With the conclusion of the harrowing incident in New Hampshire, where hostages where taken at a Hillary Clinton campaign office, this may be a good time for a round up of how the media performed.
Fox News managed to commit some amateurish, and possibly dangerous, mistakes. First off, they identified the suspect as Troy Stanley whom they described as a paranoid schizophrenic. It’s bad enough to broadcast such inflammatory characterizations while the crisis is still in progress and an unstable perpetrator may be watching on a TV inside the crime scene, but it’s even worse if you finger the wrong guy. The actual perp is a New Hampshire resident known to local police as Leeland Eisenberg.
John Ehrenfeld at Brave New Films notes that Fox reported an end to the event at 4:15PM EST, announcing that all of the hostages had been released. There would be nothing wrong with that except that another hostage was released over an hour later at 5:37, and then another at 6:13. Once again, Fox’s mistakes had the potential to put lives at risk.
Finally, when the incident actually did conclude, Hillary Clinton gave a statement and held a brief press conference that was carried live on CNN and MSNBC. Fox News chose not to air Clinton’s remarks live, instead continuing with their “All Star Panel” discussion on topics unrelated to the breaking news.
However, Wanker of the Day Award goes to MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson. In a discussion with FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt, Tucker responded to an assertion that Eisenberg was driven to the hostage taking because he felt there was no other way to make himself heard, by saying:
“He should do what a lot of other mentally ill people do in this country and start a blog.”
Very funny, Tuck. In one fell swoop you’ve trivialized the horror that the hostages just endured, discounted the gravity of mental illness, and disparaged everyone who exercises their right to free expression on the Internet. The Doofus Trifecta.