tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN June 23, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PDT
that's it for 360. thanks for watching. piers morgan starts now. see you tomorrow. christiane amanpour is a fearless woman. she's reported in every one of the world's hot spots and now not hotter than washington. tonight, christiane amanpour -- >> this is tough and extreme duty and we take it on for a reason. it's because we believe in it. >> what drives her. >> we're not going to stand by and allow those lies to be told. >> a story she risked her life to get. >> christiane amanpour, cnn, israel. it's getting dangerous and much more dangerous frankly from when i started to today. >> and challenges of female reporters in the danger zone.
>> we have to be careful. women have to be careful. >> christiane amanpour for the hour. this is "piers morgan tonight." watching you come back into the studio just now is like watching the queen of england returning to meet her subject. sort offed adore ration for you. >> these are people i worked with all my career. i dispute the word subject. we're a team. i've always been a team player. i believe strongly that television of all our medium is only a team operation. you can't do it. it's not a one-person operation. so i have great amount of affection and admiration and respect for people in the studio and the field. that sustained me in all of my career. hardest times in the field or
taking on challenges now sitting behind the anchor desk, it's about the team who you work with as well. >> it's typically modest of you to say this. you were at cnn right from the start virtually and were there for all of the great stories. to many people you are one of the great faces of cnn over these years. do you ever feel a slight sadness you're not here anymore? >> i love the family at cnn. they're still part of my family. i'm very aware of the dramatic history of cnn and the dramatic impact that it's had all over the world. remember, when ted turner created it 31 years ago, he did something completely revolutionary. he made not just 24/7 but international 24/7 news and he made people have a different relationship with their world with information and he was so far ahead of the curve. so for me to have started my career in that kind of environment is something that you never forget and that you never move past and that you
always keep with you and i feel that we've been on this amazing global ride together so of course i miss my family at cnn, but it's very interesting to move on right now and i think acquire a whole new set of ammunition in my hole ster. doing things i've never done before. policy. talking about the economy. talking about presidential politics. the kind of thing that i only viewed in terms of how it affected the world out there. so i'm learning a whole lot. i've got wonderful new team, new friends over there. you never forget your old friends either. >> you'll always be one of us. i don't care what you say. >> it's always nice to be back. thanks for having me as a guest. >> any time. what was it that made you become a journalist? >> i had an amazing opportunity because out of really a hellish development in the world and that was the revolution in iran back in 1979, not only did it fundamentally change the region,
change iran's relationship with the united states, and the rest of the world, it had a personal affect for all of us. it changed our lives and turned everything we knew upside down. >> you were there. >> exactly. i grew up in iran. my family was close. we didn't do politics. one-party system. many people call it a dictatorship. it was not a pluralistic democratic system. i grew up blind to that. i wasn't political. my brain didn't really kick in until i was about 20 and the revolution happened. i was about 20 as i say. old enough to understand what was going on, to be fascinated and horrified in terms of what it was doing personally but there i decided that what i wanted to do was cover these kinds of world shaking events and try to make sense of them. as i was trying to make sense and process it, i decided that's what i wanted to do with my life
so from that i said journalism could be a way to do it. then i took all of the steps that i needed to take. >> what is the art of being a good journalist? not just an ordinary journalist. take it a step further. to be a great journalist. what does it take? >> to be a journalist takes a fundamental commitment, a fundamental pursuit of truth and to be curious and to admit that you don't know everything and that you're not trying to put your stamp on the world and that you're not trying to say this is right or that is right and you're not trying to be political or ideological. you literally are trying to uncover more and more information in order to make sense of the world and to impart it as best you can. i think that in order to be willing to stand out and uncover the uncomfortable and uncomfortable truths, you have to be willing, a, to put yourself in harm's way if that's
what it takes but, b, you have to be prepared not to be liked. if you want to be liked and loved and adored and kept inside a club and be one of us, you're not going to be good. you're not going to be good. >> what i always liked about your style, it's not confrontational by you never shied away from being opinionated. people have this idea about cnn that it doesn't have opinion. it doesn't have partisanship. that's different than having an opinion. whether it's bosnia or other big issues, you're not afraid to speak your mind and to take sides if need be if you see a genuine inequality in terms of a defensible position, you'll take a side. >> you talk about opinionated and you talk about fundamental massive crimes against humanity that i've been covering. i think that there are two different standards for us. i don't believe that i'm
opinionated when it comes to ordinary stories. i do believe that by force of being confronted with it in very formative years, being in bosnia when a genocide was happening, i was unable and unwilling to say that each side is equally guilty. i was not going to say that the sniper i saw in the hills targeted a child, targeting a woman, targeting an innocent and defenseless civilian had the same point of view as the victim. i was not going to draw a false moral equivalence and for that i took flack. people said i was taking sides. >> you also made a difference. i want to play a clip from a question you asked president clinton in 1994 which had a genuine effect on him. >> as leader of the only superpower, why has it taken you, the united states, so long to articulate a policy on bosnia and do you not think that the constant flip-flops of your administration on the issue of
bosnia sets a very dangerous precedent? >> there have been no constant flip-flops, madame. i ran for president saying i would do my best to limit ethnic cleansing and to see the united states play a more active role. >> madame. wow. he was annoyed. >> he was very angry with me. i couldn't go anywhere after that without people calling me madame. every interview i did, the subject would say madame. >> that moment, that exchange to me summed up the amanpour brand. america had a duty to get involved. >> i did believe that. that was based on three years, four years of watching this war unfold and seeing that very little was being done and the fact of the matter is the united states, the president, was frustrated. very shortly thereafter not because of my question but because of the way policy and
politics in that region was developing, they did take a much tougher stand and as you remember in 1995 when there was this massacre, 8,000 muslim men and boys slaughtered, president clinton bombed the bosnia serbs and their military capability and then forged a peace which last to this day. the point is they were unable to deal with the situation at the time. the united states was not projecting its leadership at that time. you were in england at the time. europe didn't want to step up and kept telling the world that this was just centuries of ethnic hatred and all sides were equally guilty. it was not. we were not going to stand by and allow those lies to be told. >> you said before and i found this fascinating that one of the more shameful periods in your life as a journalist and you
applied it to yourself, cnn, other news networks around the world, to all media was rwanda. tell me why. >> it came around that time in fact. it was in 1994 in a period of some three months the who , this wasn't gas chambers. this was clubs and machetes. the world didn't intervene. no one wanted to do it. they thought they couldn't. i don't believe that. i think intervention could have worked. you have seen that president clinton, the then head of the united nation peacekeepers who became u.n. secretary-general, kofi annan, many leaders spent a long time apologizing for that. i think what happened there was there wasn't this critical mass of journalists there telling the story because many, many other things were happening. bosnia was happening. there was a good news story happening in south africa with election of nelson mandela. there was o.j. simpson and trial
here in the united states. all of that deflected attention so what you had in was the opposite of what we managed to achieve in bosnia. in rwanda by lacking attention and not being there in critical mass, we bear a part of the blame for not having been there and forcing that terrible genocide into the public's fear. >> how deeply do you feel that? >> i feel it very deeply like everybody does. like everybody who was involved whether president clinton or many of the other world leaders, i feel it very, very deeply. i believe in the power of this medium. i believe that when you use it, you can really be effective. when you use it right. and also when you don't use it. when you miss the boat, it can have catastrophic consequences.
i do feel it very, very deeply. >> biggest regret of your career, would you say? i'm not blaming you. >> we were there but not as forcefully as perhaps we could have been and as i say in a period where there were so much distraction. >> if you had your time again -- >> i would have been there much earlier. of course. of course. of course. yeah. there's no if, ands or butts about it. that is still held over our heads. even though row wanda has become very successful, politically it still has a long way to go but health, the economy, the environment, putting women in positions of power, it's really got an amazing sort of throw weight in that part of africa but he says don't you lecture to us, you who let us be killed
i got this theory about all foreign correspondents. you're all a bit crackers. there's no other reason why you would constantly put yourselves in the firing line. >> look, piers, you're not the first one to say we're all a bit crackers or war junkies or adrenaline junkies. i think some of that is true because obviously without adrenaline we wouldn't survive. the old fight or flight. we wouldn't survive. we need to have all of the resources we can draw on. however, i think that most of us have drawn to this not just because of the adventure but because we really believe it. it's just too hard to do it if it's just that we're crackers. it's too hard because it takes a huge amount of stamina. it's dangerous. it's getting much, much more dangerous from when i started to today. it's just terrible if you look at the statistics from committee
to protect journalists, i'm a board member, we see every year not just more journalists being killed and wounded but now the leading cause of death amongst journalists around the world, foreign correspondents and journalists around the world is deliberate. that means people are killing us. that is our leading cause of death. >> when you saw what happened to laura logan in , what did you think? >> it's appalling. e every woman's nightmare. i'm grateful that nothing like that ever happened to me. i spent my whole career in that part of the world covering those kinds of events and much worse. i think and i hope that it was one of those rare instances of appalling violence that we won't see repeated again. we do have to be careful. women do have to be careful. i think that men also, you know, are attacked a lot. >> anderson cooper was beaten up when he was there as well. these are volatile situations
you are usually in. do you think it's a help or hindrance being a woman on the front line? >> i always said throughout my career it's been a great help being a woman. it's like being a man only better. you know why? the truth of the matter is after socialization, men are still more inclined to be polite to women in the first instance. doors open. then they can slam but once you got your foot in the door, it's better than not having your foot in the door. i have found that it is been a great advantage even in places like saudi arabia where you have to put on the whole garb and places like iran and places like afghanistan that are very conservative muslim societies where frankly they won't let you talk to the women who often have the most important stories if you're a man. being a female correspondent and having a female crew with me has been an amazing door opener and an amazing advantage so i
wouldn't trade places for the world. >> what's been the single closest moment you've come to being killed? >> i would say in bosnia early on. i was in the hotel. one morning i woke up to the sound of incoming artillery which i quickly learned to identify. i tried to fling myself out of my room. the door was locked. i didn't hear the sound anymore. i thought i was dreaming it. a lot of my colleagues came bang banging on my door and it was like a 105 millimeter shell had come into the room a couple doors down and destroyed the room. it hasn't exploded. if it had exploded, i wouldn't be sitting here today and the whole floor would have been taken out. i still have that shell. it's a reminder -- >> you kept it? >> it was difficult to take out because it was heavy. i thank the good lord that i survived. so many of my friends haven't
and so many of my friends have been injured and this is tough and extreme duty and we take it on for a reason. it's not just because we love heroics s heroics, it's because we believe in it. >> how do you assess when you are in the front line there and an incident like that happens, how do you assess danger? >> it's an intangible. there are obviously major steps you can take just purely sensible steps that you take and frankly after several of our colleagues were wounded in early years of bosnia, our collective organizations did several things. they gave us bulletproof vests. they gave us bulletproof vehicles. however, i think that the years on the road, years in danger gives you a sixth sense. you develop how far to push it. how far to pull back. it came into very useful for me in egypt actually this time around in tahir square and that
whipping up of anti-foreign fervor. >> could you believe what you were seeing there when it happened? >> you mean in terms of the revolution? that day when these guys stormed through the square like something out of the mid evil era. >> it was crazy. i used those two days which were of most danger in the square to actually go out and that's when i came across president mubarak. >> the great advantage you had which is intier furiate ing to the rest of us is when amampour rolls into town and you are visible to these characters and when it came to who would get to mubarak, i could have answered the question before we started. it would always be you. how do you get in with these guys? very protective people? >> you set the bar very high. i never thought i would come close to him.
everyone was trying to see him. he wasn't giving any interviews. i did go to the palace to interview the vice president. it was an exclusive. we didn't know where we were going. i've been here before. i know this is the palace and where mubarak has been in the past. i asked whether he was there. they said yeah. i went to see him. it was an amazing -- >> you make it sound so casual. as simple as that? >> it was. it could have failed. they could have said no. i was lucky. i was lucky. also i guess i've been doing this for 20 years. >> as you are being led through to meet mubarak and you know the entire world's media wants to get to this guy and you're about to do it, do you still get that rush? >> are you kidding me? my goodness. i was thinking i wish i had a camera to do an interview. he didn't want to do that. i said to my producer, run. come with me. bring the camera. the still camera. that's what we did. we took pictures.
we talked to him. i talked to him for about 20, 25 minutes. afterwards i asked if i could report what he had said. i scribbled everything down and then we did. it was a situation that was great. i had seen him at the height of his power. here he was telling me that he understood what the people were saying and that he knew he had to go. he wanted to do it in a way that saved face to an extent and many people in the region were quite stunned that he was told to leave on no uncertain terms by the united states without so much as an acknowledgement of what he had done as an ally, as an ally of israel and keeper of the peace. >> i want to talk to you also about the biggest international story of the year so far and there have been quite a few. [ man ] i got this new citi thankyou card
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my gut feeling would be that bin laden's death is the biggest news story. you might have a different view. what do you think? >> obviously it's a huge news story. after ten years on the run, it's amazing that he was caught and the way he was caught and killed was very efficient and very james bond. it was pretty amazing. and it will have a lasting impact even though they just announced that his deputy will become the leader and vowing revenge. people don't think that he has the same charisma and same organizational capacity, but i think we all have to be on our guard. they do want to do something big and they are looking at the tenth anniversary, which is this coming september. i do think that in its own way plays right into this arab spring because i think that what's happening and the polls back this up and our experience on the ground back this up that bin ladenism is dying. that fundamentalism and extremism is less and less of an attractive quality to the young people of that region and that
if you go from tunisia to tahrir square, they are talking about freedom and dignity and talking about progress and talking about the economy and having a job and so i think that what we're seeing right now is a huge positive opportunity. i know many people here are worried about it. i know people look at the challenges. >> they look at you and say here's somebody who was in iran when the big revolution went down there. and many people, probably fairly tritely look at what's happened in the middle east and think here we go again. we're getting rid of these figure who is have been running the show for years and replacing them with the unknown. the problem with the unknown is you could end up with what we now have in iran, and they're worried that this could happen in egypt and other middle eastern countries. you're the best person to ask. what do you think of that? >> i think that worry is understandable.
i think for sure egypt is not iran. muslim brotherhood are not eye atollaed is atollaed is atolla atollas. they didn't choose that track. they chose peaceful protest. we should embrace that. jumping on it. figuring out how to help it and how to guide that toward fruition. on the other hand, there are islamic groups in many countries and people are concerned about it there and here. my opinion having been in iran and having been to many of these places, my experience says that because there was no opportunity for any kind of political kind of activism in these countries, dictatorship, they were closed, no real unions or civil society and no political parties so where did the activism happen, in the mosque.
i feel that while there are spectrums on these islamic groups from more moderate to less that inevitableably y e y y many of the new parties will have an islamic flavor but i don't believe that that necessarily means that they are against the west, that they are aggressive or militant. i think that's what we have to keep our eye on and help. >> i remember in tahrir square i asked if there was anti-americanism in the air, it wasn't an anti-west thing. it was a rising populous of young people who are better educated and access to social networking around the world and communicating with other people and knowing there's a better life out there thinking i won't get it here unless i do something. that's a very, very different thing. some kind of religious uprising.
>> anti-israel sentiment weren't invoked and we didn't see u.s. and iz ral sraeli flags being burned. it started and let's hope it continues despite the fact that i also am worried if one is not careful how these islamic groups take advantage of what's going on and what their actions will be. i think we have to accept that people deserve their rights. people deserve their human rights. it's enough already. we have been asking since 9/11 at least when will the moderate arab voice, the moderate muslim voice be heard. why aren't moderates talking? now they're talking and they're shouting and we need to be on their side. >> when we come back we'll talk about what i think was one of your finest hours.
>> i want to play you one of my favorite moments from one of your great interviews. this is your interview with colonel gadhafi. >> they love me all. >> if they do love you -- >> they would die to protect me and my people. >> everybody loves him. >> oh, boy. you could see i had a smirk on my face. if they love you, why are they protesting against you, mr. leader gadhafi. you know, people in no matter what line of work who are used to being adored, looked up to, never said no to, isolated and caught in a bubble, are going to have a tenuous grasp on reality. in that regard he has a tenuous grasp on reality. >> what he's shown is he has a pretty strong grip on his country because at the moment -- >> he has a strong grip on himself. what's happening here is that
he's trying to survive a pretty fierce nato bombardment and he is not supported by as many people as he would like to be. how do you get him off? creative solutions will have to be found to get him out. >> how do you feel about many see as a hypocrisy? they have all at various stages been allies at some capacity and then they've become the most evil people on the planet. there are observers that look at this that say there's no consistency to the way we deal with these people. >> you know, it was quite easy to go after gadhafi because even though in recent years he's come in from the cold, he was never someone the west was very comfortable dealing with. saddam was never somebody anybody was comfortable deal with except during the iran/iraq war when they sided with him. syria is something we need to look at carefully.
this is a terrible, appalling thing happening in syria. we, the press, are not being allowed in. some people are trying to do their very best but it's very, very difficult. >> how many battles honestly can the west wage here? >> nobody is thinking that they can actually do a military intervention at the moment in syria at all but there is potentially a lot more diplomacy and more gathering of all of the allies together to make some meaningful pressure. the question is and i interviewed assad and they said he would reform syria and make it much more reformed. it just hasn't happened. i asked the king of jordan a few weeks ago on my program, do you think that he's still a reformer. is he actually calling the shots in this appalling crackdown on the people there? he said yes. he said i think he's calling the shots. he's firmly in charge. he's not yet willing to call for a national dialogue and try to
resolve this. many people think that it's too late. there's too much blood being spilled. many people think he's going to eventually fall and it will be long and bloody. >> this is a very different kind of situation to what we're talking about with rwanda. what you're seeing here over the middle east are organic civil uprising and there is an argument that we should all just stay out of these. these are forms of civil war and that really if it was happening in america, would we appreciate people coming in telling us how to lead our lives and run our businesses? >> apples and oranges. it's not civil war. it's people rising up for their own rights. it is people like you and i who have never been able to express themselves freely who have never been able to choose their own leaders, who have spent a lifetime under the boot of oppression that's been very, very heavy and finally heeding
the calls of the west or aspirations of the west to stand up and be counted. that's what they are finally doing. they deserve all our support. the civil war fear comes from the leaders who use that saying that after me, catastrophe. so support me. otherwise i'm going to show you how catastrophic it's going to become. the point of this is that this is an amazing opportunity that presents obviously some challenges. there are ups and downs. they are being dealt with differently by their own leadership but i think this calls for real creative global diplomacy. real creative global diplomacy. >> if you're barack obama, you've got huge, huge pressure now domestically. everyone is clamoring for an end to wars which are incredibly expensive and investment backing america and all things american. it's very hard to tell these people who have lost their homes and their jobs and their
livelihoods, we are going to go around the middle east and spend yet more billions sorting out what in most cases they might see as civil war in various guises. >> i don't think the united states is saying that by any stretch of the imagination. as you can see the united states is not that thrilled with being involved in libya. secretary particularly want to do. the military didn't particularly want to do it. i feel these things are also domestic politics because they are all vitally important to the united states, not in a day-to-day way but in terms of how their influence and how their interest play out. a big impact. not just a marginal impact. this is a vitally important part of the world for the united states. >> hold that thought. we'll have another break and come back to talk to you about domestic politics which is your new area of expertise. >> or of learning.
that will be news to inside washington. i'm having an amazing time learning all about this side of the political spectrum whereas before i was doing all of the reporting on how america affected the world and continue to do that but it's very interesting to see now from a washington point of view and domestic point of view what goes into policy making, and it's fascinating. it's going to be the economy. that's been a truism throughout politics whether here in the united states or around the world. i think what he does is going to rise and fall on what the indicators are now and leading into the election. of course everyone is looking at employment. it affects so many millions of people in this country. >> who do you see of the republican candidates now? we've had a big debate recently. who do you see beginning to
emerge as a serious contender? >> the polls show that romney is in the closest head to head competition with president obama and so we'll see how that plays out. the debate that cnn carried in new hampshire was really interesting. first time we've seen all seven of the currently declared candidates on the stage with michelle bachmann declaring right there and then. >> is sarah palin the great elephant in the room here in a sense until we know what she's doing, the whole republican system is in abayians. >> if you look at the polls, that's not what they say. she has a lot of influence and absorbs a lot of media attention. >> are you a fan? >> some of people talk about whether she would take away from michelle bachmann and vice versa because they are both very
similar and have similar statesman in the tea party spectrum of politics because she was there first. but mick shell walkman is very much devoted to that and runs the tea party caucus. i think that is going to be very interesting and very interesting to see whether there are women who become serious contenders and got whole way. i think it's all fascinating. >> as someone who's trail blazed girl power in the media. >> girl power? >> a little spice girls. >> i would say -- go ahead. >> what would you call it? >> confidence power? proficiency power? >> nothing sexist. >> nothing sexist. >> it was the spice girls that coined that phrase. >> that's fine. that's fine. >> confidence power. the reason we said girl power is that i'm sure a lot of your instinct is great to see women at the top of their profession like the sarah palins, michele bachmanns. get my instinct would also tell me that ideologically and politically you're about as far
removed from what they're saying as you could possibly be. >> this is very dangerous as the assumption you've just put forward. i'm not an american. i don't vote. i don't have an ideological bias. i actually have a lot of of both. i believe in a lot of liberal policies and a lot of conservative policies. and i remember -- i don't know why i'm saying this, but i remember my first democratic vote was for margaret thatcher in england. and the reason was because of the way the british government at the time was dealing with iran. and they were selling out what i considered my homeland and the people who i had grown up respecting. but also -- and you probably remember in the 70s -- we had untrammelled union power. do you remember? we had no electricity, no hot water. and i remember that being part of my form tiff boarding school years. so you make your decisions based on how you judge certain aspects of life. having said that, of course i
would like to see more women shattering the glass ceiling. of course. in the united states it's only about 20% of congress that's women. a lot of the people who are in various offices were appointed after their husbands died, for instance, or ran for their husband's seats. i think there's so much power in this country that women hold and is waiting to be unleashed that i would like to see much, much more of it in public life. and it's not just for some nice kumbaya moment, a nice feeling. it's not about women leading the world and bashing men. no, it's about parity. it's about diversity. it's about enough already! we need equality. and the figures show in every line of work, in every line of work, that when women are in senior positions of power or authority or business or whatever it is, the results are good if not better.
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christiane, there are two men in your life which in normal circumstances would be quite complicated. but this of course is your husband and your son. >> yeah. >> you're an amazingly close family given the ridiculous schedules you all must have. tell me about domestic life for the christiane amanpour world. >> i think every mother knows -- every working mother knows it's a major challenge to balance work and parenthood. it doesn't get easier no matter what kind of job you do. i do a bit of an extreme job which takes me away for periods of time. but i guess i am so committed to my child that i do every non-working moment i try to be with him. so i do all of it. take to school, bring back from school, do the after-school stuff. always hanging around. i don't believe it quality time versus quantity time. i think kids absolutely need quantity. and obviously quality is good.
but it's a great passion for me. >> has your view changed? because i read a great quote that i think you old oprah winfrey that you had this terrible dilemma when you first gave birth to your son which was almost this kind of wonderful notion you could just take your baby around these war zones. >> yes. >> armored diaper. >> that's right. i talked about kevlar diapers. i guess i was naive and overcome by the desire to be with him all the time and not to be away from him. of course it wasn't logical, it wasn't safe. it wasn't the right thing to take him to these war zones. but look. another great lady, jacqueline onassis, once said, if you mess up raising your children, nothing else matters. no matter what else you've achieved or accomplished. and i strongly believe that and i'm completely committed to my son and being the best mother i possibly can. >> and your husband's a pretty special guy. >> he is. >> james rubin. >> he is an amazing guy. because he's there all the time and particularly when i'm not there.
and he is really the perfect husband and the perfect father. >> he's not a typical house husband. >> exactly. >> but he's been there for you when he's needed to be. >> exactly. and as a result, my son has a fabulous relationship with his father. and we know all the facts, all the figures show us that when children, you know, have and are lucky enough to have both parents, how they flourish. and i'm delighted to say that he's a wonderful boy. he's bright. he's compassionate. he's gorgeous and loving and naughty. who doesn't want that? >> like his mother. >> like his mother. [ laughter ] >> funny. it would be remiss of me not to ask you about katie couric who's coming to abc. are you excited? >> absolutely. >> are you frightened? you news divas will have a bit of a -- >> please. i've taken sniping from the very best of courters overseas. katy and i are really good friends. she started -- well, one of her major beginnings was at cnn around the same time i started there.