Fox News chief national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin won a Freedom of the Media gold medal on Saturday from the Transatlantic Leadership Network.
“We will keep telling the truth and, it’s a very, very dangerous time, not only in this world but also in Washington, D.C., and we will hold people to account,” Griffin said after accepting the award at the TLN’s 2022 Freedom of the Media awards at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “The best way to fight disinformation is with facts. Facts and truth… that is why the media is so very important.”
White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby was scheduled to present Griffin’s award, but he missed the gala to travel with President Biden to London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Kirby, a former Pentagon spokesperson, instead penned a letter and senior State Department fellow Debra Cagan read the remarks.
“I deeply regret that I cannot be here in person to congratulate Jen for winning this prestigious award. A gold medal for public service certainly seems an appropriate way to recognize her talents and contributions. For more than 30 years, Jen has brought home to the American people and to people around the world, quite frankly, the conflicts, the controversies and the struggles that have defined the modern age,” Kirby’s note said.
“From her gritty reporting out of Gaza and the West Bank to downtown Baghdad and from Kabul to Kandahar and a thousand other places in between, Jen makes real that, which is hard to imagine; that makes accessible, which is hard to understand; and she makes human, which is hard to personalize. She tells stories, the kind of stories you know, when you’re finished, when you’re finished watching that you needed to know,” the note continued.
Kirby added Griffin has said she doesn’t give up when pursuing a story.
“Yes, Jen and I go back quite a way. We’ve been on opposite sides of the notebook for many historic events. And believe you me, when I looked out upon the briefing room and saw Jen sitting there right up front, that same notebook in hand, I knew I needed to be ready… Jen has this admirable but rather annoying way of getting people like me to say things we don’t want to say. That’s what it means to be a good reporter. But the same doggedness also makes her a good person,” Kirby wrote, noting that she uses the same mantra in other aspects of life.
Kirby alluded to Griffin’s past fight with breast cancer as well.
“I don’t give up, as she said again when she got the most dreadful of diagnosis. It’s what she says when the trolls and the armchair analysts try to pick apart her work or her words. And it’s what she said to me when she called to ask for help getting a wounded colleague, Ben Hall, safely out of Ukraine. And she did get him out. It was a team effort to be sure,” Kirby write. “But Ben is alive and doing well today in no small measure to Jen’s determination.”
Hall was wounded earlier this year when a vehicle he was traveling in was struck by incoming fire in Horenka, outside Kyiv, while they were covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fox News photojournalist Pierre Zakrzewski and Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova were killed in the attack.
“Like a Pitbull and a Poodle was the way one person described how fearlessly she fought for Ben’s evacuation. Jennifer Griffin can be a Pitbull all right. But she is the most rare of professionals today from any walk of life. Incredibly good at what she does and incredibly humble about how she does it. Is there another body of reporting out there that better demonstrates the public good that journalism can do? I don’t know of it. And if there is another reporter who better typifies honesty, integrity, compassion and skill, I don’t know of her or him,” Kirby wrote.
Last week, FOX News media announced that it signed Griffin to a new multi-year deal to remain at the network.
“Jennifer is one of the industry’s premier journalists and has proven to be an indispensable asset on a consequential beat with unrivaled experience spanning more than three decades in multiple war zones. We are extremely proud that she will continue her incredible career at FOX News Media,” CEO Suzanne Scott said.