Feature Article – 9/11, Celebration of Media Saturation

 It’s been 10 years since two planes were hijacked and were navigated into the world trade centres, claiming the lives of 3000 people.  Of course, you know that because you’ve been force-fed the aftermath by our diligent media for the last week.

There have been 15 news articles published in the last hour related to 911, and that’s only using a Google search.  An amazing 976 news articles have been published in the last 24 hours as I write this at 3:00am, 11th of September, 2011.

Everyone seems to have a take on 9/11, but most of the articles are just melancholy grievances for the event, and don’t represent any tangible news as such.  Yes, it’s incredibly sad about the disaster, but do we mourn any other disaster with this kind of journalistic fervor?  Well, I guess we can sell it as journalists.

I watched those planes hit the building again and again, and we were all frequently terrified by the notion of terrorism.    Of course, an obvious xenophobic conclusion to jump to was that America was under threat from another country, something jumped onto with glee by the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath.  911 happened at a very formative time of my life, but I remember thinking, “Why do they keep playing this over and over again?  Isn’t this supporting the whole idea of terrorising people?” 

Redefining the World: Global Journalism and the Context of Conflict (Sieb 2004) suggests that the reason that the Bush administration were so easily lead America to war was because Americans weren’t well informed enough to protest.  Sieb further suggests that this is due to “…U.S news media’s prolonged weak performance in covering the world…”, but could it be postured that this weakness be a deliberate smokescreen created by the media in conjunction with the government to keep the populace in the dark?

It is also brought to attention by Sieb that the media played right into the terrorists hands by highlighting the 9/11 disaster.  Osama would be laughing in his extreme Islamic heaven right now at just how much attention we’ve all paid to his masterpiece.  In their article, Live television’s disaster marathon of September 11 and its subversive potential (Blondheim & Heims 2002), Blondheim and Heims suggest that 9/11 coverage was a perfect platform for Al’ Qaeda to spread their message of fear, but one that could be prevented in the future.

However, it doesn’t appear that we’ve learnt much about disclosure.

In the real world, no-one came to justice and nothing has been resolved.  The American government remains arrogant, and still remain in Afghanistan “keeping the peace”, even though their villains Saddam and Osama are now dead.  We have no visible enemy, a perfect climate for fear to breed an invisible one.  It seems that the smokescreen of fear is still there.  New York was warned to be on alert again during the memorial for 9/11 for terrorist activities.  Why should we be on alert?  One might ask if it suits America to “celebrate” 9/11 by creating further paranoia of terrorism.  I suggest we become wary of social engineering rather then terrorism, as this creates more fear then terrorists.

However, something positive evolved out of this disaster.  You may disagree, but that’s okay. 

Many of us became suspicious of our own culture and governing agencies.  We began to question what the western governments real intentions were.  It’s healthy and empowering to be paranoid, as long as you use paranoia to question, rather then let fear of an invisible enemy paralyse you. 

I see 9/11 as potentially positive in questions it provides Americans.  They can question, “Who are these people outside of our country and why do they hate us so much?”, or, “Why does our country want us to go to war against a country when only a group of people done this?”  This may lead to more individuation and create ability for citizens to think for themselves.

I wouldn’t be able to hold an opinion like this within the Murdoch institute; they helped push the imagery that advertised 9/11.  I’m sure the Murdoch Corporation and its workers must be grateful to Osama, they had people hooked to 9/11 coverage for months.  All the news and images of mayhem terrified everyone, but fascinated everyone too, just like that fight that you see in the schoolyard, just like that car accident you saw up the road.  You secretly want to see one kid beat up another kid; you secretly want to see someone being pulled out of the wreckage.

So who are the real terrorists?  Would 911 have made such impact if footage wasn’t frequently shown of planes crashing into buildings?  Are there shadier intents of social engineering at play?  Are we more subservient and pliable through fear?  This is something that you should decide for yourself; it’s not up to me to put words into your mouth.  I don’t mean to construct narrative, I’m encouraging you to ask questions about information given to you by the media.

Even I’m part of the social engine by pointing out we pay too much attention to 911.  I wouldn’t be upset if someone questioned my reasoning, because encouraging inquiry is this article’s raison d’etre.


References

Blondheim, M & Liebes, T 2002 ‘Live television’s disaster marathon of September 11 and its subversive potential’, Prometheus, vol. 20, issue 3, September, pp. 271–276.

Seib, P 2004, Beyond the Frontlines: How the news media Cover a World Shaped by War, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

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