The Freelancer 'Fein'

April 1, 2005

A big scrum at a government presser. I heard a female producer say that in the crowd she was groped. She said it matter-of-factly, like it happened all the time. She was talking to another woman, also a Westerner, who talked about getting groped in a market in Cairo. She said the first time it happened it was upsetting, but then you get used to it.

I don't know how you get used to it.

Due to other world events we are knocked off the air for a while, which has afforded me time to plan a trip to the cultural capital of the Ozarks, the third largest city in Missouri, for a cousin's wedding. The bird-hunting season is over, but there is skeet shooting.

I was out on a corner with Fein and Omar when four Iraqis came by pushing a taxi that had broken down. Omar asked Fein if they should help push.

"No," Fein said, and continued what he was doing. It looked like he was working the Sunday crossword. He had nothing to lean on, so he was pressing the xerox of the puzzle against his hand, filling in letter after letter, not looking up at what was going by. Omar asked again, and again Fein said, "no."

"I don't care," Fein said, "if a mortar hits that car and it goes up in flames."

We just looked at Fein after he said that. No one said anything. Fein is a freelancer who has been in one war after another. I saw him the other day in the hallway of a government building near the restrooms. The men's restroom has no attendant, but the women's room has an attendant, an older woman with Asian features who sits outside the door. She gives out tissues that dissolve in the women's hands in exchange for no tips. She does get greetings though, and has the habit of repeating whatever anyone says to her in a singsong voice: how are you, howareyoooo. She stands alone in the dark hallway a good part of the day.

I saw Fein standing a few feet away from her. Here was their conversation:

Fein: Ob ob bibidy bob
Attendant: Ob ob bibidy bob bob
Fein: Bibidy bibidy bob bob
Attendant: Ob bob bibidity bob

They were both laughing.

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Noticed that you were heading to our great state of Missouri for a wedding.

I also noticed that you said the bird season is over, but turkey season opens on April 18th and runs until the 8th of May, so depending on when the wedding is, you can always shoot a "yard bird" as we call them here.

Keep up the good work, I enjoy your columns and reports.


Steve -

Wanted you to know that I look forward to your blogs every day when I log on to FNC. It's great to read your dispatches from a war that has its tragedies and suffering, but also has its humor — the things that people do under the stress of war, and life-threatening situations. And that goes not only for the Iraqi civilians, but also for the embedded correspondants (you in particular), and our troops.

Keep doin' what yer doin', we love it.

— Bill (Dallas, TX)


I just have to give you credit for the funniest and most timely moment of coverage in this war. Shortly after Baghdad fell you did a report about looters. The camera was showing a closeup of your face as you talked. Then as it panned back, you were in the back of a pickup truck filled with looted goods. The truck had been driving the whole time and you were sitting in an office chair in the back of that truck. I laughed so hard that I couldn't stand it. I have been a huge fan ever since!!! God Bless America! [ed. note: this Harrigan video is now available. Just click the video tab within the blog.]

— Bryan (Atlanta, GA)


You are quietly becoming the best voice at FOX News. I look forward to your reports. You are very confident, yet truthful and possess just enough fear to stay alive.

— Jeff (Dearborn, MI)

Your self-sacrifice and commitment to truth in reporting are second-to-none. You are equal in the effort in Iraq to our troops. Thank You.

— Ken (Orlando, FL)

We all think you are great and hope that you will be safe this Easter. Hopefully somebody sent you a chocolate egg.

Your fan -Tessa.


From Knoxville, Tennessee, you are looking pretty worn out. I believe in what the troops and you are doing there, but hope to see you all home soon. There should be a parade. You are always in my prayers and always have my gratitude and highest respect.

— Doug

Dear Steve,

Sounds like you had a normal childhood, what with the dog and the Easter eggs. What happened? Love your cynical humor even though it's real. Stay safe and keep giving us those little stories that are indeed quite amusing.

— Barb (Fort Worth, TX)

Dear Harrigan,

I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful blogs. My boss makes me read them everyday at lunch time, but I have to admit, I enjoy them. Don't tell her though or she will come up with some other form of torture for me. Keep blogging!!!!

— Neatie (Rockbridge Baths, VA)

Dear Harrigan,

Always enjoy your food blogs. We think you are a food critic disguised as a war correspondent. The ultimate cover.

We are missing the daily reporting from Baghdad. The news originated here in the States just isn't the same as the news "live" from Iraq. Reporting by a field correspondent has a different feel, appeal and impact. Perhaps we are just impatient and will hear more from you soon. Take good care of yourself.

— Your fans in Virginia

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.