September 11, 2001

Attack of the World Trade Center

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How.

The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th became synonymous around the world as the largest terror attack to ever be perpetrated. On this day Nearly three thousand Americans lost their lives, including over four hundred first responders who had gallantly raced to the scene to assist in the evacuation effort. This attack was like none other before it due to how well it had been orchestrated by the terrorist group Al Qaeda. Millions of Americans awoke that Tuesday morning to turn on their television expecting their daily morning news only to witness the horror unfolding in front of them. As the two towers burned and eventually collapsed many were left wondering how we would react, when we would retaliate, and if we could recover. Media outlets covering the event were left scrambling in an attempt to gather information. It was not immediately clear how many casualties there were or if rumers of other attacks were true.

CNN's Initial Coverage of 9/11

CNN began reporting on the events of 9/11 at 8:48 am as reports began to pour in of an airplane crashing into one of the Twin Towers. I was not yet clear whether that crash had been intentional or if it was an accident. Any doubts of the crash being intentional were eliminated at 9:03 when cameras broadcasting live captured the moment a second jet hit crashed into the South Tower.

Fox's Coverage of the Attack

Fox began informing their viewers at 8:53 shortly after they first became aware that a jet had crashed into one of the towers. Speculation began to swirl in the News room as to what caused the plane to hit the tower. After the second plane impacted the South tower it became very evident that this was indeed an act of terrorism.

Media Bias

Following the attack the media focused on showing the US and it's government in a positive light. The media commended the Presidents leadership skills and credited him him with rallying the country. Presidents Bush's approval rating subsequently skyrocketed taking him from near 50% to near 90%. Media outlets can also be credited with promoting the idea of Iraq possessing Weapons of Mass destruction. Some believe they were taking advantage of the fear of another possible attack.

Cultural Criticism

In the days, weeks, and months after 9/11 the American people came together in a surge of National unity determined not to have their spirit broken. Despite the growing sense of patriotism many Americans were subject to a sense of prejudice. Resent and distrust ran rampant across US toward the American Muslim community. Many American participated in protest at local Mosques and in some cases even went as far as blaming or accusing American Muslims for having knowledge of the attack before they happened.

Historical Criticism

It had been over 50 years since an attack of that magnitude had been carried out on American soil. That attack- Pearl harbor in 1941- propelled the United States into World War 2. The September 11th attacks motivated our country to enter a new war, not on a single country but on the idea of terrorism as a whole. Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, had already been implicated on previous attacks throughout the Middle East and Africa. On October 7, 2001- less that one month after the attack- the first strikes were launched on the global war on terror. Soon after a US led coalition invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban government. The Taliban government had long been accused of harboring the leader of Al Qaeda. It would be nearly 10 years from the time of the attack to when the US was able to track down Bin Laden and kill him in his compound in Pakistan.