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Posted by on Nov 30, 2007 in At TMV | 18 comments

Media Coverage: Hostage Situation at H. Clinton’s Campaign Office in Rochester N.H.

It appears that the man who took hostages came out of the campaign office, and was taken down to the ground and handcuffed, and is now being taken away in a tactical vehicle.

On a different front:
Newspeople are turning to analyse the background of the man who entered the campaign offices in Rochester New Hampshire 5.5 hours ago, claiming to have a bomb, and not allowing all hostages to be released within short order.

Some newspeople are saying their network (to each their own) gave people (that’s us) ‘an incredible opportunity to see this all unfold first person today.’


A sixth hostage has been released. Another young woman, according to the Fox newsman onsite.

It is said that there is a sudden surge in activity onsite.

This may be the beginning of a denouement.

On a different front:
Current discussion on Fox regarding Fox earilier claiming to have identified man who is hostage taker, by name, even though Fox said tactical and law enforcement officials would not confirm: Troy Stanley. However, now it appears the name might be Leland Isenberg or Isenburg. The discussion is interesting to watch re how some newsminds find their way through seeming conflicting info that had been undestood as fact a short time earlier. It may be that the man who has claimed he has a bomb, has more than one alias. It would not be unusual for a person captured in an ongoing psychosis to have more than one persona.

It appears that the cable news is turning a bit away from the critical situation, to asking
–what will happen re copycats at other campaign headquarter/office sites in coming days.
–How has Clinton campaign handled the current invasion of the office in NH
–One newsman from Vermont is using that spooky film trailer tone of voice to say, ‘This has been a dramatic day for the Clinton campaign!!!’ as though the Globbleflaks have landed and are going to destroy planet earth. It’s odd to see that musty old media style used to try to dramatize a situation that , at this point, needs no further dramatizing.
— Various persons in Congress and Senate have been given brief air time to express concern for all

It appears a fifth hostage, a young woman, has been released from the hostage situation at the Clinton campaign office at Rochester NH.

There is newsmedia speculation, but not Tactical or Law Enforcement confirmation, that there is a sixth hostage inside the office with the man who earlier entered the offices apparently claiming he was carrying a bomb. Two of the earlier hostages released were said to be a woman and a baby.

Four hostages have been released.

The man who is the hostage taker, at this moment, is still inside the New Hampshire campaign office with his ‘bomb.’

It is unknown if there are any hostages left inside with him; SWAT NH has issued a terse statement that such can be ‘deduced,’ but has not confirmed there are no more hostages.

A throw-in phone has been employed.

Both Fox news and CNN have been reporting with restraint, meaning without opinion interspersed — with two exceptions, one a small misleading statement, and one set of statements more potentially disruptive to the de-escalation of the crisis situation.

The first: A Fox news fellow onsite, said Fox was “not going to show the SWAT teams” actions presently on camera. However, it is far more likely that Fox and all other news agencies, have been prevented from access to film the SWAT teams, as part of law enforcement’s containment protocol. It’s not a matter of Fox’s will.

News agencies onsite may have had to agree not to film the SWAT teams in process in order to retain their news access to the site.

NH law enforcement, clearly wants no interference or speculations from media during this ongoing critical incident. (as occurred at Columbine massacre, for instance)

Secondly, a Fox newsperson at the desk back in the studio has just broadcast an off the cuff opinion that it’s alright to lie to a hostage taker…

The commentator in studio goes on to say as though he’s a knowledgeable ‘critical incident specialist,’ which would seem unlikely …. Tell [the hostage taker with the ‘bomb’ strapped to his body,] that there are going to be no charges filed, lie to him, tell him that Hillary is in the truck out front waiting to meet with him, Lie to him.’

Several problems with this: one being, the man who is the ‘hostage-taker with a bomb’ situation is still involved in a highest risk standoff and negotiation with law enforcement and SWAT.

It is better, during a critical incident, to not in any way speculate…. as rumor, inaccurate information, and braggadocio only confuse communications, which nowadays travel through more than one venue nearly instantly.

Also we do not know, and neither does the Fox newsman in studio, if there is a television inside the campaign office that the man who is the hostage taker has access to. In critical situations, Tactical tries to contain all potential ‘triggers’… before the fact.

The desire to ‘help’ by a Fox newsperson, by giving a CSI-TV version of what law enforcement SWAT should do in New Hampshire, is not likely helpful. The man who is identified as the hostage taker appears to be a deeply disturbed person who may already suffer from paranoia. That wouod mean he is labile, unpredictable, both in terms of behavior, but also in what catalysts might set him off further. This is why ‘sealing’ input to the man who claimed he had a bomb, is critical.

Remarks like this news commentator’s in studio, whether overheard by man who was hostage-taker himself, or his relatives or friends, can set off other unintended consequences. In fact, can interfere with the critical de-escalation law enforcement is attempting to accomplish onsite.

There is often enough anxiety produced in a mentally ill person in a standoff… just from the profound sounds of news helicopters circling overhead, perhaps law enforcement copters also… as well as often, early on, horns and confusion outside caused by rerouting of traffic. There will also be a rush to lock down any schools, vulnerable citizens in the vicinity.

Sometimes in journalism, ego jumps way ahead of even-handedness. For some, there is excitement in peril. The best journalists leaven down rather than catch themselves on fire from such moments. They know more mistakes are made when the journo allows themselves to be set on fire only, but without forethought, without attempting to double and cross check not only facts, but consequences.

There’s often a difference between covering news in depth, and ‘trying to be first to say something, anything.’

Yet, in the midst of the actual SWAT intervention ongoing at the moment, most all cable news seems to continue reporting with restraint. Senator Clinton’s office put out this statement on their website almost instantly when the crisis came to light …. “There is an ongoing situation in our Rochester, NH office. We are in close contact with state and local authorities and are acting at their direction. We will release additional detail as appropriate.”

I think you can lay good odds to that they have been asked to follow a crisis/critical incident protocol, so as not to potentially mis-state or accidentally enflame the crisis in any way by saying more, as the situation is ongoing. This would be standard in such stagings where the lives of officers, teams, business owners, hostages and others are potentially at risk.

The wives and families and children of all the brave SWAT and law enforcement officials who are onsite in Rochester New Hampshire, are praying and holding their breath until this situation is brought to conclusion.

There are prayers going out from us to all others, that all is resolved well and very soon. May everyone have dinner in their own homes tonight, safe and sound… even if after midnight.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Bones_708

    Wow. I am amazed that in the midst of everything the first thing that came to mind that needed to be blogged about was how bad Fox, and the media in general, are.

  • domajot

    Cable news is bad, and it matters.
    maybe if enough people come to realize that, these outfits would begin to feel pressure to shape up.

    In the midst of a crisis, being bad is unforgiveable, when you think about those depending on the news for information about people they care about..

    Cost cutting is reflected in the quality of those moderating the ongoing news of the day. Sometimes, it seems they are required to pass a stupidity test for job qualification.

  • DLS

    Fox at least is more trustworthy than the other networks, whose agenda is all too evident. With Fox the main problem is the tackiness. CSI? [gag] Was this another instance of Fox’s showing a gauche


    beacon on the lower right edge of the screen? Will the beacon be shown continuously until the event is concluded? Will Mr. or Ms. CSI be on-site wearing clothing similar to what’s on today’s crime and police shows? (I don’t watch teevee, so I am not sure what is worn now, but it’s probably poorer dress than used to be the case — halter top or if a guy, shirt is stupidly not tucked in, et cetera.)

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    Dear Bones, it wasn’t the first that came to mind, it was the elevendy-th, although I can see why you might have thought so. It is also not about Fox or media
    in general being ‘bad’; I think I stated that in the beginning of the article?…

    The second factor of potential ‘triggers’ by news media with unintended consequences, is a much discussed factor by journos … an ongoing discussion about how/if/why the interstices of some reportage in media (any media) potentially clashes with what is most needed for tactical safety in an ongoing critical case… whether that be a case where hostages are being held, where an armed person, or a dangerous person’s mental state is undetermined as yet, or even when so… assuming they have posed harm to self and/or others. (addendum) Sorry, I cdn’t finish all my comment to you earlier while trying to answer others and at the same time do the updates for this story. I think you’re right, it would have been better to have added to the article, that I was, with a background in post-trauma crit incident recovery, hoping to shed more light on that particular issue. That would hopefully have made my intent more clear.

    Dear Domajot: big media and hospitals seem sometimes to have some of the same issues re being staffed. Yours is a good insight. I notice on Fox, the newscaster referred to in article has not been replayed… in fact, Neil Cavuto, one of their sturdy and reliable newscasters has since been brought in and has been interviewing various since. I think John Gibson is up next, who I think will continue interviewing whichever peripheral witnesses will speak, while taking a direct feed from the site.

    There’s just now an alert on this story, so I’ll move to UPDATE in a few seconds here.

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    dear DLS, I think you definitely have a career as a
    humorist. An intelligent one. No kidding.

  • DLS

    I think you definitely have a career as a
    humorist. An intelligent one.

    I believe some of the liberals on here would rephrase that, that I am a sick joke. Oh, well. Thank you.

  • DLS

    Fentanyl. Da!

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    geez DLS, in that case, maybe Marx has been mistranslated… it wasnt ‘opium for the masses’ …it was really a prescription, “opiates for the masses”? Without or with, you’re naturally funny.

    I just hope the news mediums that are so large and that so many depend upon for factual news, are only funny on purpose, not laughable, (that would include all of us, too… although, I don’t know, it’s sort of hard to avoid being so at least occasionally….hopefully those are few and far between).

    It is interesting to follow today, how the journos on the street reporting for tv on this particular story of a man taking hostages and threatening life, seem to carry an entirely different emotional quotient than those reporting from the studio on the same story.

  • DLS

    Sometimes in journalism, ego jumps way ahead of even-handedness.


    and he didn’t even care about even-handedness.

  • DLS

    Looks like no sleepy-time remedy for the hostage situation was needed, if the guy gave up peacefully.

    (We would have given Putin another excuse to blame the USA and the West for more problems in Russia had we recovered everyone alive with fentanyl. Bring out the snoozing bodies and place a toy bear on the hostage-taker, heh, heh.)

  • Dr E., Thanks for your Newsblogging at TMV!

  • domajot

    To give credit where credit is fue, apparently the hostage taker called CNN several times during the crisis, but they did do the right thing and refrained from reporting on that until after the crisis was over.

    The were still praising themselves for this heroic restraint as I was switching channels.

  • I, for one, welcome our new Globbleflak overlords.

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    domajot: thank you for that addition. Interesting story unfolding on that, a day after hostage-taking man surrendered. Editor and Publisher has an interesting part of it. It will be interesting to see how the man found his way to CNN or if he also tried to call Fox and other outlets. It’d also be interesting to know if he had already called cable news outlets before yesterday to try to gain attention to his opinions as ….The man apparently was angry in early 2007 about what he called a violation of his rights when the local police had a program of checking car doors parked on neighborhood streets to see if they were locked or not, and if not, left a notice to do so. They’d apparently had an increase in car thefts and this was one of le’s interventions.

    dear jilly: Oh oh, I think you’re on to me… you mean globbleflak is not really an OED word? Re your link… Is that a site dedicated to ‘new words”? If so, can anyone make one up? I suggest “snowclowns.” Can you picture that in your mind? Aw, he’s just snowclowning around. He needs a snowclownectomy. What poor snowclownology. Hey look! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no! it’s …a… omg, a snooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwclown!”

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    just to say too, I am glad we are at a place where at least with regard to the hostages taken, and all the tactical, LEs and other
    persons involved yesterday, that they are safe, and that we can joke around here in the comments sections a bit, that we are not in mourning about this particular incident, is a blessing. Though so much ever flies apart, let’s count this as one moment in time when matters were put to “enough peace” without loss of life.

  • domajot

    I’m guessing the real story behind the restraint by CNN and Hillary Clinton (she did not talk to him by phone, as he demanded) is a new tactic by law enforcement. Getting attention is what fuels a lot of these incidents. Denying attention might aid in cutting them short.

    We’ll see if my instincts are on the right track or not.

    My hat is off to the SWT teams’ negotiators. To make the right call in such circumstances requires more cool nerve that most of us can imagine.

  • spirasol

    Is there room between the heroics of the senator, media crisis mgmt, and the safety of the hostages to talk a bit more about the perpetrator/victim. Is he off his meds? Is it just attention he hopes to gain? How does it come to be that he confuses his own economic issues with political issues about healthcare and demands to have a say in the resolution. I read somewhere he was a stalker so we know he crossed a line long ago. Still I’m curious– what brings a person to cross the line…

  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

    Depends on several factors, dear spirasol… if he was once on medication AND was accurately diagnosed to begin with (that’s a story for another time), and then quit meds… and became delusional or had hallucinations as a result… then yes, he would act irrationally because he is not on his medications, esp if they were anti-psychotic meds. The circuitry to ‘must make something happen or not happen’ then becomes far stronger (and irrational) in psychosis…stronger than inhibitory reflexes, conscience, super-ego restraint, rational prediction of outcome for one’s own behavior… This is why people in an active psychosis can be so dangerous. They are bereft of the usual controls for thought as well as behavior…

    Attention to whatever a person in such ill condition is obcessing about is more likey push, than just ‘wanting to get attention for attention’s sake”…. although, IF led by bumbling interviewers after the fact, a very ill person will often cop to anything, even when it isnt true. Same issue: they cannot distinguish the weight of one thing from another, they cannot weigh matters accurately…for them there is no foreground, midground and background in their thinking and acting, only FOREGROUND, in all CAPS, ALL THE TIME.

    If this soul is suffering from what I sense he is ill with, he would definitely weave together many kinds of self-perceived oppressions. In persons with this category of illnesses, ( made worse by illicit drugs or alcohol,) their delusions are often interwoven with politics or else religion. There’s a ‘MUST’ inside theirminds that is pushing them, MUST talk to someone, MUST tell the world, MUST… no matter how disorganized.

    Neurotics (like all of us), know when our thoughts or behaviors are ‘off.” People suffering a psychosis do not realize their thoughts are ‘way out there,’ nor that their confabulations are strange and most often unworkable. They do not realize, in the same way we would, that their behaviors endanger themselves and others. They have just enough ability to locomote about, just enough grasp of reality to dress, take a bus, etc.

    Their functionality in those spheres is often confusing to so-called normal folks… how come if he knows how to tie his necktie and can plan and gather, and show up, and find his own house, he is also delusional? This abilty to be present and seeming ‘normal’ in some ways, at least part of the time, is what throws people off so they dont realize the inherent danger.

    Sadly, we see this over and over again, the being thrown off by the cues, and not wanting to intrude in someone else’s life, and also placing a high value on allowing others and self to be free. The young men– Kliebold, Harris, Cho, and so many others suffering from similar illnesses– had very similar features of functionality and yet devastating illness at the same time.

    Very ill people often are, functional in certain ordinary ways, and dysfunctional socially, workwise, relationshipwise, with increasingly grandiose claims, demands and behaviors, etc.

    In this man’s case, I think, and I am only making an educated guess, I dont think he ‘decided’ to cross a line. I think his brain chemistry pushed him across the line; that there is no choice involved in a very ill person (assuming he is so), only pressure to act according to haunted and unusually orderly– but at the same time– disorganized and delusional thoughts.

    hope this helps. your questions are good ones. It is a complicated issue that some want to attribute to willfulness. It isn’t. It’s from being driven. Heavy auto with brake lines cut. Tipping downhill. Tragic. And sometimes, if not contained…tragedies for others as well.

    Important to contain. A priori. Vital. And difficult for many reasons

    Voice in Wilderness about this matter for years now… early and consistent care of the ill. Too often decided by people who ‘don’t know,’ or those in legislatures trying to save money on the backs of the most ill who walk amongst us. My time at legislatures testifying re this matter of wrongfully turning severely ill people out of group homes and halfway houses… but that too is a story for another time. As often as I testify ‘for’, there are ten who testify to the contrary to fill their own pockets. Yet, I come across so so many people out here in The Wilderness, all trying to influence to the good. The lay of the land.

    I love the story of the little tailor who slew 10,000 with one strike of his sword. Even though the ten thousand were only flies. At first. You have GOT to start somewhere. lol

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