On Saturday, The Transatlantic Leadership Network held an awards ceremony for its 2022 Freedom of the Media awards at the National Press Club in DC—and the newly-named chief security correspondent Jennifer Griffin won a Freedom of the Media gold medal.
White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, was slated to introduce her and give the award—but had to go to London for the Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. He wrote a letter and senior State Department fellow Debra Cagan read it.
“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. 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 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 bin Laden, and the courage and scourge of women who have been victims of sexual assault in the military. 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. Her 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. 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. “I don’t give up,” as she said again when she got the most dreadful of diagnoses. 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. But Ben is alive and doing well today in no small measure to Jen’s determination. 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. Jen, knowing you the way I do, you will be loathed to take credit for this award. You will thank everyone who has supported you, in the booth, in the field and in the home. And you will be right, of course. No one succeeds alone. But I hope you take a moment to reflect on the millions of people you have informed, the policies and decisions your reporting has shaped, and the powerful example of grace and courage you have set for all of us. Audiences trust you. Aspiring reporters want to be you. Your colleagues respect you. And your competitors want you to take a vacation. Frankly, so do us government people. Please. Dear God, take one. I’m begging you. I’m also begging you not to 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. So, until the next time we face off, congratulations and go get them. John Kirby.Advertisement
The award caps off a nice week for the Fox correspondent. Griffin recently signed a new, multi-year deal with Fox News, making her the network’s chief national security correspondent. Griffin has been the network’s national security correspondent since 2007, at the start of the Iraq War troop surge. Since then, she’s covered numerous stories about national security, the pentagon and the military.
She provided in-depth reporting on Afghanistan’s year under Taliban rule last month. She previously led FNC’s coverage of the withdrawal in 2021 and the terror attack at Abbey Gate.
In March, Griffin played an integral role in getting her colleague Benjamin Hall out of Ukraine, after he was wounded in an attack that killed Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and local freelance producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova.
Additionally, Griffin spoke at the annual Prevent Cancer gala in DC last week, which raised more than two million dollars for cancer research. Griffin is a Prevent Cancer board member—and she was joined at the event by Fox News colleagues Lucas Tomlinson, Liz Friden, NuNu Japaridze, Walter Whitley, Jodie Curtis and Christina Wurm.