Paris Attack: U.S., European Networks Go Wall-to-Wall With Coverage of Manhunt for Suspects

Paris Hostage Scene - H 2015
Associated Press

Channels broadcast live from France as police close in on the men believed to be responsible for Wednesday's Charlie Hebdo shootings

The dramatic hunt for the men who carried out the attacks on French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo dominated media coverage for a third straight day on Friday.

Coverage of the story shifted from Paris to the rural town of Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris near Charles de Gaulle Airport, where the suspects in the attack, the brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, were believed to be holed up in an industrial complex with at least one hostage. The two brothers reportedly stole a car en route to Dammartin-en-Goele and took a hostage, holing up in what is believed to be a printing business in the French commuter town.

Scores of heavily armed police, backed by military-style helicopters, have surrounded the area. Several networks were reporting that the police have begun hostage negotiations with the armed suspects. French media quoted a local politician from the region as saying the suspects told police they wanted to die as martyrs. After several hours, around 11:30 a.m. ET, multiple media outlets, including the Associated Press reported that the suspects had been killed and the hostages were freed.

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A second hostage situation later developed, about 20 miles away, in a kosher market in eastern Paris. A police official said the gunman, holding at least five hostages, has threatened to kill them if police launch an assault on the cornered brothers suspected in the newspaper massacre earlier this week. The official said several people had been wounded when the gunman opened fire in the market Friday afternoon and were able to flee and get medical care. Paris police released a photo of Amedy Coulibaly as a suspect in the killing Thursday of a policewoman, and the official named him as the man holed up in the market. He said the man is armed with an automatic rifle and some hostages have been gravely wounded. He also stated that a second suspect, a woman named Hayet Boumddiene, is the gunman's accomplice.

The Paris mayor's office immediately announced the closure of all shops along Rosiers Street in the city's famed Marais neighborhood in the heart of the tourist district. Hours before the Jewish Sabbath, the street is usually crowded with shoppers — French Jews and tourists alike. The street is also only a kilometer (.06 mile) away from Charlie Hebdo's offices.

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In France, both top-rated network TF1 and France 2 provided wall-to-wall coverage of the manhunt. News networks BFMTV, iTele and farther up the dial Euronews, France24 and TV5Monde also excluded other news with live coverage as SWAT teams and helicopters surrounded the suspects.

In the morning, local time, the networks carried a live press conference with President Francois Hollande, flanked by Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, in which Hollande again called for unity.

In the U.S., Good Morning America, Today and CBS This Morning spent a few minutes on the manhunt before turning to other news, lighter stories and interviews with guests by 8 a.m. ET. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, meanwhile, provided ongoing coverage of the siege, cutting between U.S. anchors and correspondents on the scene in France as they aired live footage of the hostage crisis. While MSNBC and Fox News relied on their traditional morning anchors to helm coverage from the states, relaying the latest developments and checking in with reporters on the scene, CNN started the morning with its New Day anchors cutting to local correspondents before Anderson Cooper began anchoring the network's coverage at 9 a.m. ET, reporting from Paris. CNN also aired audio from correspondents at both hostage sites as they provided details about both scenes, with Cooper communicating with them by phone. On Fox News, shortly after 9:30 a.m ET, the network's U.S. anchors brought in experts to discuss some of the issues behind the news in a panel discussion, audio of which was broadcast along with video footage from the hostage scenes in France. Fox News planned to stick with live coverage of the hostage situation, with London-based correspondent Amy Kellogg at the Kosher supermarket and senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot and senior correspondent Rick Leventhal in Paris.

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NBC's Today shifted back to live coverage of the hostage crisis at 10 a.m. ET, with Savannah Guthrie anchoring a special report from New York and Lester Holt and Bill Neely reporting from Paris. Guthrie brought in NBC's foreign correspondent Richard Engel and other experts for their insights into the multiple hostage situations. ABC and CBS both aired regularly scheduled programming from 9-11 a.m. ET, but they had both switched to live special reports by 11 a.m. ET, with CBS going live at 10:57 a.m. as gunfire was heard in the first hostage situation. NBC also went back to a Guthrie-anchored special report at the same time. CBS' live report was anchored by Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose, with Clarissa Ward and Elizabeth Palmer reporting from France. ABC's report was anchored by George Stephanopoulos.

Earlier, news channels across Europe carried wall-to-wall coverage of the manhunt, jumping between mostly uneventful scenes in Dammartin-en-Goele and reporting and analysis from Paris. French police cordoned off the town where the suspects were situated, not letting the media near the area and forcing channels to broadcast deceptively peaceful scenes of the town from afar.

BBC News reported that the local schools in the area had gone into lockdown and that residents had been asked to stay indoors. Several outlets repeated unconfirmed reports that there had been additional casualties in the town. The Paris prosecutor's office denied initial reports that one person had been killed in a shootout between police and the suspects.

Although the television images were largely tame, the story being told across the dial and on live video feeds on the websites of several major newspapers, including Britain's Telegraph and Italy's Corriere Della Sella, was dramatic, involving, as reported by France's Europe 1, a very violent exchange of gunfire between French gendarmes and the suspects, with several vehicles hit. 

Rhonda Richford and the Associated Press contributed to this report.