Wednesday, July 28, 2010

9/11 - Media Reluctance to Use the "T" Word is Nothing New

I stumbled on an archive file of video clips of the news coverage on the morning of 9/11. It was stunning how long some of the mainstream news media avoided using the "T" word.  CNN and NBC kept trying to suggest that the FAA had some sort of malfunction or something. You have to hand it to Fox News in Washington and Charlie Gibson on ABC. Fox mentioned the potential that it was a terrorist attack and confirmed it when the second plane hit.  Charlie called it an attack. I was watching Charlie and you could here him square his shoulders just before he called it an attack. Diane stumbled a bit, but followed his lead. I'm sure the producer wet his pants at about that point, but to his credit, he kept the clips coming in.  Even after the second plane hit, you could here the CNN reporter still pushing almost desperately for the "FAA malfunction" explanation and they still hadn't used the "T" word.

You want to know where Fox News Network came from. It was the the way CNN botched the 9/11 coverage by refusing to call it what it was until way after their audience had figured it out and were collectively shouting "It's a terrorist attack you moron!" at their TV sets..

Much of the confusion was the product of serious wishful thinking on the part of news media. President Bush came on quickly and called the act what it was - terrorism.  Then he called for a moment of silent prayer for the victims and then said an amen for all of us.

Internationally, the most rattled news reporter was the Russian news anchor who was hyperventilating during his entire report. Can't blame him.  Someone had just hit the largest nuclear power in the world and he was sitting on ground zero if we thought it was them.  This guy knew what it would mean if it had been his own country attacked - in terms of retaliation. The guy was probably hoping Putin was on the phone going, "It wasn't us! It wasn't us!"  The Chinese reporter was almost perky - it was kind of weird, like "Look what's happening to those crazy Americans now!"  The Canadian reporter just stopped talking when the second tower came down and mentioned later that the Canadians were taking security precautions just in case.  The Iraqi report mentioned Kuwait and showed bits of a downed Navy jet. I couldn't understand a word, but it seemed like cautious gloating to me. The reporter guy looked nervous (turned out with good reason). BBC was typically restrained, but did mention terrorism early on. Within hours they released a special report that sounded like an Alistaire Cooke documentary.

The Japanese had the best high-quality photographs and video - way better than the other guys early on and much of it shot at street level.  Of course there were probably 10,000 Japanese tourists in New York at the time with 30,000 or so top of the line cameras strung round their necks.

Our media had a hard time reporting it.  Matt Lauer and Katy Couric were eerily calm, but confused like they couldn't believe this was happening.  Frankly everybody did that at first, but they never quite got over it. 

When you don't believe in evil, you naturally want to look away when you see it happening right in front of you. Military and ex-military guys figured out it was an attack early on.  The more liberal the news media outlet, the longer they took to use the "T" word even after it was obvious that we were under attack.  The Fox Station in New York nailed what was going on from the moment they came on the air with the report.  The "T" word was used in the first 60 seconds.

What I found really interesting was how so many stations cut to commercial before coming on with the news.  The Fox locals just broke straight to the story.  At one time news in this country, when something like that happened, Walter Cronkite would cut in.....

"We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring your this breaking news story!"

Now, it's more like "What?, uh, we have, a uh............We'll be right back after this commercial break"

Just watching the coverage, however, will take you right back to the day it happened and help you remember the magnitude of what was done to us. Next time someone tells you about how wrong the war is or how we had no reason to wage it, send them to this archive page and spend an hour or two remembering.

Oh, and God bless George Bush. Watch his announcement of the attacks.  He calls a spade a spade. The man had more leadership in his pinky finger than the entire bunch of goobers that run the current administration.  Can you imagine Al Gore handling the announcement?

"Uh, we have, uh, experienced a tragic, uh, event this morning. First reports indicate that these terrible plane crashes were the, uh, result of American caused global warming and the justifiable anger of the Muslim people over our exploitation of their resources, our abuse of the planet, the polar bears and our attacks upon the culture of the middle-east. Oh, and our support of the Israeli oppressor.  Pray for the souls of the brave, but misguided patriots who were driven to do this terrible, but understandable thing to us.............I'll be in my bunker. And you all take care of yourselves."

(Sorry I keep promising I won't do that anymore.......")


No comments: