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..If NBC's Richard Engel Is Missing in Syria, Nobody Kept It a Secret Very Long
By Alexander Abad-Santos | The Atlantic Wire – 1 hr 39 mins ago....
According to now widely circulated Turkish news reports, NBC hasn't been able to get in contact with Richard Engel, its Middle East bureau chief — or a Turkish journalist apparently working with him — since Thursday. The original Turkish report, which NBC News tried to keep from surfacing but broke out all over the web Monday, can be found here. Google Translate only takes one so far, but the first line of the report, from Turkey's NTV, reads more or less like this:
AMERICAN NBC Television Turkey Representative of Saint Akyavaş and Middle East correspondent Richard Engel, missing in Syria since the morning of Thursday.Colleagues and relatives waiting for the good news coming from Syria.
While the Turkish media began circulating the report last night, American outlets had been operating under a news blackout per the request of NBC, as is custom for missing journalists — until now. Though news agencies stateside have honored the blackout, journalists have taken to Twitter voicing their concern:
NBC's Richard Engel is missing in Syria since Thursday.
— MJ Rosenberg (@MJayRosenberg) December 17, 2012
Richard Engel. Wow.
— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) December 17, 2012
Original report from Turkish media... Praying its wrong. RT @sallykohn: My thoughts are with NBC's Richard Engel, missing in Syria.
— David Shuster (@DavidShuster) December 17, 2012
Citing major U.S. media figures tweeting the news, along with reports by the likes of Breitbart.com and the Daily Kos, Gawker's John Cook declared the secrecy pact all but over: "NBC News has been successfully keeping Engel's status subject to a news blackout—one to which Gawker agreed until now—for at least the past 24 hours."
That didn't exactly keep anything under wraps (although The Daily Kos has since deleted its story), and that's not exactly comforting: Presumably one of the reasons The New York Times could eventually welcome back investigative reporter David Rohde from the hands of the Taliban was an even longer blackout request.
NBC has not said anything publicly about Engel's whereabouts, and an NBC spokesperson had not responded to The Atlantic Wire's request for comment as of this posting. But it appears there may be no such thing as keeping an international news story secret these days — even with the life of two missing persons perhaps in the balance. Engel, one of the most prominent and accomplished international correspondents in the world, last reported from inside Syria December 11.