‘Journalists don’t sit down with senior government officials in the service of scoring political points. We do it in the service of asking tough questions, on behalf of our fellow citizens. And then sharing the answers — or lack thereof — with the world.’
That is NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly explaining her side of things in an op-ed in the New York Times this week following the tangle she recently got into with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“There is a reason that freedom of the press is enshrined in the Constitution. There is a reason it matters that people in positions of power — people charged with steering the foreign policy of entire nations — be held to account,” Kelly wrote. “The stakes are too high for their impulses and decisions not to be examined in as thoughtful and rigorous an interview as is possible.”
She claims Pompeo, following an interview last week, berated her, suggested Americans don’t care about Ukraine and questioned whether she could even locate the country on a map. Pompeo, for his part, said she lied and violated the terms of the agreement to keep part of their chat off the record.
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Kelly went on to explain how she also interviewed Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif about the drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani. She said all the Pompeo stuff has “overshadowed” what really matters in the current climate.
“The point is that recently the risk of miscalculation — of two old adversaries misreading each other and accidentally escalating into armed confrontation — has felt very real,” she wrote. “It occurs to me that swapping insults through interviews with journalists such as me might, terrifyingly, be as close as the top diplomats of the United States and Iran came to communicating this month.”