Is Richard Engel Of NBC News MIA

Richard_Engel_t220NBC News has created a news blackout regarding reports from the Middle East that veteran NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and Turkish journalist Aziz Akyavas who works with Engle have not been heard from since Thursday December 13.

While Turkish media has been reporting on the possible disappearance of the two journalists in Syria, NBC News has been asking journalists who have been inquiring about the reports to participate in a self-imposed blackout.

That is until Monday, December 17 when the website Gawker ran with the story as written by John Cook.

As Cook wrote in his piece NBC News won’t comment and they asked Gawker not to report on “rumors” regarding Engel and Akyavas.

On the social media Twitter the concern regarding the whereabouts of Engel is starting to spike with tweets and also shows (at the time of this writing) the UK newspaper The Daily Mail is now picking up on the story.

The last time Engel, who this writer follows on Twitter, sent out a tweet was back on December 6.

UPDATE – just hours after I posted the above, Richard Engel and two of his crew appeared on this morning’s Today show.

As the New York Times (and now many others as having lifted their self-imposed news blackout) has reported Engel and three crew members escaped from their captors during a gunfight with Syrian rebels at a checkpoint Monday evening (local time). Two of those holding Engel and crew were killed while the other captors escaped.

They had been captured and held for several days by unnamed captors and have returned to Turkey from where they made their appearance on Today.

“We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country” announced NBC News in a short presser.

Engel said during his appearance on the show speaking of his captors, “We were told that they wanted to exchange us for four Iranian agents and two Lebanese people who are from the Amal movement”.

During their brief captivity Engel and crew were subjected to mock executions.

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ESPN 980 Suspends Czaban and Pollin

Radio station ESPN 980 in Washington, DC has suspended its afternoon drive team of Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin over their discussion about transgender 50-year-old college basketball player Gabrielle Ludwig (in photo) back on December 6.

Ludwig who is male transitioning to female and a military vet of Desert Storm, stands at 6 foot 8 inches towering over her teammates at Mission College, CA.

While her team and school have embraced her some look at her size, age and the fact she is still male as an unfair advantage for her team. Those who make such observations are immediately labeled as transphobic by members of the LGBT community and LGBT advocate groups such as GLAAD who issued a strong statement of displeasure over Czaban and Pollin’s rather crass and juvenile comments about Ludwig. It appears that reaction from GLAAD is what has led to Czaban and Pollin’s suspension. The station has offered no comment as to how long the suspension will be.They did offer the following in an issued statement, We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a tanssexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company. Due to the nature of their conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980′s Sports Reporter program.

You can listen to the exchange between Cazban and Pollin here while it is available at YouTube.

ESPN 980 is operated by Red Zebra Broadcasting based in Rockville Maryland.