According to Gawker, NBC News has been asking reporters not to mention Richard Engel’s disappearance:

NBC News has been asking every reporter who inquires about the report to participate in a news blackout. It has also taken to Twitter and asked people who repeated the Turkish reports there to take them down. You can see here a screengrab of the Twitter account @NBCComm asking a Twitter user who had mentioned the reports to urgently call a cell phone number (that account has since been taken down).

Despite NBC’s efforts, the story is out; earlier this afternoon, “Richard Engel” was one of Twitter’s trending topics in the United States.

After a foreign media outlet broke the story about Engel yesterday, it was just a matter of time before the dam burst. By 3:10 am eastern time this morning, when Twitchy first covered the story, at least a half-dozen Americans had tweeted about it. Several of those tweets were subsequently deleted (see, for example, here and here), presumably at the request of NBC. But it was too late. The genie was out of the bottle.

For the record, nobody at NBC News or from Engel’s family has asked us to remove our story. We were not aware until we saw Gawker’s article that NBC News was asking media outlets not to discuss it. At this point, we see no reason to remove  it, since it is now being reported all over Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet.

We sympathize with NBC News execs. Clearly, they are trying to do what is best for Engel. But these execs may need to rethink how to handle situations like this in the era of Twitter and other social media. Once people are tweeting about a story, it is nearly impossible for any gatekeeper, no matter how large or powerful, to contain it.

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Update: At least one Twitter user is using Engel’s disappearance as an opportunity to bash Twitchy CEO/founder Michelle Malkin:

https://twitter.com/timsamii/status/280746335332859904

We’ll say it again:  By the time we became aware of a news blackout, the story had appeared in a widely-read blog and had been tweeted by thousands of people.

Update: Richard Engel and his crew have been freed after five days of captivity, according to NBC News.

  • Steve_J

    They get the same consideration they give to other people they cover for their story’s.

  • jeffunde

    Again, why does the media reveal information that could lead to our troops being killed, yet when it’s one of their own, they want a blackout. I pray for Richard Engel, but this is double standards.

    • Lord Foggybottom

      There are no such things as double standards in American journalism.

    • http://Twitter.com/jkerrysforehead John Kerry’s Forehead

      To MSM, our military is a thing and their reporter is a person. MSM sucks

  • louisiana_mom

    I would say maybe this would teach NBC the dangers of reporting things that put lives in danger… but they will never learn, they just don’t like it when the shoe is on the other foot.

    • http://twitter.com/thetugboatphil TugboatPhil

      It should have been obvious after Daniel Pearl that Al Qaeda doesn’t like 2 way conversations.

      • Steve Thomas

        Who said anything about Al Qaeda?

        • http://twitter.com/thetugboatphil TugboatPhil

          That’s who about half of the “Free Syrian Army” is. The other half is Iranian backed. Uniformed Iranians have been captured on the battlefield. There are no good guys in this fight, except for some of the civilians who are being used as shields and fodder.

      • Emjay Grakykat

        I have a feeling if it were Al Qaeda Engel and his crew wouldn’t have been freed.

  • Turning Leaves

    Michelle Malkin isn’t putting Richard Engel’s life in danger, someone in Syria is.

  • u_go_guys

    I have often thought that Richard Engels was stretching his luck. Hope he is ok.

  • http://twitter.com/thetugboatphil TugboatPhil

    Note From NBC News

    To: All Other News Outlets in the Obama News Corpse
    From: President, NBC News

    Subj: Kidnapping of our correspondent, Richard Engel

    Please keep a lid on this story for now. We all know the Free Syrian Army is basically Al Qaeda Iraq, and that could look bad for Dear Leader President Obama. I’ll let you know when you can report news about this, as soon as the air temp in Hades has been below 32 degrees for a week.

    President Obama – Al Qaeda is NOT dead, and Richard Engel probably is too.

    • u_go_guys

      Vile, filthy “person” you are TugboatPhil. Shot anyone today?

      • http://twitter.com/thetugboatphil TugboatPhil

        Am I as vile as a news organization that not only wants to hide the news, but encourages others to do the same? Am I as vile as the one person with the authority to send rescue forces to Benghazi, yet didn’t to keep his campaign slogan about Al Qaeda being “dead” seem truthful?

        I’m sure you’ll answer yes to those questions, but even though I value the 2nd Amendment very highly, I also value the 1st. I think the truth should be told regardless of who is in the White House.

        And to your last question, no. But the day ain’t over yet.

      • http://twitter.com/thetugboatphil TugboatPhil

        Am I as vile as a news organization that not only wants to hide the news, but encourages others to do the same? Am I as vile as the one person with the authority to send rescue forces to Benghazi, yet didn’t to keep his campaign slogan about Al Qaeda being “dead” seem truthful?

        I’m sure you’ll answer yes to those questions, but even though I value the 2nd Amendment very highly, I also value the 1st. I think the truth should be told regardless of who is in the White House.

        And to your last question, no. But the day ain’t over yet.

    • u_go_guys

      Vile, filthy “person” you are TugboatPhil. Shot anyone today?

    • ked5

      you might want to specify your scale. these people love loopholes, and 32 celsius is quite nice. 32 kelvin . . . . a bit more inline with what I believe you are trying to convey.

  • Bob Cordon

    If only there could be a media blackout of funerals in Newtown. Hope Engel is safe, all the same.

  • The_Questman

    If he has been taken or harmed by Obama backed Syrian Rebels… well there’s your reason right there. Just like Benghazi Obama wants these Muslim terrorists to be called anything BUT terrorists. He thinks banning the word terrorist from our vocabulary makes these people more palatable. It doesn’t fit Obama’s agenda of financially and publicly supporting these TERRORISTS if they are harming Americans.

  • TocksNedlog

    Yeah, because usually when someone commits a kidnapping they don’t want anyone to know that they did it, because … well … oh, you just don’t understand!!!11!!!!