Is Fox News reporting the news or is Fox News playing tattle-tale? That seems to be a question that is coming to the forefront as CNN correspondent Nic Robertson bites back at Fox News’s Steve Harrigan after Harrigan reported that Libya’s Ministry of Information used several news reporters as human shields to curtail an imminent missile attack by British Forces on one of Moammar Gadhafi’s compounds.
One of those reporters used as a human shield, according to Fox News, was CNN’s Nic Robertson. Harrigan reported that the Ministry of Information contacted the reporters to offer them all a look at the damage inflicted on the compound by UN forces. Harrigan did not attend with other reporters, and Fox News is claiming that Harrigan remained back at his hotel to avoid being used as propaganda and as a human shield.
CNN’s Nic Robertson has made comments stating that Harrigan and his crew are seen more in the hotel breakfast room eating than they are out covering any stories on the media bus during the day, claiming they rarely join other reporters.
To some it may appear that Fox News has deliberately avoided reporting on real news to their viewers in an attempt to undermine the real news reporters that are in the field actually trying to bring the true story to an audience.
The question is, will the audience see this latest debate as responsible journalism by a reporter who was willing to leave his hotel room and report the news as he saw it to his audience, or responsible journalism by a reporter who avoided going to a site, that had previously been bombarded by UN forces, to avoid becoming a tool of Moammar Gadhafi to use against UN forces?
While speaking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Robertson said, “This allegation is outrageous and it’s absolutely hypocritical. When you come to somewhere like Libya, you expect lies and deceit from a dictatorship here…you don’t expect it from the other journalists.”
Robertson went on to say that he and fellow reporters agree to go on government invite outings, such as this one by the Ministry of Information, simply so they can report what they see and give firsthand accounts, rather than allow the “…government officials to film it themselves, edit it themselves and hand it off to us.”
In an apparent attempted to counter Robertson’s claims Fox News did put an editor’s note at the end of Harrigan’s news report after word came out that stated:
“Fox News’ Steve Harrigan did not join the group touring the damaged site, but a security guard hired by Fox News did go see the compound.”
I can only wonder when there will be a report questioning why Fox News felt it was better to send a security guard and not a reporter, rather than just not send anyone at all?