Media coverage of 9-11 remembrance distasteful


I was wondering when this would finally take place.  I originally thought that this would have been the one or five year anniversary.  But it took the US government and major news outlets ten years to revisit the horrifying emotions of Sept. 11, 2001.

It needs to be made clear, I am not disparaging those lost in the terrorist attacks, nor those who have served in the Coalitions of the Willing.  But after being bombarded on Sunday with the images in New York and Pennsylvania, I have to question two things. Not only do I wonder how things are better for Americans since 9-11, but also, what are we appreciating as a country when the media handles the anniversary of such a tragedy as they did?

We were treated to a week-long build up of emotional anticipation from Fox News to Yahoo!.  Then, on the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the major networks aired repetitive footage of victims’ family members echoing similar sentiments with moments of silence in a rotating eulogy remembering the dead.  Not that they do not deserve a moment to remember their loved ones lost, but the repetition seemed to impact my empathy negatively after a time.

I actually thought that the NFL represented the best of intentions regarding the anniversary, until the first commercial break.  Having leapt past MLB and NBA in the last decade in terms or national prominence, the NFL has become a symbol of what it is to be American, and they took that charge to heart.  Offering a collective moment of silence, followed by a universal broadcast of a single trumpeter playing “Taps,” the League decided to finish with coordinated performances of the National Anthem in all the stadiums before playing the games.

That is what impressed me the most about the experience, and it is a lesson that every news station from Fox News to CNN could learn. Give the angels their share, and move on with your life.  Honor the fallen, but do not give the perpetrators the satisfaction of disturbing our lives for their crime.  Not that the victims should be forgotten, but was it necessary to block an entire day’s worth of news and sports coverage for the remembrance?

While I felt that brevity was key in the honor and memory preserved by the NFL in their broadcasts, they did manage to irk my sensibilities in their approach to the commercialization of the 9-11 memory.  From kids flocking around firehouses or Liberty Island for State Farm and Verizon, respectively, to Budweiser Clydesdales bowing in the direction of the Twin Towers, companies bid for the rights to remember the victims.  The scenes unfolded not unlike re-appropriated Super Bowl ads, where cleverly dispersed income influences consumers on a yearly basis.