NBC News fired Peter Arnett after the veteran correspondent gave an interview to Iraqi state television claiming the U.S. war plan had "failed." At first, NBC tried to downplay Arnett's actions, claiming he gave the interview as a "professional courtesy." Today, however, NBC changed their tune and fired Arnett, saying in a statement: "It was wrong for him to grant an interview to state-run Iraqi TV, especially in a time of war." Arnett, to his credit, appeared on NBC's Today show this morning and apologized for his actions.
NBC clearly understood that even though Arnett gave the interview on his own accord, his actions still reflected on the integrity of NBC News, and thus the company had to exercise institutional control by firing Arnett. This is a lesson Columbia University should, but probably won't, heed in dealing with renegade professor Nicholas de Genova, whose actions I described in this previous post.