WASHINGTON—As the standoff between Ivory Coast's defiant incumbent president and its president-elect continued into its seventh week, American media experts warned Tuesday that the tense political showdown could escalate into a full-scale news blurb. "We're looking at an extremely volatile situation that, if it isn't defused quickly and carefully, has the potential to explode into 100 to 150 words of news copy," said Joseph Durand of the Center for Media and Public Affairs, who noted that the BBC was already reporting sporadic sound bites being fired off by both sides. "In a worst-case scenario, we could see cross-border destabilization that spills over into a fifth or possibly even sixth sentence." In spite of the threat of a massive international armed conflict, U.S. media leaders vowed not to deploy American journalists to the unstable region unless a full-blown article broke out in nearby oil-rich Nigeria.