Steve Centanni, a Fox News correspondent with Bay Area roots, and Olaf Wiig, a New Zealand cameraman, have been missing longer than any of some two dozen foreigners previously abducted in Gaza, the Financial Times of London points out this morning. The FT notes that past kidnappings of foreigners, usually journalists or aid workers, have been carried out by armed groups settling private scores or trying to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to release imprisoned relatives or supply government jobs. The abductions have generally lasted from a few hours to a few days at most. The captives have invariably been well cared for and released unharmed.
All of this has concerned Centanni’s family. “We haven’t heard anything,” said brother Ken Centanni of San Jose in an interview with the Chronicle. “People have been applying pressure to the Palestinian government to do whatever it can, and the Palestinian government has been very cooperative.”
The FT reports that all of the main factions in Gaza — the Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas, the ruling Hamas party and the more radical Islamic Jihad — have condemned the kidnapping. Fox and diplomats have talked with leaders of each faction. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and no demand has been made for their release.
Meanwhile, commentators and bloggers say the mainstream media has downplayed the kidnapping, which occurred near the Palestinian Authority headquarters. Joel Mowbray of the conservative FrontPageMagazine.org contends that Western media has been repeatedly intimidated not to portray Palestinian terrorists in a bad light. Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin says the lack of news in this case is news: “The disappearance of Centanni and Wiig is at least as newsworthy as — and far more threatening to our national security than — people falling off cruise ships or getting eaten by alligators or attacked by bees.” The Columbia Journalism Review’s Felix Gillette surveyed opinion about the lack of coverage in this piece.