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The Media and its Role in Portraying 9/11

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On September the 11th 2001, Millions of horrified American gathered around their tv sets, witnessing the monstrosity of the terrorist attacks on the globe trade center and the pentagon. Within the following months, viewers and readers re-lived this horrifying attacks and the aftermath on TV and in newspapers and magazines. The media is the main social hub in which everything in our world and society is portrayed. The media tends to influence how we all think about and view a situation through the use of exaggeration, emphasis and sometimes even giving false recounts. Terrorism is a topic that usually attracts world wide attention.

Social media is our gateway to aware us and keep us updated on what is happening within society. As of January 2019, over 45% of the worlds population have some form of connection to social media. In a world that is conssumed by social media, terrorist acts have been orchestrated to gain wroldwide attention, emphasis certain terrorism groups and also to gain certain political interests. The 9/11 attacks were undertaken by a group called Al Qaeda. These strikes against the US were an act to demonstrate that the US were a vulnerable country. The media used dramatic images and montages to capture the attention of viewers. Recounted videos of the 9/11 attacks appear to look like a horror film. Some say the idea of the attacks were due to the media and movies. Famous film directors believe that the film industry helped fuel certain terror campaigns such as 9/11.

New York is one of the most media indulged cities in the world. The terror act played on live television. Images of the planes colliding into the world trade centre were constantly broadcasted. Yes this highly traumatic event was being repeatedly played on Tv. The message that the US was vulnerable to terror attacks and that terrorist could cause great harm was clearly affected as after these attacks, the US paid billions in increasing their national security.

The September 11 attacks had claimed to be one of the most documented events ever in history. A film called “In Memoriam” provided viewers with images and collages of the attacks. These were all provided by media outlets such as news crews, filmmakers and photographers. Some who risked their lives to document the terror event. The 9/11 event took over the tv scene for the next three days without any commercial breaks. Major television networks solely focused on the attack and what was left of it. Several days followed the attack, constant advertising and Tv entertainment flooded the media scene, focusing on the terror attack.

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To a certain extent, societies reaction to televised media can be a lot more extreme to printed media. The televised coverage of 9/11 was more emotional and provoked a stronger emotional response towards the audience. This may be because televised updates in real time, are often covering stories as soon as they happen, with footage of the incident. Whereas newspapers, provide information usually a day later. Although they are still providing the reader with facts, images of the scene wouldn’t have as deep of an affect as live footage would. To put it in perspective, live television engages the viewer more. This isn’t to say that TV coverage is the only thing that can impact thought on terrorism. Both televised and printed media have a serious and long term impact.

The media and use of technology nowadays has dramatically changed since the attacks. Smartphones that can instantly upload pictures and videos have revolutionised today’s society. Back in 2001, this type of technology was nowhere to be seen. The use of Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat allow people to stay connected with each other.

The 9/11 attacks were a form of political terrorism. Terrorist group Al Qaeda wanted to show the world that America could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks and that there were faults within their national security. The world trade centre and the Pentagon were 2 of the most prestigious buildings in America. The pentagon being known as the heart of America and the world trade centre, known globally for its trading.

The US broadcasting network has always and will always be very one sided to their people. Controversial topics such as terrorism will always be used to manipulate society. It will always be a platform to fuel society and convey the wrong idea into peoples minds. The media tends to aim terrorism at certain religions and cultures and paints a picture in peoples mind that everyone from that certain culture and religion is a terrorist. Just like the 9/11 attacks the media with always emphasize and express a personal opinion of the given situation. The media is an ever so growing platform and in the future will play a bigger role in today’s society then it already does. Not just on terrorism but on many other contemporary issues thats undergoing in todays world.

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The Media and its Role in Portraying 9/11. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
“The Media and its Role in Portraying 9/11.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
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