Reporter's Notebook: Fox News' 25 years covering the world

Greg Palkot reflects on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

Senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot reflects on Afghanistan nearly 20 years after the 9/11 attacks on ‘Special Report’

What does 25 years of Fox News mean to me? A few decades of being at a ringside seat on history… and sharing it all with our viewers. 
My first story for Fox News was the death of Princess Diana, not too long after the network started.  

It wasn’t much of a geographical reach for me. The deadly crash unfolded in a highway tunnel five minutes from where I lived in Paris. 

Greg Palkot reporting from Paris in 2015.
(Fox News)

The months of scrutiny following the event – underscoring the impact of the woman. I was already living abroad when Fox News signed me up. That meant the whole world was our turf. It never failed to surprise, shock, fascinate and engage. 


Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot reporting live in Fallujah in 2004.
(Fox News)

Being a new network allowed us to score a few first’s for Fox News. Our team was the first to get into Iraq in 1998, a place we would spend so many harrowing years. We were lean in those days. 

I remember crossing the desert in the dark from Jordan to Baghdad, just my cab driver and myself, with U.S. planes doing bombing runs overhead. 

Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot in Pyongyang in 2015.
(Fox News)

We were booted out of the country by Saddam Hussein, and then kicked out again. At the end of the day, we had the last laugh. 

I was the first civilian to try out the “fit” of the “Spider Hole” after a “Saddam-in-hiding” was yanked out by U.S. military. 

Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot at Saddam Hussein’s "Spider Hole" in 2003.
(Fox News)

We also were first into Iran in 1999. It was 20 years after the taking of the American hostages at the U.S. embassy. The anti-U.S. graffiti on the wall outside the then-vacant building still seemed fresh. 

Of course, being stationed abroad, the events of 9/11 and everything that flowed from them would dominate so much of our time. Flying into Pakistan the day after the tragic event and taking tea with the Taliban stands out. As does crawling around the caves of Tora Bora in Afghanistan from where Usama Bin Laden has just fled. Firefights with Taliban and al Qaeda remnants, and embedding with patrols during which service members would ask villagers if they’d seen a tall guy with a beard. 
Again, what comes around…

In May 2011, we were there outside the villa in Pakistan the day after U.S. Navy SEALs announced they’d snatched and killed the al Qaeda chief.
The Arab Spring kept us busy for many months. Our team got up close and personal with the ferocity of feelings on both sides when a mob pummeled us nearly to death in Tahrir Square, Cairo. 

Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot on a helicopter ride.
(Fox News)

Some young and kind emergency room doctors and nurses brought us back from the brink. We came to face to face, literally. with how the first wave of violence 
in Libya ended.   

Crawling into the drainage pipe where one-time leader Muammar Qaddafi hid during his last moments of life, and then seeing his body laid out in a refrigerator morgue nearby. 

We witnessed more horror in Libya a bit later, walking through the burned remains of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi where Ambassador Chris Stevens and others lost their lives to a mad rebel rampage. 

Greg Palkot in Pyongyang in 2015.
(Fox News)

We went up against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In a lengthy interview, he admitted for the first time he had dangerous chemical weapons in his arsenal. He wouldn’t admit he was helping to kill his own people, even as we heard the rumble of mortar just outside his massive palace. 
Terror sadly kept us busy for years… especially poignant for us in Europe. Sidewalk café tables overturned and bloodied after marauding sprees through Paris.    

A Christmas market in Berlin turned into a horror show. The resort city of Nice – marked by the outlines of those fallen near the beach.  

Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot with refugee kids in Irbil, Iraq, in 2014.
(Fox News)

Several strikes in London just a mile or two from our home. And a heartless blast ripping through a concert of young people in Manchester. 
Non-man-made disasters also kept us going. Earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia. Probably the scene most indelibly etched in my mind was seeing hundreds of bodies floating down a river… like logs heading to a sawmill… after the 2004 tsunami hit in Banda Aceh. And thousands of people in cars fleeing from possible nuclear holocaust after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and a power station there in 2011.

There were multiple trips to the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea to get rare, first-hand views of how the leadership there played dangerously with its own nuclear threat. 

And, even more trips to watch up-close the young democracy fighters on the streets of Hong Kong have their dreams crushed one-by-one by Beijing. 
It’s not been all horrible news in the last 25 years. Time and again, what resonates is the human touch that makes our planet different than any other.  

Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot with kids in Kabul, in 2002.
(Fox News)

An aid worker helping desperate refugee families fleeing hardship. The smiling face of some immigrant kids blissfully unaware of what their dire situation was all about.     

People willing to laugh and find a good joke in the face of adversity. And just normal people showing they could achieve abnormal acts of humanity when called upon.    

Including, of course, during the long, horrible months of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. 

Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in 2001.
(Fox News)

That’s what 25 years of Fox News means to me.  Not to mention, last but certainly not least, the incredible journalists I’ve worked with at this network: Brave and brilliant cameramen, resourceful and energetic producers, tenacious and generous correspondents, as well as some patient and caring folks back at HQ. 

Hopefully, in the end, all of us, helping to give a bit more understanding of this often crazy world to the viewers tuning in. 

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