War of Words Breaks Out in Libya Between CNN, Fox News

by | March 23, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Cable News, TV News

CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson (Photo: CNN)

CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson (Photo: CNN)

UPDATED: Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan fired back at CNN’s Nic Robertson after Robertson accused FNC of inaccurate reporting from Libya and singled out Harrigan, implying the FNC newsman isn’t working hard enough. “I see him more times at breakfast than I see him out on trips with government officials here,” Robertson said. “…We very rarely see the Fox News team.” Harrigan blasted Robertson in an interview with The Huffington Post. “This guy has a screw loose!” Harrigan told HuffPo. “I think he’s dull. I fall asleep when he gives a report. . . . He puts on his blue blazer and gets on the government bus, and then pats himself on the back and calls that news? Bull[bleep].”

PREVIOUSLY: Tempers are getting short and competing TV reporters are getting testy under the pressure brought on by covering the war in Libya.

That could be why CNN correspondent Nic Robertson -– who’s been doing live reports on CNN at all hours of the day from Tripoli, where the sounds of explosions and gunshots have been omnipresent -– lashed out at Fox News Channel Monday night on CNN’s “Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer.

Specifically, Robertson criticized FNC for reporting that officials loyal to beleaguered Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi have been convening press briefings with western reporters mainly for the purpose of preventing missile attacks targeting the officials and their offices. Such a strategy would be tantamount to using the western media reps as “human shields” in the belief that U.S. and allied attacks from the air would not be conducted if the western newsies were assembled right where the missiles and bombs were headed.

Robertson, who was likely indignant over the story because he would be one of those human shields if the story is, in fact, true, called the FNC report “outrageous” and “absolutely hypocritical” because, Robertson said, FNC has had reporters and camera crews at the same news briefings. “You know, when you come to somewhere like Libya, you expect lies and deceit from the dictatorship here,” Robertson told Blitzer, according to this story. “You don’t expect it from the other journalists!”

The reporter who reported the “human shields” story, Jennifer Griffin, defended the story on FNC, speaking with Greta Van Susteren on FNC’s “On the Record” Monday night. She said she obtained the story from “British sources” who “felt that the civilians and journalists had effectively been used as human shields…. In fact, one official told me that there was a Reuters crew literally on a spot where they were going to drop a missile.”

Who’s right? In the “fog” of war, who knows? As FNC might say, we’ll report –- you decide!


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