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Brief mention of kidnapped employees on FOX's O'Reilly Factor

Reported by Chrish - August 25, 2006 -

Harris Faulkner announced a brief piece during the bottom of the hour headlines on The Factor tonight 8/24/06, and David Lee Miller reported over video on the families' reaction to released video of reporter Steve Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig.

Centanni's brother Ken was shown giving a brief statement meant for the kidnappers:

"Our brother and his colleague are in Gaza to report your story; nothing more and nothing less. It is in your control to resolve this matter. I respectfully request that you let our brother Steve and his colleague come home to their families."

Miller reported that Wiig's wife, Anita McNaught, spent the day in Gaza trying to win her husband's release. She made a public plea for their release, in accordance with Muslim values and traditions. Virtually all Palestinian leaders have condemned the kidnapping, saying they are not in the interest of the Palestinian people.

There has been very scant coverage of the kidnappings on FOX which has us wondering if they were ordered to downplay the story. There's apparently not much to report, but when has that ever stopped FOX from obsessing?

Bitter Michelle Malkin had this to say about the strange silence: "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?" That division-mongering attitude was given some weight by Bob Laurence, a TV critic from the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper, who wrote "There's not a reservoir of kinship or goodwill with Fox on the part of the rest of the news media."

Most outlets seem to be following FOX's lead (as usual, sigh) and being very cautious, It's a touchy situation with two lives at stake and people shouldn't be running off at the mouth, inciting outrage. There's some good discussion at Poynter.org, where Dion Nissenbaum, Jerusalem bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers, wrote

"I certainly resent any suggestion that reporters here would turn their backs on a colleague in trouble just because they work for a particular media outlet."

Centanni and Wiig continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.