Media Response: memorial or mockery?

Sunday Sept. 11, 2011 marked the 10-year anniversary of the Sept.11 terrorist attacks. You may notice that this isn't a question or a wishy-washy statement. It is a fact. Four radical terrorists hijacked planes and attempted to fly them into iconic American structures. Three succeeded, one did not.

This is something that every educated man, woman and child over the age of 13 should already know, due to the vast security and societal implications the attacks have had: our two wars, the obtrusive Transportation Security Administration pat-downs and yearly reminders of the events that unfolded in New York, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Penn.

Yet, this 10th anniversary will represent more than in years past. Instead of the typical moment of silence and a collective remembrance of the tragedy of that day, news organizations have decided that this is a perfect time to go all out in an attempt to increase their audience.

The headlines of the New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post publicize the anniversary. Google News is covering the aftermath too. A look at TV program listings showed that ABC, CBS and NBC all had 9/11 specials that morning, and CBS and PBS covered the evening with 9/11 programming during prime time.

I, for one, deeply understand the tragedy of the events that took place 10 years ago, but doesn't this new wave of media coverage make a joke of the situation? The plastering of World Trade Center images online and in newspapers has brought the heart-wrenching emotion of the loss of thousands of lives down to the lowest low of tabloid journalism. It cheapens the situation. It equates the pain of a nation to a five-minute fluff-piece placed at the end of a cable news program.

Why not let the country mourn in peace? Here's an idea: Instead of replaying footage of the World Trade Center collapsing and smoldering images of the Pentagon, why not have a mere minute of news-driven memorial? Perhaps a person recounting their story or some images of the new memorial, or maybe an address from President Obama on the strength of our nation and how we have united in support of one another?

Let's just collectively close our eyes. Remember the events that occurred, and think of the events that occurred afterward. Think of those who died and those who are still putting their lives on the line in service of their country. Then let our eyes open and notice that time moves on. The world keeps turning, and we as a people have survived. Let's just try not to make a mockery of the past.

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