Biden spox John Kirby offers fawning tribute after Fox New’s Jennifer Griffin wins prestigious award

Former Pentagon press secretary John Kirby wrote a tribute to Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin, extolling her virtues as a reporter and declaring his undying admiration for the national security correspondent.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

Jennifer Griffin was awarded the Freedom of the Media gold medal on Sunday from the Transatlantic Leadership Network, which is a nonprofit that is “dedicated to strengthening and reorienting transatlantic relations to the rapidly changing dynamics of a globalizing world,” according to its website. The award follows Griffin’s re-upping with Fox News.

Kirby was slated to introduce Griffin during the ceremony but reportedly had to travel to London for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. Standing in for him, senior State Department fellow Debra Cagan read a note from Kirby, who asserted that Griffin’s receipt of the award “for public service certainly seems an appropriate way to recognize her talents and contributions.”

He went on to slather on the praise for the Fox News journalist.

“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. 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,” Kirby reportedly wrote.

“She tells stories, the kind of stories you know, when you’re finished, when you’re finished watching that you needed to know. The kinds of stories that make you think a little bit differently and perhaps a little bit more deeply. And she is relentless in the pursuit of those stories. She once said, ‘I don’t give up’ when covering the trials and tribulations of Afghan refugees. It’s the same thing she told me years ago when covering the surge in Iraq, airstrikes in Libya, the attack in Benghazi, the mission to take down [Osama] bin Laden, and the courage and scourge of women who have been victims of sexual assault in the military,” he continued.

Despite having “been on opposite sides of the notebook for many historic events,” Kirby contended that Griffin’s “questions would be fair, and they would be tough for sure. But they were also exactly the right questions to be asking in the moment.”

He praised her for her persistence, which includes surviving cancer. Kirby also addressed her steadfast determination to rescue her colleague Benjamin Hall by getting him out of Ukraine after being grievously wounded in an attack that killed Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and local freelance producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova while covering the war with Russia.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

“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,” Kirby commented. “But the same doggedness also makes her a good person. ‘I don’t give up,’ as she said again when she got the most dreadful of diagnosis.”

“’Like a Pitbull and a Poodle’ was the way one person described how fearlessly she fought for Ben’s evacuation,” he added.

He’s obviously a big fan and says there is no one like Griffin.

“Is there another body of reporting out there that better demonstrates the public good that journalism can do?” Kirby remarked. “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.”

“Your colleagues respect you. And your competitors want you to take a vacation,” he noted. “Frankly, so do us government people. Please. Dear God, take one. I’m begging you.”

Kirby advised the correspondent that she should not “squander the opportunity tonight to be proud of yourself. I know I speak for a lot of other people in and out of government when I say that I certainly am.”

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