Christiane Amanpour Recalls Moment She Came Up With ‘Be Truthful, Not Neutral’ Mantra She Used to Criticize New CNN Regime


Christiane Amanpour celebrated 40 years at CNN Tuesday by talking about the moment she adopted her reportorial mantra, “Be truthful, not neutral.”

It happened in 1994 during a CNN town hall with then-President Bill Clinton when Amanpour was reporting on the Bosnian War from Sarajevo. Inside Politics’ Dana Bash rolled tape of Amanpour asking:

Why, in the absence of a policy, have you allowed the U.S. and the West to be held hostage to those who do have a clear policy, the Bosnian Serbs. And do you not think that the constant flip-flops of your administration on the issue of Bosnia sets a very dangerous precedent and would lead people such as Kim Il-sung or other strong people, to take you less seriously than you would like to be taken?

Clinton answered, “No, but speeches like that make them take me less seriously than I’d like to be taken.”

Bash asked Amanpour, “Was that something that you decided that you had to do because of what you saw? Is it something that you thought hard about?”

Amanpour said her question came from listening to Clinton’s “discourse on Bosnia.”

“So, yeah, to this day, I’m proud that I had the guts to do that, that I had the presence of mind to do it. And that’s where I learned, ‘be truthful, not neutral,’ because everybody was trying to say both sides are equally guilty. And they weren’t. They are not, like they are not in Russia and Ukraine right now. And also, in climate change. So, on every issue, be truthful, not neutral.”

Amanpour later said that Clinton “has been incredibly kind to me in the aftermath” of the pointed questioning.

When giving advice to graduates at the Columbia School of Journalism in May, Amanpour told the students to “be truthful, not neutral” after saying “I still respectfully disagree” with former boss Chris Licht for allowing Donald Trump to spew falsehoods during a CNN Town Hall.

“Bothsidesism is not always objectivity. It does not get you to the truth. Drawing false moral or factual equivalence is neither objective or truthful. Objectivity is our golden rule and it is in weighing all the sides and hearing all the evidence, but not rushing to equate them when there is no equating,” Amanpour said.

Watch the clip above via CNN.

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