This afternoon, Fox News reported that the Qaddafi regime used foreign journalists, including teams from CNN and Reuters, as a “human shield” to thwart an attack on Qaddafi’s compound last night. The compound had already been hit by allied missiles, but in its exclusive report — which is FoxNews.com’s most read and commented story — Fox alleges that “British sources” told them that allied forces were planning a second attack, which was called off due to the journalists’ presence.
But on the Situation Room tonight, a visibly frustrated CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson, who was on the CNN team that visited the compound, called the report untruthful and “outrageous.” Moreover, Robertson acccused Fox of “lies and deceit” for claiming none of their staffers went on the same trip when one in fact did:
WOLF BLITZER: I want you to explain what you know about this suggestion Fox news reporting that you, a Reuters crew, some other journalists were effectively used by Qaddafi as a human shield to prevent allied fighter planes from coming in and attacking a certain position. Explain what you know about this.
ROBERTSON: Wolf, 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. [...]
They sent a member of their team. He was not editorial. He was nontechnical, not normally a cameraman. [...]
I see [Fox's corespondent] more times at breakfast than out on trips with government officials here. So for them to say and call this — to say they didn’t go and for them to call this and say this was government propaganda to hold us there as human shields when they didn’t even leave the hotel, it’s ridiculous.
Robertson also essentially called Fox’s team in Libya lazy and uninformed, saying they rarely leave the hotel to do reporting. He said his colleagues from other networks have the same regard for Fox.