The rooftop terrace at New York’s Empire Hotel was a fitting location for the launch party of ABC News correspondent Jim Sciutto’s new book, “Against US.” Through stunning interviews and a riveting narrative, Sciutto reports on the growing pan-Arab hatred toward Western imperialism. Scuitto, who’s been reporting on the subject for the last six years, tells TVNewser, “It’s hard not to know your nationality when you’re in that part of the world. There’s a personal aspect in this. As an American, I like my country. I get worried when it is so hated and so resented,” he says.
And the London-based correspondent should know. In the first chapter, Sciutto reveals middle class, British-born Muslim terrorists were living just down the street. A police round-up made that clear one morning.
For Sciutto, the New York junket is a rare trip home. His wife, ABC News correspondent Gloria Riviera is back in London awaiting the birth of their first child. “We have this production this month, and then next month we have the bigger production,” Sciutto says. His dad was at the party last night. His mother, who’d always told Jim he should write a book, passed away before Sciutto finished “Against US.” She’d gotten a look at an early draft before she died.
ABC News president David Westin, and ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff delivered some brief remarks. Also in attendance, ABC News EVP Dave Davis, and ABC correspondents Brian Ross and Gigi Stone. From CNN, correspondent Alina Cho and FNC’s Rick Leventhal were also on hand.
After the jump, Sciutto talks about how the book came to be, and how foreign news fits in with this very busy political season back home.
Sciutto says the reporting and research on the book goes back six years. He spent the last year and a half writing it. Not an easy task when you’re flying to Europe, Asia or Africa for your day job. “A lot of this was written on airplanes and in hotel rooms, and certainly at home on weekends, the few weekends I’ve been home,” he says. His editor at Random House wanted it on shelves before the election.
Sciutto admits it’s not always easy to get stories from thousands of miles away on the air, when one of the most historic presidential elections is happening back home. “In a political year it’s a fight, but even outside the political focus, it’s always something of a fight,” he says, adding, “This year I’ve been pleasantly surprised by stories that we covered that were in difficult places, that could have easily been, ‘okay, we’re not going to cover it this time.’ I’ve been to Zimbabwe twice this year, I went to Myanmar twice this year, and Afghanistan a couple of times.”
“ABC covers it more often than the others do, and has more of a willingness to cover it,” Sciutto says
As for the impact of the book, Sciutto tells us, “I don’t profess this to be a template for solving America’s problems in that part of the world, but at least for 1) getting at the depth and breadth of this feeling of this resentment, and also for breaking some caricatures, that it’s not the wild-eyed crazies who think this way about America but it’s a remarkable variety of people.”
It could be the terrorists just down the street.