The Translator Threw Up

E-mail Steve

Sept. 21,  2004 10:30 a.m.
New York

A friend of mine in Baghdad writes for a New York newspaper. Like many print guys he is sometimes both condescending and envious towards TV news. He thinks we are dumb but that we have power. I read his articles closely for any stock phrases. When he was covering Najaf he kept using the term "gold-domed shrine of Ali."  Now the slum of Sadr City is "an impoverished
Shiite district in Northern Baghdad."

I read his reports every day because I've seen him work and I admire what he does. But what interests me most is what does not go in to the reports, or what comes at the very end. The most powerful detail sneaks in through the proper descriptions, background, quotes and analysis. It's almost like a Freudian slip, easy to miss if you are not paying attention.

At the end of a long report of a car bombing in Baghdad there was this detail: young boys were picking up chunks of the bodies on pieces of cardboard and chasing each other around the burning cars.

In today's article about the beheading of an American hostage one key detail does not even make it into the story: the reporter and his translator watched the murder together on an internet website. While watching it, the translator threw up.

In television you usually lead with the most dramatic, most powerful picture you have. You want to get people's attention, to make them watch. Maybe the strategy is different in print, but it seems to me if you have the hellish image of children playing with body parts amid the carnage, you can't hide it. You need to stick it in people's faces. That's why you are in Iraq, to see things like this and say it. And the effect of the behavior of the kidnappers on ordinary Iraqis like the translator also seems important to me. Things like blogs and documentaries are pushing the boundaries of what should or should not be in a news piece. I hope they keep on getting pushed,
because to me the most important things often get left out.

[Ed. note: Click on the video tab in the upper right to watch Steve's reports.]

Hi Steve,

I just wanted to thank you for being the type of reporter that you are. You show us glimpses of life in the world's most dangerous places that few Americans can even imagine. I look foreword to each of your updates from wherever in the world you happen to be. Your reports strip away the
embellishment and drama that other reporters dish out to make their stories more readable. Your stories need none of that because they stand on their own as the most interesting reading on FOX News. You stick your neck out and experience horrors few of us will ever know to get your stories and I for one am proud that you are a fellow American. Please keep your head down,
watch your back and keep up the super reporting!

— Michael (Rockhill, SC)

Steve -
Push on, we need the facts, being graphic sometimes is the only way to reach the minds and hearts of the world.  
Keep the wires open, and thanks,

Hi Steve,

I have been in awe of your courage and talent since before the Afghanistan war on terror.  You have the guts of a special forces soldier and incredible intellect.  I have learned more from you than I have all of the so-called pundits combined.  Have you ever thought about teaching a journalism class or writing a book?  Your reporting from Russia has been understandably understated.  Please watch yourself.  I don't think Putin appreciates the candor of FOX News.

Your fan,
Karen, Dayton OH

Greetings From Sunny California Steve,

Just a short note to let you know that we Californians are very proud of you for the job you're doing over there!! We watch you as often as FOX shows you on the screen, and have grown to love your blogs! Keep up the fantastic work young man!!

I have enjoyed your reporting for clarity and accuracy.  I respect you for your bravery. You're doing a fine job for FOX but more importantly for the American people.

I'm pleased to discover your blog and look forward to your continued reports from Moscow.

- Dean

Hi Steve,
Thank you for your intelligent reporting. I'm appalled that Putin is making moves toward another police state and that everyone seems complacent about it. I think that if you and Fox News would really publicize what's going on there, it could help the cause of "democracy," which we're spilling blood for in Iraq. After all, Putin was the former KGB head, wasn't he? I've never trusted him. Thank you for not letting what he is doing slip by unnoticed. Take care and stay safe.
Your fan,
Genevieve (Chicago)


One of my first daily routines is to sit at my computer and read local and then national news sites.  I have been doing this for well over a year.  About a month and a half ago, I started reading your blogs. This has become a daily thing for me, I am drawn to your writing style and most importantly, what you are saying.  I wish you the best of luck and the safest of journeys.

May the road rise up to meet your feet.

Allen (Colorado)

Mr. Harrigan,

In one of your recent blogs you mentioned Sept. 10th is your birthdate. My husband and I would like to wish you a very "Happy Birthday." We always look forward to your reports because we know we will get the TRUTH.  Thanks for telling it like it is.

Wayland and Pat (Eagle Rock, VA)

Hi Steve,
I have been watching you as you broadcast from all over the world, and have admired your courage under fire, your no-nonsense style of reporting.  It so reminds me of the fine reporters we enjoyed listening to during WWII.  You have made a name for yourself in war reporting.  Keep it up!
— Judith (Kiln, MS)

Dear Steve & All:

Thank you for being there to allow us to see what horrible things are being done.  I don't think I could do your job.

— Andrea


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.