Fox News’ reporter Steve Harrigan got caught in a brief verbal spar very early Tuesday morning with an irate protestor, who accosted Harrigan on live feed over his choice of words in describing the shambolic scene on the streets of Ferguson, where peaceful daytime marches and protests continue to give way to nightly commotion and chaos.
Harrigan, a veteran news correspondent who has worked Hurricane Katrina and in Iraq, got into it with a man who took umbrage with Harrigan’s description that “dignified” protesters went home, leaving the rest to “child’s play.”
“This is right now a media event, pure and simple,” Harrigan told in-house broadcaster Shepard Smith just after midnight Tuesday morning. “This is people running towards tear gas, running away from it. The dignified protesters went home at dusk, this is just child’s play right now.”
Harrigan had been commenting on the ratio of protestors to media and police officers. In his estimation, Harrigan said there were 200 cameras and 100 protestors, but at least 500 police officers patrolling the streets. “Police, media, protestors in that order, here in a cloud of teargas in downtown Ferguson,” Harrigan comments.
Smith asks Harrigan if he has a sense as to how things are being handled when the fuming protestor rounds on Harrigan and begins shouting at him.
“Uh oh,” comes Smith’s response from the broadcast station.
“Say that s**t!” the man yells, trying to get Harrigan to repeat himself. “No, say that s**t!”
“I’m on TV right now,” Harrigan replied to the man yelling in his face.
“I don’t give a damn if y’all on TV,” the protester retorted. “I don’t care about that s**t!”
A time delay removed some of the audio, but the conversation cuts back in with the protestor yelling: “…them shooting at us!”
“We’re out here,” Harrigan said.
“It don’t matter! We out here!” the protester pushed back.
“We’re out here with tear gas, trying to show what’s going on,” Harrigan offered. “I’m not trying to argue with you.”
“OK, we go through this s**t every day, though!” he replied. “You talk about this s**t is just child’s play, who’s the child playing with toys? Us or them?”
In the studio, Smith cuts away, saying that viewers “mercifully did not hear” the entire conversation. While Harrigan and the cameraman settle the situation, Smith comments:
This is what happens when our bright lights shine sometimes. You’re there because a young man has been shot and killed and there are differences about how that happened. Whether a police officer should be held accountable for his actions on that given night.
An investigation is under way. The President of the Unites States has spoken, the Attorney General is headed there, not one but three autopsies are being performed… And our Steve Harrigan is trying to explain the reality of what’s happening now – that in the middle of the night a bunch of people are out for a show, and it feels like in many instances it’s kind of our fault, because those who have a vested interest in what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri are home in bed, and there we are, with the tear gas and what at times seem to be Keystone Cops.
Harrigan later walks with another man, who had witnessed the prior altercation, and who is also more than eager to get on camera, though what he has to say is largely unintelligible.
“What are you prepared to do?” Smith asked him. “How can you fix this? What are you going to do?”
“What I’m going to do is stand here with my people, all night, every night,” he declared. “No pillow, no covers, with my twin and my brothers.”
Comments posted to TheDailyCaller, who first reported on the story, were none too kind, as one might imagine.
What an articulate young man. Undoubtedly a product of the government school system.
Maybe he needs to go loot a book store.
Harrigan did speak later to the Business Insider about what he says is new ground for him.
“It's absolutely fascinating to me, having done this in different places and now getting a taste of the potential gap in my own country, and to see the division in my own country. It's something I haven't done before,” Harrigan said.
“I'm used to talking to a furious Chechen. I'm used to talking to a furious Afghan. Now I'm talking to an American on the street who's absolutely furious. I haven't done that before, in my own country. It's new territory.”
For more coverage on the Michael Brown shooting, see: