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Foreign Correspondence

From Hospital Bed, Father of Imprisoned Journalist John Cantlie Makes Plea to ISIS

CantlieBritish journalist John Cantlie, who’s been held captive by ISIS for over two weeks, got a public show of support today from his bedridden father.

“I want John to know how very proud I am of him,” Paul Cantlie said in a video while lying in a hospital bed. “I can think of no greater joy than seeing him again, released and allowed to return to those who love him.”

Paul went on to claim his family has sent messages to ISIS, and hope it’s been received, as they’ve received no response.  “Please know, he’s a good man. He sought only to help the Syrian people and I ask you from all that is sacred to help us to allow him to return safely to those he loves and those who love him.”

Cantlie was previously a photographer for the Sunday Times and went missing in Syria in 2012. He was freed by the Free Syrian Army, but like journalist James Foley, who was beheaded last month by ISIS, Cantlie returned to Syria in 2012.

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CNN Airs Live Firefight Between ISIS Militants and Kurdish Fighters

ISISCNNAround 11:24amET, CNN began carrying live images from the Syria-Turkey border showing what’s believed to be ISIS militants in a firefight with Kurdish fighters.

“These fighters have been on that ridge line for the better part of the afternoon, trading small arms fire with their Kurdish opponents on an opposing ridge line,” said correspondent Phil Black on the Turkish side of the border. “It appears they have been driven back slightly,” Black said of the ISIS fighters.

“They’ve just taken casualties at the top of that hill,” said Black, “that information from CNN photojournalist Claudia Otto, operating the camera.”

At one point you could hear cheering from Black’s camera location, which is made up of onlookers, mostly Turkish kurds and Syrian refugees.

CNN continues with the live images as of this writing…

Maddow on Understanding Syrian Airstrikes With ‘Absence of International Media’ There

Maddow SyriaLast night, Rachel Maddow examined the difficulty in knowing important details about U.S. airstrikes in Syria in light of the lack of foreign media in the region.

“All of this footage; many, many, minutes of footage,” Maddow began. “We know what the fireworks look like…but we don’t have any independent information as to what those targets actually were or what the effects were of those U.S. strikes.”

Maddow went on to suggest if you wanted to get an independent take on the mission separate from the U.S. military coining it as “successful,” there’s no way to get that right now. “There isn’t a professional international media presence inside Syria right now and nobody’s to blame for that except for the terrorists who keep capturing, and kidnapping, and ransoming, and torturing, and murdering journalists.”

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The Week of the International Gets

With world leaders in New York for the U.N. General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative happening at the same time, TV news anchors have been busy getting gets.

Who did we miss?

ISIS Reportedly Holding Another Journalist Captive

John_CantlieISIS released a new video today showing a British journalist as its prisoner.

The video, since deleted by YouTube, shows British journalist John Cantlie. Cantlie was previously a photographer for the Sunday Times and went missing in Syria in 2012. He was freed by the Free Syrian Army, but like journalist James Foley, who was beheaded last month by ISIS, Cantlie returned to Syria in 2012.

Cantlie’s video is different than those showing Foley and Steven Sotloff, also murdered by ISIS, kneeling in front of their captors. Instead, Cantlie was sitting behind a desk. Huffington Post reports what Cantlie said.

“I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, he’s only doing this as a prisoner. He’s got a gun at his head, and he’s being forced to do this, right? Well, it’s true. I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny. But, seeing as I’ve been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose. Maybe I will live, and maybe I will die. There is time to change this seemingly inevitable sequence of events. But only if you, the public, act now.”

Yesterday, a friend of Steven Sotloff’s told “CBS This Morning” the Sotloff family never believed the Obama administration was doing anything to help them rescue their son. There’s been no response yet from British officials on the Cantlie video.

Steve Capus: Not in Scott Pelley’s ‘DNA’ to Simply Show Up and ‘Have Presence’

PelleyScott Pelley was the only evening news anchor to report from Iraq this week as President Obama announced his plans for action against terror group ISIS. And “CBS Evening News” executive producer Steve Capus says Pelley’s reporting helps separate CBS News from the rest of the pack.

“When I first started talking about taking over this job,” Capus told us Friday, “Scott said to me the commitment to first hand reporting is what stands out at CBS News, and it’s a differentiator for us.”

That reporting found Pelley in Kurdistan, a northern region in Iraq, right in the middle of the Kurdish military’s fight with ISIS. He also interviewed a man who narrowly escaped being murdered by ISIS, escaping from a mass grave (watch after the jump). “When I was hit [by ISIS bullets], I didn’t want to make a sound, because anybody that made a noise, they’d come over and shoot them in the head,” Sayid told Pelley. “When it was all over, Sayid crawled out of the grave,” Pelley said.

“We can see speeches from Washington DC, we can have reporters standing on the lawn of the White House giving us reporting, but the real context is going to come from the people who make the commitment to cover the stories,” Capus continued. “Scott’s a reporter, and that’s what brought him to this job in the first place. It’s not in his DNA to simply show up and ‘quote unquote’ have presence on the scene.”

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What Are Journalists in the U.K. Most Addicted to?

A_small_cup_of_coffeeIf you thought journalists in America drink too much coffee, apparently our colleagues across the Atlantic Ocean are even more caffeinated.

In a survey done by the U.K. press release firm Pressat, which spoke to 10,000 professionals, journalists are wired the most of all professions.

It seems that drinking coffee is a necessity on the job in a wide variety of professions. The highest consumers, sinking over four cups daily, were those with stressful careers: journalists consumed the most, followed closely by police officers and teachers. Could it be that being overstretched or working late pushed the workforce to consume more caffeine?

Other professions found to be coffee addicts were plumbers, nurses, and drivers. Note: I put my cup down while writing this.

Sotloff Spokesperson: Obama Administration Has Made ‘Number of Inaccurate Statements’

SotloffSpeaking with Anderson Cooper last night, a spokesman for the family of beheaded journalist Steven Sotloff claimed the Obama administration hasn’t been relaying accurate information to the American people.

“The administration has made a number of inaccurate statements,” Barak Barfi said.

He countered claims the Obama administration made that Sotloff’s family had been consistently informed of Steven’s status and that Steven and other hostages had been consistently moved by their captors this year.  “We know that the intelligence community and the White House are enmeshed in a larger game of bureaucratic infighting and Jim [Foley] and Steve are pawns in this game.”

“If there continues to be leaks, the Sotloff family will have to speak out to set the record straight,” Barfi concluded. He also said the family now knows Sotloff was sold by “moderate rebels” to ISIS for $50,000 at the Syrian border. President Obama will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry today to discuss his plan of action against ISIS, which he’ll announce in a speech tomorrow.

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Journalist Starts Different Kind of Bucket Challenge to Draw Attention to Gaza

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has taken tvnewsers by storm–or freeze–this summer, and a journalist in Gaza was so inspired by it that he started a different challenge to to draw awareness to the plight of Gazans.

“I have to do something and to send a message all over the world about Gaza,” said journalist Ayman al Aloul, who started the “Rubble Bucket Challenge” on Saturday. Aloul said he first looked for water to use, but its scarcity made it too important to dump over people’s heads. The challenge has gained some social media buzz; the Facebook page has over 3,000 likes and hashtags #dustbucketchallenge and #remainsbucketchallenge are making the rounds.

Remembering James Foley: ‘Your Slaying Will Spark a Revolution Against Terrorists’

CBS’s Clarissa Ward changed her profile picture, Fox News’s Conor Powell remembers him as “a great guy,” while Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, himself imprisoned in Egypt, says James Foley‘s murder “will spark a revolution against terrorists.” These are just some of the ways, those who knew and worked alongside the intrepid journalist are remembering their colleague killed by ISIS militants.

Powell met Foley when he was an embed in Afghanistan. He tells TVNewser: “Jim was well liked by everyone, very easy going and engaging. Like many freelancers he was fearless, but he never appeared reckless. He wasn’t covering wars and conflicts for the rush, it was the story and the people that drove him.”

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