chapter  7
The Hostage Taker, the Terrorist, the Media: Partners in Public Crime
WithJoseph Scanlon
Pages 16

The media talked to the persons involved, in the case over the telephone and in the second by shouts from the street. Reporters even interviewed the female hostage in the second incident while she appeared at the window with a gun to her head, just as other media had done with the pilot of a hijacked TW A jet. Hostage takings have the most basic of all news values—immediacy and conflict. A hostage taking at the Olympics was guaranteed massive coverage; the satellites were already booked. In Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a man took hostages because of a grievance against his bank and its lawyer. Having studied other events he had decided a hostage taking was the way to get attention. The terrorist hostage taking is carefully planned by persons dedicated to a cause who are prepared to die for it. Many so-called criminal hostage takers take hostages for exactly the same reason as the so-called terrorists.