FOX AND CNN BATTLE IT OUT OVER LIBYA
A secondary war has broken out in Libya — this one between CNN and Fox News. It began when Fox’s Pentagon correspondent Jennifer Griffin claimed on Monday that British fighter jets armed with seven missiles had to abort an attack on Muammar Gadhafi’s compound because of the presence of CNN and Reuters crews at the compound. They had “been taken to the site by the Libyan Ministry of Information” for a “propaganda trip” and to be used as “human shields,” Griffin reported. Her allegation was later denounced as “outrageous” and “absolutely hypocritical” by CNN’s senior international correspondent Nic Robertson. Appearing on The Situation Room, Robertson said, “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.” In fact, he asserted, there were some 40 journalists who made the trip — and they remained at the compound for less than an hour. “If somebody wanted to use us as a human shield, I believe they would have kept us there for a lot longer.” Later on Monday Griffin updated her report: “Earlier today I reported that Fox News had not gone to Gadhafi’s compound while journalists from other news outlets such as CNN and Reuters had in fact gone. I’ve since learned that FOX did indeed go.” However, she stuck by her report that the Libyan government is using reporters as human shields. Nevertheless, her allegations have disturbed even some Fox News supporters — including Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, who wrote today (Tuesday) that Griffin had “crossed the line” with her charges. “This is not some little intramural rivalry. These are serious allegations Fox made. … Suggesting that another journalist let himself or herself be used for propaganda is a very serious claim,” Zurawik wrote.