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Mansbridge One on One: Arthur Kent

Peter Mansbridge is considered by many to be one of the most trusted faces in Canadian news. In his half-hour interview program called Mansbridge One on One, which still airs on CBC-TV, the renowned anchor and journalist speaks with fascinating people from all walks of life. Since it began airing in 1999, Mansbridge has interviewed politicians, business leaders, authors, activists, artists, journalists, and an eclectic variety of other various notable newsmakers.

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"Afghanistan is a country that has been used as other people's battlegrounds," declares Arthur Kent during this 2001 episode of Mansbridge One on One.  As another conflict looms over the southern Asian nation - this time against the ruling Taliban regime - the veteran foreign correspondent joins Peter Mansbridge to talk about his recently released documentary Afghanistan: Captives of the Warlords.  In conversation about his latest project, Kent reveals his longstanding connection with the war-torn state and shares his thoughts on what it will take to finally achieve peace. 
• Born in 1954 in Medicine Hat, Alta., Arthur Kent took his first broadcasting job during the 1970s as a reporter for Ottawa's CJOH-TV, the same station that launched the career of ABC anchor Peter Jennings.

• In 1976, Kent joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and became the network's youngest news correspondent at age 22.

• By 1979 Kent was on his way to Afghanistan, his first foreign assignment, to film a documentary about the Soviet occupation. In 1983, he returned to the region as a freelance journalist and spent five years reporting on the mujahedeen resistance to the Russian regime.

• His work on the Soviet-Afghan war caught the attention of NBC chief anchor Tom Brokaw and by 1989, Kent had joined the American network as its Rome correspondent. Later that year he won two Emmy Awards for his work covering the Romanian revolution and the Tiananmen Square massacre for NBC.

• At the start of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Kent was posted in Saudi Arabia where he quickly rose to fame filing nightly live reports of Iraqi Scud missile attacks. Charmed by his good looks, viewers dubbed Kent the "Scud Stud", a nickname that is still used by the media to describe him.

• In 1992 NBC fired Kent after a labour dispute and he returned to the CBC to host the non-denominational, religion-based program, Man Alive from 1993 to 1995.

• After successfully suing NBC, Kent penned the book Risk & Redemption: Surviving the Network News Wars in 1996, a work that questioned the ethics behind broadcast news reporting in the United States.

• Despite his popularity for reporting from other areas of the world, Kent's interest in Afghanistan never wavered. Throughout his career as a journalist, he returned to cover continuous conflicts endured by the remote nation including the fall of the Taliban and the NATO-led peacekeeping mission that followed.

• In 2000 Kent hosted and produced Afghanistan: Captives of the Warlords, a documentary that was televised across North America just prior to the October 2001 start of the War in Afghanistan. The film, which was recorded using a hidden camera during the Taliban's stranglehold on the country, exposed the impact of the repressive regime on the Afghan people and eventually won a CINE Golden Eagle Award and a New York Festivals' Gold WorldMedal.

• In recent years, Kent's career has taken a political turn. Elected in November 2007 by the Conservative Party of Alberta to run as their Calgary-Currie candidate, he eventually lost his riding to Liberal MP Dave Taylor during the March 2008 provincial election.
Medium: Television
Program: Mansbridge One on One
Broadcast Date: Oct. 5, 2001
Guest(s): Arthur Kent
Interviewer: Peter Mansbridge
Duration: 22:25

Last updated: June 18, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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