Media and Events of 9/11
September 11, 2001, was a day that all of America will never forget. The attacks that hit the Pentagon, a crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, took the lives of more than three thousand people in total. This historical event affected the country in multiple ways and the media is definitely an area that was overlooked.
After the terrorist attacks, entertainment media knew some alterations were going to need to be made. This affected movies, television shows, and video games causing their release dates to be pushed back.
In 2002, the fourth season of “Sex in the City” had to change their opening credits because there were many shots of the World Trade Center. The show decided to replace the shot with the Empire State Building. A snow globe containing both towers was left in. There were many small changes made to the very popular video game ‘Grand Theft Auto III’ after 9/11, including the removal of one terrorism-related mission. The game was also was delayed multiple weeks because the Rockstar Games office was near Ground Zero.
This made the finalization of production for the game very difficult. Several episodes of the television series “Power Rangers Time Force’ were altered to remove images that might evoke the 9/11 attacks or the World Trade Center. This included the removal of a speech broadcast by the villain, Ransik, that came off pretty similar to the ones in Osama bin Laden’s videos.
The movie ‘Armageddon’, released in 1998, shows New York being wrecked by meteors, with iconic landmarks like Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building. A shot of the aftermath featured the two towers of the World Trade Center slowly burning. This shot was removed in the broadcast TV version of the movie.
Lastly, the extremely popular education children’s television series, Sesame Street was affected by 9/11 as well. They added storylines that were somewhat related to the events of 9/11 that aired after 9/11. A grease fire at Mr. Hooper’s store traumatizes Elmo and Big Bird has to help his friend.
On Sept. 11, 2001, all journalists and reporters were faced with a crisis that forced them to make a very difficult decision. In every newsroom across the United States of America, the decisions that were made left a lasting effect on how media outlets will cover stories even to this day.
The level of sensitivity changed after the video of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The times before then media outlets would exploit video, however, media now is more censored and sensitive. In the days after the attacks, the president of ABC News ordered that video of the planes hitting the World Trade Center not to be repeated over and over to try to avoid disturbing the viewers.
That was a major decision, especially because of how many times Americans had been exposed to video of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Today, news organizations will examine coverage of stories that are graphic and decide that even when there is video available, it still may be too graphic to air on television.
Cell phones played a huge part in covering the events of 9/11. People not only used them to call for help but to record video of the tragedy that was happening right in front of them. News managers had to decide the best way to communicate the videos and pictures that were posted online.
A primary question was whether to use only the images that were sent directly to the news outlet or to use whatever you can find on the Internet. However, that would disregard the right of privacy or ownership to the owner of the footage.
People such as politicians and newscasters began wearing U.S. flag pins after the attacks. These pins, which were made to show that the country would stand strong after the attacks, unfortunately, looked at by critics as signs of political support for the policies initiated by President George Bush.