22 August 2006

Where Are Centanni And Wiig?

UPDATE: According to Fox News, a terror group calling themselves the Holy Jihad Brigades has released video of kidnapped reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig, along with demands for the release of Muslim prisoners from American jails within 72 hours in exchange for the freedom of their two captives.

It has been one week since my post on the 14 August 2006 abduction of Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig by Palestinian terrorists, and there is not much more to tell. Family members of both Wiig and Centanni have made pleas to the unknown terrorists for the safe release of the two, but there is still no publicly known claim of responsibility or list of demands from the terrorists culpable in this kidnapping.

On Saturday, Palestinian journalists in Gaza protested the abduction, but it was not covered to any real extent in the media. Part of the lack of coverage was undoubtedly due to the over-saturation of the reporting on John Karr, yet I also believe that there is a sense of apathy to the Centanni/Wiig kidnapping in the MSM that has contributed to that lack of coverage as well.

An example of that apathy, in my opinion, is President Bush's press conference yesterday. I read the transcript of press conference, and there is not a single reference to the abduction or to either of the two members of the Fox News crew. Members of the press, speaking with the President about various situations in the Middle East, never once bothered to ask if the government was doing anything to assist in the release of two of their own who were kidnapped seven days ago in Gaza.

Outside of several Iraq/Iran/Lebanon/Israel/cease-fire questions, the press corps posed a question about presidential pardons, a question about gas prices, multiple questions about Hurricane Katrina, a question about North Korea, multiple questions about the upcoming mid-term elections, and a question about the FDA and the Plan B pill. Not once did any one of them think to say, "Mr. President, two members of a news crew for a U.S. media outlet were kidnapped by gunmen in Gaza. What information does your administration have on the kidnappers and the status of the kidnapped members of the press, and what are you doing to assist in securing their release?"

Questions such as that were asked after Jill Carroll was kidnapped in Iraq, but the press corps hasn't seemed to ask any questions about this incident to the administration that I can find. When I searched the White House website for any references to this, all I could find was a reference made by Press Secretary Tony Snow during the 15 August 2006 press briefing, in response to a question about why he thought that the President's poll numbers weren't higher on the way President Bush is handling terrorism.

"That's a question for you guys. I think what's happened is, for instance, on the handling of terror, it went up 11 points in one weekend. Why did that happen? Because, two things, I think. Number one, people were reminded that the war on terror is real. I think for many people, terrorism is something that gets committed in Gaza -- our prayers go out to my friend, Steve Centanni, today on that front, and to his cameraman -- that the war on terror somehow exists 5,000, 10,000 miles away. Well, it doesn't. The war on terror also persists on a daily basis, and people are trying to do damage here. I think in our daily lives, we've thought, well, that's sort of passed. And last week was a reminder."

Right now, you need to dig for the coverage, and it is all primarily the same. Since I don't believe that the media will put this on the front burner anytime soon, maybe we should all try to prod the administration into doing so. Contact information is at the end of this post.

We could all say a prayer for Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, but God helps those who help themselves. Regardless of whether or not any of us choose to pray for them, we all should ask our government to be more vocal in demanding the immediate and safe release of these two men; and for the press to transmit that demand loudly and clearly throughout the world.


White House Contact Information

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
TTY/TDD Comments: 202-456-6213
TTY/TDD Visitors Office: 202-456-2121


U.S. Department of State Contact Information

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

TTY: 1-800-877-8339

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