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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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