CNN Denies Being Used as ‘Human Shield’ in Libya, Takes a Swipe at Fox News

Nic Robertson denounces report that coalition forces aborted air strike on Gaddafi compound because news crews were there

Last Updated: March 21, 2011 @ 4:53 PM

CNN scoffed at a Fox News report that its news crew and several others were used as "human shields" by the Libyan government during a visit to a Gaddafi-controlled compound in Tripoli.

On Sunday, CNN and journalists from Reuters, AP, CBS, Los Angeles Times, NPR and the Times of London were given a 30-minute tour of the compound.

On Monday, Fox Pentagon correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported that British air forces called off a planned attack on the site because the journalists were there.

"The curtailment of the mission led to a great deal of consternation by coalition commanders," Fox Pentagon correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported, "but they called it off to avoid civilian casualties."

CNN's Nic Robertson, who was one the journalistics reporting from the compound, told Wolf Blitzer on Monday afternoon that he doubted anyone who was part of the tour would conclude they were being used as "shields."

"This allegation is outrageous and it's absolutely hypocritical," 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."

Robertson then took a swipe at Fox for asserting they were not present on the tour:

Fox News has said that they didn't send somebody on this trip last night because they said it was a quote, unquote, "propaganda trip." They sent a member of their team.  He was non-editorial.  He was non-technical, not normally a cameraman.  He was given a camera by the team and told to come out and come on the bus with the 40 other journalists who were there. … This member of this Fox team [said that he] was surprised that their correspondent and the normal cameraman weren't coming out, that he was being sent [and that] this isn't his normal job.

It's worth noting that the Times of London, like Fox, is owned by News Corporation.

Here's video of Robertson's original report, followed by Griffin's on Fox: