After doing its best to enforce a news blackout on a report its chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel was missing in Syria since last week, NBC News starred Engel and two of his crewmembers on ratings-hungry “Today” show Tuesday morning.
“We begin with the news we just received this morning…Richard Engel and his team were freed from captors in Syria where they were held for five days,” “Today” show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie began, kicking things off on Tuesday’s broadcast, adding, “Gentlemen, good morning, and let me be the first to say it is so good to see your faces.”
NBC had been trying to enforce a news blackout on what it called “rumors” about Engel having been ambushed by gunman not long after entering Syria to cover the fight against president Bashar al-Assad. But, after holding the press off for a time, the network was thwarted by Turkish journalists, including a news channel there that reportedly purports to have ties to NBC’s MSNBC.
“After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed,” NBC said Tuesday morning in a statement.
After describing his and his crew’s ordeal to “Today” viewers via satellite, Engel told Guthrie, who was joined by NBC News’s “Meet the Press” anchor David Gregory via satellite, “NBC was fantastic, informing our families, keeping people up to date, keeping the story quiet.”