- A month ago when reporter Steve Centanni of Murdoch's Fox News was kidnapped in Gaza -- along with his camera-man -- that network reached out to the others, this one included.
They relayed that the authorities there had urged everyone to keep reporting of the kidnapping low-key, and to a minimum, because it was believed the kidnappers did not know they had gotten hold of some one 'recognizable.'
We -- and every other major news organization -- immediately and thoroughly cooperated with Murdoch's request.
Now, in a return case, Murdoch's newspaper did not even make the single phone call that could've told it the potential damage it was doing.
Having worked for large news organizations, I'm aware that requests like this occur periodically, and they are routinely observed as a matter of professional respect. We don't talk about them a lot, for obvious reasons, and they do affect how we cover events in a way that obviously isn't transparent to the public. And while I'm an advocate for media transparency, I also recognize that there are occasions when it's not feasible at the time, though I think it's advisable to explain afterwards when possible.
None of this, however, was a barrier for the ever-intrepid Michelle Malkin, who used the Centanni abduction as an occasion to bash the mainstream media, which couldn't explain its silence in the case without exposing the abductees:
- 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.
Malkin continued to regularly post about the media response to the story, complaining incessantly that "the story is not getting the attention it deserves."
Now the rest of us know why it was being played down: because Fox News was trying to keep its reporters alive. You have to wonder why Malkin, who turns a few pennies as a "Fox contributor," didn't get the memo.
Or was the opportunity to bash the media just too good to pass up?
Of course, not only has Malkin been notably mum about the Olbermann incident (doesn't she specialize in reporting on "unhinged" behavior?), but she finds it completely unremarkable that, meanwhile, an Associated Press photographer is likewise being held captive without due process. In fact, she's actively campaigning on behalf of his captivity -- because, you see, he's being held by the American military, and she believes that this photographer actually is a treasonous bastard (though her evidence is, shall we say, less than persuasive).
I think Malkin's photograph now appears in the dictionary under the definition for "piece of work."
Greg Sargent at the Horse's Mouth has been staying on top of the case of the photographer, Bilal Hussein. Here's the latest. See also Lindsay Beyerstein.