'Good Video,' Etc.

July 21, 2004 
New York

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• Harrigan video archive

Just back from a U.N. briefing. The Secretary General had a crisp, blue, pinstriped, french-collared shirt on under a blue blazer, and some kind of pin on his left breast, which I could not identify from a distance despite my new lasik-enhanced 20/10 vision. He had two press flacks off to his left, one of whom poured him a glass of water, (whereupon I turned to my producer and suggested that sometime she do the same for me) and the other, whom took down the names of people who were to ask questions and made a list.

Evidently, the raising of hands and calling on people is considered too chaotic at the U.N. They also made the point several times to ask just one question and to turn off our cell phones, not just to put them on "silent." They wanted everything smooth.

I had never seen the Secretary General in person before, and was not sure how to address him. I was going to go with "Sir," but then heard Richard Roth, the U.N. expert, go with "Mr. Secretary." Others went with a direct "Secretary General." I wasn't sure how I would go until the last minute, and then I went with "Mr. Secretary." When I started out I remember how nervous I would get asking a question at press conferences. My voice would crack. In such cases, if you just go slow, you're ok. I asked a question about the oil for food scandal and the Secretary met my eyes with what seemed to me to be a challenging look, perhaps even a glare. His eyes were slightly bloodshot. Later a question was asked in French and the Secretary made a smooth transition while reporters scrambled to put headphones to their ears to hear the translation. He could probably do three or four more languages as well. [U.N. video]

I still have a slight headache, which I suspect may be related to getting voluntarily tasered by Miami police last week. It was 50,000 volts, which knocked me right down. After I read the articles about the risks of getting tasered I decided not to do it, but after spending a few hours with the policemen during their training, I changed my mind. You could tell they were excited about tasering me. My advice to anyone going up against a taser is to surrender immediately. This is also the street wisdom in Miami. Police there have not fired a single shot in 19 months since the introduction of the taser. Despite this record, a lot of anti-taser articles have come out in the media. It seems hard to argue with the record in Miami, where they used to shoot 10 to 20 people a year and kill two or three.

I also saw myself referred to on a media website as a "bonehead" for getting tasered. In the distant past I recall being referred to as "watermelon head," but bonehead, especially on the internet, was new.  I asked Slim Fagen what he thought about the decision.

"You've got to do it," he said, "It's good video."  [Taser video]

I expect to be in New York for two weeks, then back overseas. Thanks for your notes complaining about the failure to update the blog. I give you my word I'll be at it five days a week, with a likely mix of old war stories and observations from the first world. Thanks for your patience.

E-mails to Steve

Dear Steve:

My husband (Steve) and I love when you come on the news to report.  We both shout out, "Shteve" as an endearment.*  (There are 3 friends all named Steve here that have adopted that pronunciation for each other.)  Anyway, we love your reports and absolutely delight in seeing you.  But we missed last Saturday night's special.  Is there going to be a re-airing?
*Next time you start rolling tape, remember there are two 50 year olds in Charlotte, NC calling out to the TV, "SHTEVE, Shteve's on."

Dear Mr. Harrigan,

Your article "Sounds of Baghdad" was the first article to make me realize that reporters such as yourself are giving up a great deal in order to inform the American people. I am what people call a military brat; born and raised in army tradition.  I have many friends stationed in Iraq as well as my two oldest brothers who have been there since January.  In a way, you are just like a soldier; your life and the lives of your crew are in constant danger, yet you are doing your duty for your country.  Thank you so much for doing your part and God bless.


Jessica [Germany]

Just wanted to drop a note note to say I truly respect your courage and ability to get at the truth with bullets and bombs flying around you. Look forward to seeing more of your reports. Glad you're home and safe for now.
— Alan

Hey there,

Just have been wondering why there's no new blog lately. We miss you, and hope that you are resting and recuperating and rejuvenating.

— Alison [North Carolina]

Mr. Harrigan,

I really enjoy and appreciate your reporting. You are a brave reporter who is doing a great service to all of us who are worried about conditions in the Middle East. Your blog is now required reading. Keep up the good work and stay safe, we look forward to hearing from you soon.

— George [Evanston, IL]

Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.