My September 11th 2001

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I will never forget September 11th 2001 for as long as I live. I was sitting on the sofa watching TV. My mother came into the room and told me to turn on the news and there it was, an image that will be etched in my mind for the rest of my days. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre, New York. I listened carefully to the news reporters who speculated about why this happened, had the pilot had a heart attack, had the sun blinded them, but none of these made any sense.

Then the question was answered as another plane appeared on the TV screen and amid screams of the news reporters crashed into the second tower, it became evident, this was no accident. America the most powerful nation in the world, untouchable, was under attack. My mind was awash with thoughts, who? How? most importantly Why? , and probably the most frightening, if America was unable to waver of such an attack, how safe where we. Here on my TV screen the most powerful nation in the world was being brought to it’s knees. As time went on we were informed that a terrorist group called Al Queda were behind these attacks.

For days, weeks, months later our TV’s, newspapers and radios were still swamped with talks of the attacks. In the following months as America attacked Afghanistan I began to wonder how justified this attack was. Sure America did not deserve this to happen to them, but did this give them the right to attack and in return endanger the life of the innocent people of Afghanistan, was the people of America’s life more important than theirs. My aims with this assignment is to answer the question, are we getting the full story or is the media leading us all in the direction it wants us to go?

At first I thought the media coverage was fair, after all the Middle East was attacking the Western world, they deserved all the bad press – didn’t they? The answer I now realise is no – they didn’t. I was naive and undereducated about the Middle East and wrongly associated them all with terrorist groups such as Al Queda, I now realise this association was wrong as I as an Irish person would find it unfair if someone presumed that just because I’m Irish that I’m involved or support the IRA. I now realise that as well as lack of understanding and knowledge the media also played a large role in my views and perceptions.

I particularly remember Sky One showing a video recording of civilians in the Middle East celebrating the attacks, adults and young children gathering in the streets to celebrate the death of so many Americans. It has recently come to light that this footage was in fact recorded months previous to September 11th and the celebrations had nothing to do with the attacks on the Twin Towers.

This has made me view the media in a different light as I now realise the media is a powerful tool and can easily manipulate the public into supporting people or events the media want to appear superior i. . America versus Iraq. I remember from recent months newspapers would have the front page and pager one and two dedicated to an American solder killed in action and on page five there would be a small paragraph on how twenty Afghanistan civilians were killed in the allied attacks and that casualties of war were to be expected, this, for me brought forward the question, is an American soldiers life more important than that of an Afghanistan civilian.

This showed me that media has the power to build a reputation and just as quickly destroy it. The Irish Times: Wednesday September 12th 2001. In this particular newspaper a photograph was shown of young children holding guns while in their parents arms. We were led to believe that these children were celebrating the attacks and although only young already harvesting a hatred for America and the rest of the western world.

This image automatically promotes hate against the eastern world as it paints the picture that they all support terror attacks on the West when this is quite obviously not the case. Another example is a newspaper implying that the attacks were on behalf of Islam whereas most Muslims condemned that attacks and it is only a minority whom choose to intrepid the Koran to justify their actions. I personally find that print has more affect on the public’s opinion than broadcast, which I find, gives a more factual account of events.

Photographs shown in newspapers an be interpreted differently by everyone i. e. a photograph of a young child holding a gun could be completely innocent, the child could just as easily be holding a toy gun but we would be led to believe that it would be real. The more shocking the headline and photographs the more newspapers that are sold, whereas a newsreader has to stay neutral to the story and give an accurate stage of events.

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