The front pages of newspapers immediately following 9/11 were terse and straightforward: “Our nation saw evil,” said the Detroit Press. “Act of War,” noted the Boston Globe. “Infamy,” said The Washington Times.
As the first few anniversaries of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks passed, news organizations appeared reluctant to air the horrifying footage of aircraft striking the Twin Towers or share unthinkable details of the day itself. Some broadcasters opted to use neutral language, downplaying the visceral effect of the events.
Twenty years have come and gone.
Many New York City neighborhoods still tend their personal memorials to the local heroes who did not make it home that day. The sites of destruction in Manhattan, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, are revered by visitors in hushed silence. And many, many people remember exactly where they were when they first heard news of the attack.
Is the media still reluctant to cover it all? That does not appear to be the case. Many news organizations, in fact, began their commemorative coverage of the 20th anniversary several days ago. Concentrated coverage on all major broadcast and cable news networks begins Friday and will last throughout the day on Saturday. Anchors will report from ground zero, the Pentagon, Shanksville and multiple memorial sites.
Whether the coverage is politicized remains to be seen.
“Is 9/11 a day, or is it an era?” asked the New York Times this week
“The enduring power of the Sept. 11 attacks is clear: An overwhelming share of Americans who are old enough to recall the day remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Yet an ever-growing number of Americans have no personal memory of that day, either because they were too young or not yet born,” noted a Pew Research Center analysis, which revisited its previous surveys of 2001.
“It was an era in which television was still the public’s dominant news source – 90% said they got most of their news about the attacks from television, compared with just 5% who got news online — and the televised images of death and destruction had a powerful impact. Around nine-in-ten Americans (92%) agreed with the statement, ‘I feel sad when watching TV coverage of the terrorist attacks.’ A sizable majority (77%) also found it frightening to watch – but most did so anyway,” the pollster said.
That tendency will likely persist, even after 20 years.
Many will watch the video footage from that day and weep, or feel chilled or angry. Some may see the fleeting footage of the aircraft and the destruction at Ground Zero for the first time. Most will watch anyway, just as the survey found in 2001.
Those who want to watch the coverage of the 9/11 anniversary with a minimum of commentary can turn to C-SPAN. The Defense Department also will offer a live stream of its commemorative events at the Pentagon at 9 a.m. EDT Saturday at Defense.gov.
CONGRESS NEEDS COMBAT VETS
The lawmaking population on Capitol Hill could use some military know-how, some say.
“As we reflect on the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent ending of the Global War on Terror, it is imperative that we as a nation never give in to complacency,” says John Castorani, a Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 7th District.
He enlisted in the Army at 17 and ultimately saw seven combat deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Somalia. He later worked in intelligence.
“This is personal to me, which is why I firmly believe the need for combat veterans in Congress has never been greater. Let us never forget the blood sacrifices that have been made to keep us the freest and most prosperous nation in the world,” Mr. Castorani advises.
Find him at Johncastorani.com.
Currently, there are 76 members in the U.S. House of Representatives who are military veterans, according to the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs.
FOOD PRICES SOAR EVERYWHERE
It is odd and daunting to visit the grocery store and discover that the prices of all those familiar kitchen staples are far greater than they were back in the good old days. To many, that would be during the years former President Trump was in office.
But here is another factor. Prices are up everywhere on the planet.
“According to United Nations data, global food prices increased 31% year over year in July, owing to increased international prices of vegetable oils and sugar,” says a comprehensive new report from TippInsights.
A few particulars: The price of vegetable oils are up by 67% worldwide, sugar is up by 44%, cereals by 30%, meat by 20% and dairy products by 14%.
“Although there is no global shortage of these commodities, many are in the wrong place, being stored on container ships and in ports after the pandemic disrupted the maritime industry,” the report said.
“The cost of moving grain between major markets has more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels. Before the pandemic, the cost of bringing a standard 26.3-ton container from China to Europe cost US $2,500 to $2,800. Now it costs as much as $16,000. The simultaneous rise in food and freight costs is a double whammy for food import-dependent nations,” the report said.
It noted that 2.4 billion people did not have adequate access to food in 2020.
The price tag to reach them: $6 billion, according to United Nations World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley.
COLD SHOULDER IN THE ARCTIC
Partisan politics continues even in the very frozen North.
“In a surprising shakeup, President Biden ousted Trump-appointed Arctic research commissioners,” reports ArcticToday.com, a non-profit news organization.
“The White House has asked for the resignation of four appointees to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The move is unprecedented in the commission’s 37-year history, but is paralleled by similar requests from the Biden administration to members of other federal commissions this year,” the report said.
Jon Harrison, Thomas Emanuel Dans, Julia Nesheiwat and Michael Newton had been appointed by then-President Donald Trump to four-year terms in late 2020. They were recently asked to step down but did not resign — and were “terminated” Friday, according to the report.
This is a first for the commission.
“Critics of the move say the forced resignations set a dangerous precedent for a scientific organization that has previously avoided politicization,” said Arctic Today, which receives its news from sources in Canada, Norway and Iceland.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
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POLL DU JOUR
• 66% of U.S. adults think the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks “changed the U.S. completely”; 69% of Republicans, 65% of independents and 70% of Democrats agree.
• 22% overall think the attacks “changed the U.S. a little”; 23% of Republicans, 26% of independents and 21% of Democrats agree.
• 4% overall think the attack “did not change very much”; 3% of Republicans, 4% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.
• 2% overall think the attacks “did not really change the U.S. at all”; 2% of Republicans, 2% of independents and 3% of Democrats agree.
• 6% overall don’t know; 3% of Republicans, 4% of independents and 3% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 4-7.
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