.” Ferguson complimented her, but she continued that “I feel- to be very honest with you, that- that if I went and- and treated every story through my own political lens, then how is anybody to know what’s- what’s true? Or at least as close to the objective truth.”
Ferguson replied to this claim by dropping Cronkite’s name as an example of an objective journalist, and made his glowing comparison between the dead anchor and Amanpour. In response, the CNN correspondent went on and on about how he was her role model and how much it was an honor for her to meet the now-dead journalist.
FERGUSON: That’s what journalists used to do. And Cronkite- you were never quite sure about Cronkite. I mean- and your career looks a little bit like Cronkite’s as well. I mean, the- you know, going into the field; going into dangerous situations, and then coming- doing what you’re doing now, coming back and- and using that in the anchor chair.
AMANPOUR: Well- you’re really flattering me, but he is obviously a role model for that precise reason- not because he became famous and a great anchor, but because of all the things he did to do get there- and field reporting was it-
FERGUSON: And intergrity-
AMANPOUR: And his integrity, his credibility. I sought him out a few years ago, because I really just wanted to meet him-
FERGUSON: Oh, you did meet him then? Gosh, that’s great.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I wanted to meet him. I wanted to talk to him about some of the incredible things that he did- whether it was about the Vietnam War; whether it was when he got his start in World War II.
You know, there’s something about war and being in a dangerous situation and- and feeling like you’re part of a band of brothers and sisters that’s really bonding. I mean, you really have seen the extreme side of life-
FERGUSON: Well, I’ve noticed that when I talked- whenever I’ve talked to troops who have been hurt in the field- when you go to Walter Reed [Hospital] or any of the other places overseas-
FERGUSON: That every- every one, without exception, wants to get back-
AMANPOUR: They do- yeah.
FERGUSON: Wants to get back to their company.
AMANPOUR: They really do- they really do, and there’s something really special about that- and he [Cronkite] was so special. And I think we really will miss him. Even though journalism has changed so much....he still- remains to me a role model, so I wanted to thank him and ask him- you know, what he did and how he did it, and he was great.
Now, as my colleague Tim Graham noted after the CNN correspondent made a similar claim about her apparent lack of politics to another CBS employee (just over a month earlier in June), Amanpour has been quite unobjective at times in the past. She also treated young devout Muslims more sympathetically than their Christian counterparts during one of her past CNN specials.
Speaking of Amanpour’s CNN specials and young Muslims, the CNN correspondent promoted her upcoming special on Islamic youths, and hinted she was using President Obama as a bit of an inspiration: “So what we decided to do was look at the next generation of Moslems around the world. President Obama saying- you know, you step forward, turn the page with the Moslem world- and that America can’t afford to have the new generation seeing America as the enemy. So we went out to check out the young people... [in] Afghanistan, a little in Pakistan, Gaza and the West Bank- and really, what we found was extraordinary and actually very hopeful.”
The CNN correspondent also mentioned that she has a program of her own waiting in the wings on her network. We might not want to hold our breaths for objectivity in that endeavor.