Martha Raddatz

Inside Media: Martha Raddatz

April 19, 2009

Guest: Martha Raddatz

By Lesette R. Heath, special programs coordinator

Martha Raddatz had an unsettling experience in Iran last September. The ABC News reporter and her crew were detained by police and their passports were taken.

“We were shooting [footage] on a street corner that involved police, and they took us in, took the tape and wanted to know what we were doing there,” Raddatz said.

Statements were given, and two days later the passports were returned. But for Raddatz, it was her “first and possibly last time in Iran.”

The seasoned war correspondent has found herself in tough spots before — traveling to Baghdad nearly 20 times to cover the Iraq War and making regular trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Raddatz has packed for war so many times that her husband, fellow journalist Tom Gjelten, once joked that it’s easier for her to get ready to go to Baghdad than to Cincinnati.

“I’ve done it so many times that it’s become so natural for me to go over there,” she said.

While embedded with the troops, Raddatz faced many of the same dangers as the soldiers.

“I met soldiers over and over again and developed a trust with them. That doesn’t mean that if they’ve done something wrong, you don’t cover that. I tried to cover [the war] in an unbiased, objective way,” she said.

When Raddatz became ABC’s White House correspondent during President George W. Bush’s second term, her experiences in Iraq proved useful during the press briefings.

“Bush’s presidency was about the Iraq War. It was about national security, so with the president knowing that I had that experience, I think it gave me an advantage. I know he respected that,” she said.

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