Former CNN correspondent Charles Jaco mocked a Fox News reporter who was injured in Ukraine on Monday, using the opportunity to score political points and push the liberal narrative that Fox News is a mouthpiece for the Kremlin.
What is the background?
Fox News announced Monday that correspondent Benjamin Hall was hospitalized after being injured "outside of Kyiv in Ukraine."
News of Hall's injury came one day after American journalist Brent Renaud — who formally worked for the New York Times, HBO, and NBC, among other outlets — was killed when Russian forces reportedly opened fire on a car he was traveling in with another journalist.
What did Jaco say?
Jaco — who served as a war correspondent for CNN during the Gulf War — bizarrely used news of Hall's hospitalization to mock his employer.
"A Fox News reporter has been injured in Kyiv. If he was shot by the Russians, is that a case of friendly fire?" Jaco said. On the other hand, Jaco reacted to Renaud's tragic death by saying, "RIP, brother."
After generating outrage, Jaco deleted his tweet and apologized for being an "asshole" — but still peddled his theory about Fox News.
"My tweet about a Fox News journo was idiotic & stupid. I apologize. I wrote 'A Fox News journo was injured near Kyiv. If it was the Russians, was it friendly fire?' While Fox is neo-fascist propaganda, that's the hosts, not reporters. I was an asshole," Jaco said.
Critics of Fox News have repeatedly accused the network of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, but have provided little to no evidence to substantiate their claims. While it is true that Russian state media is using Fox News host Tucker Carlson in its propaganda, the substance of Carlson's rhetoric is not pro-Russia, but anti-American interventionism.
Iryna Venediktova, prosecutor general of Ukraine, said Monday that Hall being injured demonstrates yet again how Russian military forces are targeting civilians, CNN reported.
Under international law, journalists are protected in war zones and retain all rights of civilians.
"Journalists are protected only as long as they do not take a direct part in the hostilities. News media, even when used for propaganda purposes, enjoy immunity from attacks, except when they are used for military purposes or to incite war crimes, genocide or acts of violence," explains the International Committee of the Red Cross.