Keeping secrets – Part 2

More on the weekend escape of New York Times reporter David Rodhe from Taliban captors in Afghanistan. I wrote about the Times’ decision to keep the kidnapping secret yesterday.

“I can’t tell you whether anything we did made any difference,” Times editor Bill Keller told John Hockenberry, the host of The Takeaway today.

But Keller said when he talked to Rodhe, he was told the decision to keep his kidnapping secret was “completely the right thing to do.” According to Keller, Rodhe’s captors were “absolutely obsessed” with his value as a commodity and were determined to keep him, suggesting that if the world knew of Rodhe’s capture, it would have been more difficult for him to have escaped.

Curiously, Hockenberry never asked Keller about the balancing the ethics of keeping a news story quiet and whether similar kidnappings have been kept quiet out of similar fears of harm to the person kidnapped