The Missing “Why” From The 9/11 Attacks

By: Viviana M. Garcia

CNN. 9/11. Retrieved April 20, 2011.

The mainstream media, during and after the attacks on September 11, failed to report on the reasons behind why Osama bin Laden’s hatred toward the United States. When asked why they chose to abstain from printing stories that would answer that question, they claimed it was due to the fact that they feared to look as though they were unpatriotic in the days following such devastation along with seeming as though they were justifying the attacks through their explanations.

Streitmatter, in his book Mightier Than The Sword , claims that the media failed to answer because its journalists were overwhelmed answering the other critical questions of, who, what, when, and where. It might be said that journalists were justified in not making the motivations of terrorists their highest priority when dealing with such a multifaceted event that had countless repercussions to report on.

Many, including Streitmatter claim that the media did not sufficiently report and comment on whether President Bush was justified in declaring war with Iraq. Many statements made by the President and then Vice President, Dick Chaney, initially propelled strong backing for the war. The two reasons for entering Iraq less than a month after the attacks on the US, where as follows: 1) to weaken al-Qaeda and 2) to weaken the Taliban that condoned the oppression of women.

Iraq was painted as the, “axis of evil,” by the President and this garnered much attention, both in support of his actions and against. It’s up to the American people to ask themselves, however, what for them constitutes an “evil” action and whether 9/11 and the killing of thousands of innocent American lives falls into an evil act.

“Too Little, Too Late,” writes Streitmatter in reference to the length of time it took prominent media organizations to answer the why question, but they eventually did. The New York Times ran a profile on bin Laden three weeks after the attacks, but this was done once war had been declared. It is important to note, however, that bin Laden did say the following, that he felt, “indignation over American support of Israel,” and that he had “grown to hate America that, as he saw it, had used its power to oppress the people of Islam.” Reflection should be practiced by journalists and US citizens to ask themselves whether these statements are problematic and something to be concerned about.

The media and the President both should have done things differently and hopefully with this backdrop of history and example, we will know how to better approach future situations.

Source: Streitmatter, R. (2008). Mightier Than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American Story. United States: Westview Press.

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Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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