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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
WND's Disingeuous Defense of Fox Hostage Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is trying to dance around the implications of Aaron Klein's article claiming that $2 million in ransom was paid for the release of Fox News employees Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, who were kidnapped in Gaza last summer.

In a response to Fox News CEO Roger Ailes' denial that Fox News paid a ransom for the release of Centanni and Wiig, WND editor Joseph Farah responded:

"We stand 100 percent behind Aaron Klein's story today about the release of kidnap victims Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig.

"The statement by Roger Ailes completely distorts what our story carefully reported. Nowhere in our story did we ever allege, as Ailes' statement said, that Fox News paid $2 million for release of the terrorist hostages."

Ailes was quoted as saying: "I just saw an article on the internet from by Aaron Klein which claims we paid $2 million in hostage money during the Centanni & Wiig kidnapping crisis. The story is absolutely 100% false. Not a cent of hostage money was paid, and it was never considered ..."

"In fact," said Farah, "what we reported is 100 percent accurate – that some of those believed to be involved with the kidnappings say they received money. Period. No one in the story even suggested the money originated with Fox.

"Roger Ailes says the story is 100 percent false. But he is alleging it says something it clearly does not say.

"Further, Fox News executives and spokesmen had two weeks to provide a response to WND before the story was published. They understood in advance what would be published and repeatedly refused to make a statement on the record. Off the record, they did not deny it was possible money was paid by another party."

Farah is being disingenuous. While Klein's article doesn't explicitly state that the money allegedly received by the terrorists came from Fox News -- as we noted, a claim based on a single anonymous "senior leader of one of the groups suspected of the abductions" who refused to confirm that his group was involved -- Klein never explicitly states that the money did not come from Fox and never states where it actually did come from, despite Farah's claim that "No one in the story even suggested the money originated with Fox."

The article clearly suggests that the money did, in fact, come from Fox -- an implication Farah fails to acknowledge. This implication is further fed by Klein's statement that a Fox spokesperson "could not provide an official statement about whether Fox was aware of money paid to free its two employees" and that the spokesperson said that "it was possible money was paid."

WND is putting a lot of trust in the words of terrorists; it should hope that it won't come back to bite them. It might a good time for another solicitation for WND's legal defense fund.

UPDATE: Edits for clarity and link additions. 

Posted by Terry K. at 7:02 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 16, 2006 1:26 AM EST

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