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Cable News Covers Wayward Plane with ‘Unconscious and Slumped Over’ Pilot

ScottCable news networks have been covering the story of an unresponsive single-engine turboprop plane that eventually crashed near Jamaica.

Two F-15 fighter jets scrambled over the Atlantic Ocean trailing the plane, which U.S. officials said was being flown by a pilot “unconscious and slumped over” in the cockpit. The plane departed Rochester, NY this morning heading to Naples, FL. It was last heard from at 1oamET, flying off course and into Cuban airspace, ultimately crashing in the ocean just north of Jamaica.

Fox News’ Jon Scott, a licensed pilot, first reported the news at the top of “Happening Now” at 1pmET. Scott went to former pilot and Fox News correspondent Leland Vittert for a report on the plane, later talking to another former pilot, correspondent Trace Gallagher. Wolf Blitzer first reported the news at 1:14pmET, speaking with Aviation Correspondent Rene Marsh. Ronan Farrow reported the news at 1:20pmET. Scott also first reported the plane’s crash at 2:37pmET. Joy Reid reported the news at 2:46pmET; Brooke Baldwin reported the crash at 2:51pmET. The cause of the crash is unknown at this point.

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President Obama: We’re Going to ‘Degrade and Ultimately Defeat ISIS’

Broadcast networks provided special coverage this morning as President Obama held a press conference from the NATO Summit in Newport, Wales.

The president first made a statement about the 28 NATO countries sending more resources to Ukraine including security assistance, body armor, and medical care. He also announced the U.S. and Europe are finalizing increased sanctions against Russia’s financial and energy sectors. Obama also spoke about NATO countries uniting against ISIS in Iraq.

“There was unanimity over the last two days that ISIS poses a significant threat to NATO members and there was a recognition that we have to take action,” the president said. “We’re going to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIS the same way we have gone after Al-Qaeda.”

ABC News cut in at 11:44amET with  George Stephanopoulos anchoring in New York and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl reporting from from the NATO Summit in Wales. NBC News cut in at 11:44amET with Brian Williams anchoring in New York and Chuck Todd reporting from Washington, DC . CBS cut in with Scott Pelley anchoring in New York and “Face the Nation” anchor Bob Schieffer reporting from Washington, DC.

The first question went to the Associated Press’ Julie Pace. The second to Bloomberg’s Angela Greiling Kane; the next to  the New York TimesJulie Davis; the next to the Wall Street Journal‘s Colleen McCain Nelson. The president spoke for 24 minutes.

American Journalist Steven Sotloff Reportedly Beheaded by ISIS

Steven SotloffTwo weeks after James Foley was beheaded by ISIS, American journalist Steven Sotloff has reportedly been executed by the same group.

In a new video posted online today, Sotloff, in the same orange Foley wore, addressed the camera: “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing,” he said before being beheaded.

ABC News cut into broadcast coverage with George Stephanopoulos anchoring and Brian Ross reporting. Ross reported the executioner said, “Obama, I’m back” while Sotloff asked the president why he was paying the price for American “interference in Iraq.” NBC News cut in at 1:48pmET with Brian Williams anchoring and Andrea Mitchell reporting. CBS News didn’t provide special coverage.

Wolf Blitzer first reported the news on CNN at 1:24pmET, going to foreign correspondent Karl Penhaul while showing stills of Sotloff next to a man who seems to be the same British ISIS member who executed Foley. “Obama back off and just leave us alone,” Penhaul reports the executioner said in the video. ABC News’ Foreign Editor Jon Williams tweets the executioner threatened British citizen David Haines‘ life at the end of the video. MSNBC’s Krystal Ball, filling in for Ronan Farrow, reported the news at 1:28pmET; Fox News’ Jon Scott reported at 1:33pmET. None of the networks aired the video.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest sent his condolences to the Sotloff family during an afternoon briefing while also stipulating the U.S. government has not yet verified the video’s authenticity. Last week, Sotloff’s mother, Shirley, sent a video message to ISIS pleading for her son’s life. Foley was a freelance journalist for TIME magazine and Foreign Policy.

Pres. Obama Calls on ‘Big Cheese’ Chuck Todd First, In Todd’s Last Briefing for NBC News

The broadcast networks broke in Thursday afternoon to carry remarks from President Obama. Lester Holt anchored for NBC, Amy Robach for ABC and Maurice DuBois anchored on CBS as Pres. Obama delivered a statement on the U.S. economy, the continued ISIS threat in Iraq and Syria and the crisis in Ukraine. The president then opened it up to questions:

ToddBriefing“I’m going to start with somebody who, I guess, is now a big cheese. He’s moved on. But I understand this is go to be his last chance to ask me a question in the press room. I want to congratulate Chuck Todd and give him first dibs.” (Watch after the jump) Todd, who is moving on to “Meet the Press,” asked about Syria/ISIS.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Colleen McCain Nelson got the second question, asking the president whether today’s military action by Russia is considered to be an invasion of Ukraine. After three more questions, the president started to leave the briefing room, but returned to take a question on whether he’d make any executive actions on immigration reform. Obama: “It continues to be my belief that if I can’t see congressional action, that I need to do at least what I can in order to make the system work better.”

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Freed Journalist Peter Theo Curtis Asks For Space From Media Covering His Story

TheoFreed American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who was imprisoned for nearly two years in Syria, spoke for the first time since his release this morning..

“I had no idea when I was in prison so much effort was being expended on my behalf, and now having found out, I am just overwhelmed by emotion,” Curtis said outside his family’s home in Massachusetts.

Curtis also had an honest message for the media.

“I’m so grateful you are expressing all this interest in me, at the same time I have to bond with my mother and my family now, and I can’t give you an interview and I can’t give you talk back and forth, and that’s all I can say to you. In the future, I promise I will respond to your emails…and help you do your job. I’m one of you, and I know what you guys are going through, so I want to help you guys, and I will be there, and I will respond, but I can’t do it now.”

Curtis took no questions. Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN all took his statement.

American Journalist Released From Al Qaeda Captivity

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 5.01.38 PMPeter Theo Curtis, an author and freelance journalist from Massachusetts, was released today after more than 22 months in captivity in Syria. Curtis had been held by Jabhat Al-Nusrah, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. He was captured shortly after crossing into Syria in October 2012.

“My heart is full at the extraordinary, dedicated, incredible people who have become my friends and have tirelessly helped us over these many months,” said Nancy Curtis, Theo Curtis’ mother. “Please know that we will be eternally grateful.”

Al Jazeera was first to report the news around 9amET. His release was in due in part because of the efforts of the government of Qatar. In reporting the story, Al Jazeera America pointed out that its parent company is funded by the government of Qatar.

Curtis’ release comes four days after the beheading of American journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS militants. That group also claims to be holding journalist Steven Soltoff.

6.0 Earthquake Strikes San Francisco Bay Area

A preliminary 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck at 3:20amPT centered 6 miles southwest of Napa, north of the San Francisco Bay area. It’s the largest quake in about 25 years in the area.

FNC’s Claudia Cowen, who lives in nearby Marin County, began reporting live from a grocery store in Napa around 5:45amPT, where workers were cleaning up products and broken glass caused but he quake.

CNN senior producer Augie Martin, who is based in San Francisco, phoned in to HLN saying the quake woke him up. “It’s the strongest quake we’ve had here in a number of years, probably since the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989,” he said.

Napa resident Karen Hunt told “Fox & Friends,” “Well, it was the strongest earthquake I have ever experienced. I’ve lived in Napa since 1996 and certainly woke us up out of bed.”

San Francisco’s local stations have been in continuing coverage since early this morning.

> More: Arik Housley, brother of Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, owns two grocery stores in the area. “It was very jolting and probably went for 20 seconds. It was shaking pretty good,” said Housley. Adam Housley later tweeted this:

Protestor Interrupts Anderson Cooper’s Interview with Trayvon Martin’s Mother

CooperProtestorsDuring coverage from Ferguson, MO last night, Anderson Cooper interviewed Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who was gunned down by George Zimmerman in 2012. Midway through the interview, Cooper turned to protesters nearby, one of whom was shouting at him.

“I’m actually talking to Trayvon Martin’s mother right now,” Cooper shot back. “Will you have some respect? I appreciate that.”

Meanwhile, on Fox News, Megyn Kelly interrupted her own show early Wednesday morning. As she was talking about the murder of journalist James Foley, live video of Ferguson protests were shown on the screen. “Hold on…I realize…I realize something is happening in Ferguson, but we’re talking about something important here, so can you at least split screen the video,” Kelly said to the Fox News control room. “The protesters and the police are clashing again, they’re clashing again. But we’re talking about the dead, the death of an American who was beheaded.”

Both clips after the jump…

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American Journalist Reportedly Executed by ISIS

JimFoleyJames Foley, a freelance journalist for Global Post, has reportedly been beheaded by ISIS militants.

In a gruesome video, militants claim they are also holding a second journalist, Steven Soltoff and threaten to kill him if the United States does not pull out of Iraq.

Foley was taken at gunpoint while covering the civil war in Syria, on Nov. 22, 2012. His parents John and Diane Foley were on the “Today” show last October, a day before Jim’s 40th birthday, to appeal for any information on their son.

“We just ask his captors to recognize his innocence and his desire to help the Syrian people and to please have mercy and let him be free,” Diane Foley said.

Today’s Ferguson Coverage Plans

Networks remain on-scene in Ferguson today after a violent night produced tear gas, gunshots, and more clashes between police and protesters (and some violence toward journalists). As a grand jury might start hearing evidence in the Michael Brown case as soon as tomorrow,  here’s an update on who’s in Ferguson today and tonight.

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