UPDATE at post's bottom.
Lt. Col. Rick Francona (USAF Retired) is an MSNBC military analyst who also writes for the network's "Hardblogger" blog. But while Francona has plenty of thoughts on how to deal with Iran's hostage-taking and on the notion of setting a withdrawal deadline for U.S. troops in Iraq, a review of Nexis showed zero hits for Francona on MSNBC recently, and only one appearance on NBC's "Nightly News" the day after the British servicement were taken hostage. And even then, he was featured with a sound bite about the Pat Tillman investigation.
Here are the headlines and dates for his three most recent "Hardblogger" entries:
- MEMO TO TEHRAN: GIVE IT UP (March 30)
- WITHDRAWAL DATE FOR IRAQ AIDS THE ENEMY (March 23)
- GULF ARABS DRAW A RED LINE AGAINST IRAN (March 19)
The 15 British sailors and Royal Marines were captured on March 23. Francona has written more on Iran specifically and the Middle East in general, it's just not all been posted to MSNBC's Web site. Francona runs his own Web log, Middle East Perspectives, and has a few additional posts in the same time period, including one dated March 25 explaining the long-disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway in which Iran captured its British hostages.
So given Francona's expertise and his being on the MSNBC payroll, he's been pretty busy appearing on air, right?
Well, a Nexis search for "Rick Francona" among MSNBC documents from March 19-April 3 turned up no hits.
I repeated the search but added NBC and CNBC into the mix and drew only one Francona hit, the March 24 "Nightly News."
That was one day after British military personnel were taken hostage by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, but Francona's appearance came in a sound bite in a story about Pat Tillman, a football player turned Army Ranger who was killed via friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.
UPDATE (17:17 EDT): NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes reminded me that MSNBC's daytime coverage is not archived in Nexis, and its weekend coverage is spotty. Nexis tracks MSNBC's late afternoon-evening lineup from Tucker Carlson at 4 p.m. onward, he cautioned. Even so, premiere MSNBC programming such as "Hardball" and "Countdown" fall under Nexis's watchful eye, and they've been Francona-free for the past few weeks.