Russian Ambassador Fires Back at CNN's Christiane Amanpour On Her Family's Conflict of Interest

The Russians are firing back at CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour for some Thursday remarks on her CNN International show about Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations. Amanpour mocked his daughter for working as a journalist for Russia Today in New York, and covering her father.

Churkin sent a letter to Amanpour pointing out that if that’s a familial conflict, then what about her “courtship” and marriage to former State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin? They were married in 1998 right in the middle of his Clinton administration service, where he was touted as Madeleine Albright's right-hand man.

Amanpour reported:

And one more note: we continue to reach out to the Russian government for their comment, including officials such as U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin. We haven't had much luck, but perhaps people like Churkin feel they don't really have to leave their comfort zone. Churkin's own daughter is the U.S.-based reporter for "Russia Today" in New York. She's shown here, quizzing U.S. State Department spokesman Jen Psaki over this whole Ukraine crisis. And in the past, she's even reported on her own father.

Churkin replied:

Dear Ms. Amanpour,

I am taken aback by the personal attacks you resorted to in your show on March 20. I have known you for many years (including through a number of on-the-air interviews) and used to respect you professionally. So it was somewhat startling that my inability to give another interview provoked such an outburst.

As to my unwillingness, as you put it, to leave my "comfort zone” – you are absolutely right. After 8 meetings of the Security Council on the situation in Ukraine and Crimea (six of them in front of TV cameras) I feel very comfortable that the truth is beginning to come across....

But I wouldn’t be writing to you if you did not also choose to personally attack my daughter – your younger colleague – a Russian TV journalist. I am very proud of her – not only is she a good journalist, but she strictly keeps her professional distance from me.

Incidentally, I recall you married the State Department Spokesman. How was your professional credibility in the course of your courtship?

Don’t bother to answer. I don’t really want to know.

[HT: Dan Gainor]

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