- Nov 22, 2003
There is no bottom to the MSM. Really, none. Yes the following is Michelle Malkin, but it's echoed throughout the blogosphere, and now FOX is joining in:
Missing: Day 7
I've tried to stay away from the computer and the news as much as possible during my time off, but I couldn't help checking in every day for word of Fox News correspondent Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig since their kidnapping last Monday.
I don't know Centanni at all, but have met him in passing at the green room/makeup room of Fox's D.C. bureau several times. In an industry of hyperinflated egos, Centanni always struck me as quiet, hard-working, and down-to-earth. Lots of readers e-mailed last week wondering why Centanni and Wiig's kidnapping is barely on the MSM radar screen. It's a damned good question, especially at a time when journalist Jill Carroll seems to be all over the airwaves and in every major newspaper promoting her book about her kidnapping by Iraqi terrorists last year.
I honestly don't know the answer. The most common suspicion among my readers is that bias against Fox News Channel is coming into play. Another possible factor may be Fox's own internal strategy of keeping the story low-key while it negotiates for Centanni and Wiig's release. Or is it because Centanni is not a high-profile player in the Washington media scene--not a spotlight-hogging insider or industry schmoozer?
Whatever the reason, I find the apparent apathy about Centanni and Wiig's kidnapping grossly disturbing. Centanni is not just a fellow journalist. He is a fellow American. He is missing. And there should be a hell of a lot more outrage about it than I've seen so far--from the media, from our government, from our nation.
Allah has video of the Centanni family's appeal for his release and has kept tabs on the story all week. Mary Katharine Ham covered here and here, with good background on Centanni and Wiig. Ms Underestimated has video of Brit Hume discussing the kidnappings.
The Washington Times reports:
At least one of the two Fox News newsmen missing in Gaza is apparently still alive, although the whereabouts of the pair remains unknown.Keep them both in your thoughts and prayers.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly told the wife of cameraman Olaf Wiig during a personal meeting late last week that her husband is alive and well, the Dominion Post reported Sunday. Wiig's wife, New Zealand broadcaster Anita McNaught, was in the Middle East to help with the diplomatic efforts to secure the release of her husband and Fox correspondent Steve Centanni.
"She met with Abbas and was sitting on a chair right beside him when he assured her that Olaf was alive and well," Wiig's father, the Rev. Roger Wiig, told the Sunday Star-Times. "I think he had assurances from some groups who say they know that." It remains unclear exactly who grabbed the missing men nearly a week ago while on assignment in Gaza City. The major Palestinian militant groups have all denied responsibility.
Update: Finally, some outrage, via AP:
Palestinian journalists on Saturday protested the kidnapping of a Fox News correspondent and cameraman, as concern about the men's safety grew.
Cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, and American correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, were taken Monday from their TV van near the Palestinian security services headquarters in Gaza City.
About 30 members of the Palestinian Journalists' Union gathered outside the parliamentary building in Gaza, holding up signs demanding the men be freed. Other signs called for security in Gaza, where armed men wander the streets freely.
Jennifer Griffen, chief Fox News correspondent for the Middle East, called the kidnapping a "test for the Palestinian people."
"We don't care who kidnapped them, we want them returned unharmed. This is a very serious case for the Palestinians, for the Palestinian Authority," Griffen said.
More than two dozen foreigners have been abducted by Palestinian militants, usually in an attempt to settle personal scores, but almost all have been released within hours.
Security officials said they were concerned for the Fox journalists because no other foreigners have been held this long and all major militant groups in Gaza have denied involvement.
Reader P.B. writes:
I read your piece about Mr. Centanni, and some of the info you had posted on your blog. It was helpful for me to get a little more info on the man, who it turns out that I've been living near for over a year now.Reader Debra Coleman:
Monday: I was aware that two fox reporters had been abducted on Monday, was concerned but didn't think much about it.
Tuesday: I arrive home this evening and pick up my mail from the front desk, and there is a notice put out by our leasing company that Mr. Centanni lives in our building, and asking that all residents, regardless of our faith, pray for his safe return. The concierge not only told me that his apt was near mine (same floor, he's just on the other side of the elevators) but she also talked about what a nice guy he was. I was also impressed that our leasing company would be so concerned about one of us, but it was certainly the right thing to do, and God willing he will come back to our little building...
Our Church in Canyon Country, Heart of the Canyons, put Steve on the Prayer Chain. Can you also let the family know we care and [are] doing what we can, in the way of prayer. Thank you.
My name is Jerome Chavez. I live and work at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I, along with many others here at Phantom Ranch, am very concerned with Steve Centanni. Since his kidnapping, we have been "flustered" with the inability to obtain any information about this disappearance. Many of us consider Steve a "friend of the Ranch" and would very much like to know what's going on.
New Zealand appeals for the Fox News crew's release (via Jerusalem Post):
An ambassador from New Zealand said Sunday that he was "very concerned" about the safety of two kidnapped Fox News journalists, and urged their unknown kidnappers to "please release these men."
The ambassador, Peter Ridder, spoke outside the office of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City shortly after the two men met. Ridder arrived in the area several days ago to lead a delegation working to free cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, who was seized Monday along with American correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, from their TV van near the Palestinian security services headquarters in Gaza City.