On Wednesday night, GW’s Lisner Auditorium hosted several well-respected journalists for a discussion on the press’ coverage of America’s changing role in the world. The discussion, moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS featured Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times; and Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for NBC News.
From Iran to China to the Middle East, the panelists discussed the effects of American foreign policy both at home and abroad. When discussing Iran, Friedman noted that Iran played a critical role in ousting the Taliban, yet nonetheless was included as part of “Axis of Evil”, a phrase former President George W. Bush coined to include Iraq and North Korea during his 2002 State of the Union Address.
Friedman also described in the U.S.-Iranian relationship a “34-year old Cold War”. However, he argued that the United States has a “fundamental interest” in ensuring Iran does not produce a nuclear weapon.
Mitchell discussed the Iranian nuclear negotiations as having a “small window,” while also emphasizing the role of Secretary of State John Kerry in leading the talks. With the Middle East, both Mitchell and Friedman agreed that Israel shouldn’t attack Syria because it would, as Friedman pointed out, give Iran an “excuse” to retaliate.
The panel also discussed their adventures covering important events. Mitchell said, in reference to traveling with the Secretary of State, “If they tell you the trip is a week, pack for two weeks.” The evening concluded with a question and answer session in which panelists were asked about the current state of the press in terms of covering international affairs.
The event was sponsored by The News Literacy Project and the School for Media and Public Affairs.