Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
History stops at 9/11 - News media's irresponsible panic

By Rasvar in Op-Ed
Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 05:46:05 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

Ever since the events of September 11, the news media has been so focused on the events of that date. So much so, that it leads to irresponsible and dangerous reporting of rumors and unsubstantiated facts in ways not seen since the Election night 2000 coverage. The anthrax scare is one of their worst moments.


I am going to make a simple statement here that someone can try to refute, but I believe is absolutely true: Terrorists have done nothing in the US since September 11.

With that said, the biggest weapon of terror since September 11 has been irresponsible reporting by almost every media outlet in the United States. Especially in regards to the "Anthrax Attack" in South Florida. Every network has been quick to find "experts" who have tried to tie this to the terrorists in any way possible. All without researching past events. Any avid news watcher in Florida will recall a large amount of Anthrax scares in the state this year, prior to 9/11. There was even a case, I wish I could find the details; but it was a number of months ago, where a man was found with a quantity of anthrax in his home. This man was NOT a middle eastern Muslim. He was your run of the mill white guy. Has the media mentioned any of these events that had been happening prior to 9/11? No, they are too myopic.

Lets also look at the "target." I dare say, you could make a good list of folks who would have a grudge against the tabloids. I really think the terrorists would go for a more 'influential' target. [Although, you could make the argument that attacking the tabloids goes after the most feeble minded among us]

Simply put, the media has been horrible in its coverage of events since 9/11. No confirmation, just a rush to be the first. In doing so, they have become the best weapons the terrorists have in stirring fear among the populace. I recall the scene from "Airplane" where all the passengers line up to slap and calm down an excited passenger. I think we all need to give the news media a big slap to get its act together and calm down.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
The media coverage has been
o excellent 2%
o good 10%
o fair 6%
o overblown 11%
o too much 2%
o irresponsible 13%
o fear mongering 21%
o I can't stand it anymore 33%

Votes: 90
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Rasvar


Display: Sort:
History stops at 9/11 - News media's irresponsible panic | 38 comments (32 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
What about 9 November? (2.71 / 7) (#1)
by AndrewH on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 09:41:26 AM EST

A Unix User Group meeting in a country Jessie Helms wants to declare war on?

Nelson Mandela gave some awards?

Cambridge University prize day?

Unrest in Palestine?

Oxford University Gazette?

Two months of growth for RingSurf?

Research library conference?

Danes preparing to visit Kosovo?

Nato press conference?

Vatican pontificating on family life?


John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr — where are you now that we need you?
Whoa!! Cool!! (2.25 / 4) (#2)
by jabber on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 09:51:24 AM EST

Do you have any lottery numbers for 11/9??

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Whoa!! Cool!! (4.33 / 3) (#3)
by jabber on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 09:51:49 AM EST

Do you have any lottery numbers for 11/9?? Sports scores? Stock tips?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Hehe got me. (3.33 / 3) (#5)
by Rasvar on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 10:12:57 AM EST

Yep, slipped into American standard version of date with 9/11. Should have stuck with September 11.

[ Parent ]
Not to mention my birthday... (none / 0) (#37)
by 3waygeek on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 01:29:33 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Shortage of real information (4.25 / 4) (#4)
by HiQ on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 09:57:46 AM EST

Well, I guess in America the same happens as here in Holland: if you don't receive any real information and you still want to give some press coverage, it's bound to lead to inaccuracies. Last Sunday, when the attacks on Afghanistan started, one of our national channels gave an all night coverage of the events. But after watching for an hour or two, you could see that there was no news, except for the fact that the attacks had started. In a situation like that, everybody starts jumping to conclusions and reporting false facts - it's inevitable.

Depends (2.45 / 11) (#6)
by raaymoose on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 10:18:14 AM EST

On which media you're watching. The tabloid media, (i.e. the US media) has been terrible, in fact, as I often do, I laugh at it with pity and hope that there is another source of information for US citizens. Though I must say the CBC has been reasonable, there's been a few times I've shaken my head at their television coverage, but the radio has been grade A as always. The BBC has been reasonable as always. The Indian media has been a good source of information as well, the Times of India in particlar. If you really want to see a side that's not reported on in the western world, then Pravda is a good place to look, and there's also the out of South Africa. Indymedia has many well researched articles, though I imagine some of the opinion bits may offend some of the right leaners around here.


Good point (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by Rasvar on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:14:24 AM EST

My opinion is based on the US media. I have seen some pretty good coverage from the BBC. However, the US media is only serving to incite fear among a lot of folks in the US becuase they have done such a poor job in the journalistic standpoint.

[ Parent ]
not neccesarily the mdeia's fault (3.20 / 5) (#7)
by doogz on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 10:28:53 AM EST

It is mainly the media's concern to post news, not history. Your post brings up great points, such as the networks trying to find experts to somehow tie the anthrax in with the September 11th terrorist attacks. The fact is, the American public takes what it sees as absolutely literal, when it should be viewed with prior facts somewhere in our minds. Personal research does a lot more for me than any of the networks' coverage ever will. By understanding what has happened before, you get a more accurate picture of what could be, or possibly is happening.The media groups reporting neither have the time nor the resources to include all past stories and scares in the news and to explain them in enough length so that the American public can interpret them accurately. The media is a great way to get information if you can filter out speculation from fact.

They do have time. (4.25 / 4) (#10)
by Rasvar on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:12:00 AM EST

They are devoting hours upon hours of coverage rehashing the same events over and over. Where responsible journalisim starts is in its reporting in making sure they have their facts correct and they have done the proper research. They are simply being sloppy and doing a lousy job.

The fact is, the American public takes what it sees as absolutely literal, when it should be viewed with prior facts somewhere in our minds.

This is a major part of my argument in the media creating the fear. The majority of americans do not take the time to research or recall old news items. They will take what is said in the media and react as if it is true. It is how they have been conditioned, right or wrong. Becuase of this, the media has a responsibilty to properly report the facts and not incite the fear that they have been. There is NEVER an excuse for poor journalisim, especially at times like this.

[ Parent ]
the public (none / 0) (#19)
by Refrag on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 02:28:43 PM EST

The public does not take what the media reports as true. However, this is how the media projects their information, and how they feel you should treat it.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

mistaken (2.83 / 6) (#8)
by alprazolam on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 10:29:15 AM EST

Simply put, the media has been horrible in its coverage of events since 9/11. No confirmation, just a rush to be the first.

Typical assumption. Incorrect though. The media has an agenda. Remember that when you are disturbed by what it reports. If the details don't fit, ask why.

And what proof do you offer? (4.33 / 3) (#9)
by Rasvar on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:05:16 AM EST

The media does have an agenda, its called ratings. Ratings means being first. I will say that I watch Fox News a lot. They have been one of the worst about reporting items incorrectly before confirmation has occured. By incorrectly, I am talking about things like saying a third case of anthrax was found in Virginia. I did see how they reported it initially. There are certian things respectable journalist must do. They should have reported it as a 'possible case of anthrax.' They were and have been sloppy in how they worded it. Yes it is semantics; but it is my point that they are not doing their job. Its not isolated to this event. Anytime big news happens, they stumble over each other to be first. Unfortunately, the fastest news is not always the correct news. History repeats itself.

[ Parent ]
Well, there's your problem... (none / 0) (#24)
by mech9t8 on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 12:38:31 AM EST

I will say that I watch Fox News a lot.

Fox News is the worst news outlet, period. Sensationalistic, bigoted, with the most rabidly right-wing and fame-seeking "experts." Of course they're going to have horrible coverage - they aim for the lowest common denominator.

If your going to criticize television journalism, at least criticize something reputable like Reuters or CNN or the Big Three networks. Criticizing Fox News is like criticizing the supermarket tabloids.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Media agenda (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by myschae on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 07:35:55 PM EST

I agree with you. The media has been given a job to do - prepare the American public for the govermental agenda.

I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, just that the media is being spoon fed information from the government while being coached about the correct stance and tone they should use to present that information.

For example, Bush just asked that networks be careful about broadcasting any new videos from al Qaeda in the future in case he is giving out hidden signals. Now we have press coverage on press coverage, ie. "We would love to tell you about "<insert topic here>" but we're afraid that the information might harm you or others."

It's a very sophisticated marketing campaign designed to keep reminding the American people exactly why we're over there without actually telling them what we're doing. The current administration (say what you will about it) realizes that by acting cooperative with the press and promising them all kinds of access to things that really aren't militarily important, they can keep the most powerful marketing tool in the country on their side.

Kinda makes you proud, doesn't it?

[ Parent ]
What exactly would you have them show? (none / 0) (#25)
by mech9t8 on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 12:53:20 AM EST

On major network coverage, I've seen... - bin Laden's taped messages - experts pointing out that the humanitarian relief efforts are possibly just "a drop in the bucket" and "propaganda" - debates on the civil liberties that may be lost with the new legislation - coverage of the anthrax investigation that emphasized that it wasn't a criminal investigation; experts talking about how it could be natural or could be artificial - coverage from the bin Laden-sympathetic Oman TV network, including Taliban-provided footage of the bombing damage And, of course, lots of complaints whenever the Bush administration limits information, or says people should "watch what they say." And there are reporters reporting from various remote locations. Granted, they aren't reporting live from bin Laden's secret hidey-hole, and they aren't accompanying Special Forces units on their missions. But, surely you can see there's a bit of logic to not telling the world "we know he's here, and we're going to attack him tomorrow night at 1700 hours"? So, I'm curious, what exactly should the TV networks be showing us that they're not? If you were running a TV network, what would be doing to foil the government's nefarious plans? I mean, they're not doing a perfect job, but it's a difficult situation, and they seem to me to be showing a fairly balanced approach to a situation that lends itself to being unbalanced.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]
What exactly would you have them show? (none / 0) (#26)
by mech9t8 on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 12:53:41 AM EST

On major network coverage, I've seen...
- bin Laden's taped messages
- experts pointing out that the humanitarian relief efforts are possibly just "a drop in the bucket" and "propaganda"
- debates on the civil liberties that may be lost with the new legislation
- coverage of the anthrax investigation that emphasized that it wasn't a criminal investigation; experts talking about how it could be natural or could be artificial
- coverage from the bin Laden-sympathetic Oman TV network, including Taliban-provided footage of the bombing damage

And, of course, lots of complaints whenever the Bush administration limits information, or says people should "watch what they say."

And there are reporters reporting from various remote locations. Granted, they aren't reporting live from bin Laden's secret hidey-hole, and they aren't accompanying Special Forces units on their missions. But, surely you can see there's a bit of logic to not telling the world "we know he's here, and we're going to attack him tomorrow night at 1700 hours"?

So, I'm curious, what exactly should the TV networks be showing us that they're not? If you were running a TV network, what would be doing to foil the government's nefarious plans?

I mean, they're not doing a perfect job, but it's a difficult situation, and they seem to me to be showing a fairly balanced approach to a situation that lends itself to being unbalanced.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]
Perhaps you misunderstood my tone... (none / 0) (#32)
by myschae on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 11:04:25 AM EST

I'm not disagreeing with what the press is doing. I believe I said that it's not necessarily a bad thing. It would be a huge tactical error on our parts to reveal our military strategy on the open media (obviously). And, since we've committed troops to this endeavor it is vital that we bolster support for our military personnel. Both to maintain their morale and to prevent the tragic results our nations disapproval had on the veterans of Vietnam.

Frankly, I wasn't much of a Bush supporter but I do have to admit that I feel his administration is at least doing this part right. He has done a lot to earn my respect over the last month.

Through his media campaign and coalition building strategy, he is ensuring that Congress remains inclined towards bipartisan cooperation to approve policies that we need quickly. I was watching press coverage last night about how the federalisation of airport baggage checkers was stalled by a small group of Republicans and the report was quite obviously slanted towards putting pressure on that group of Republicans to fall with the fold.

I was merely musing that this was an incredibly skillful marketing campaign designed to keep the American public satisfied with the governmental actions without releasing a lot of information. Nothing more, nothing less. And, it seems to be working since I haven't seen a poll yet where the majority of the nation was not both aware (and supportive) of why we're involved in bombing Afghanistan and why.

Another thing Bush has done right (IMHO, of course) is use the media as a means to head off a rash of racial violence as a backlash to the attacks. We've seen a few, but I don't think we've seen as many as we would have if he hadn't been very quick to decry such actions and make very clear distinctions between the extremists who were responsible and peaceful practitioners of Islam. And, he's done a lot to enlist the sympathy of the American people for the plight of the Afgahn civilians in the country.

I don't think its possible for our nations television to be truly balanced in their reporting. It's not a critisim, it's just that it's the United States media, they are allowed not to be objective about their country.

So, if I were in charge of a major news network? Well, I'd cut out all those annoying commercials *grin*. And, I might not have shown all those disturbing pictures of people leaping from the buildings and screaming as they fell quite as often (thank goodness those are gone). Other than that, it's a big thumbs up.

Oh, and after reviewing my answer let me just clarify this one point: Earlier I said I was largly satisfied with Bush's actions in this matter. I am sad that we are involved in this conflict, but I support our President's decision. It was a hard one to make, and he looks as though the stress of the past month has aged him. I wish we could have found a way which did not risk starting World War III and the potiential use of some very nasty weapons. But I can't think of a better way, either.



[ Parent ]
Tabloid headlines (4.00 / 4) (#12)
by dbc001 on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:14:58 AM EST

I really want to see the Tabloid headlines about these Anthrax stories - will they sensationalize it or make it about aliens? What will the competing tabloids say about it?

You won't (none / 0) (#20)
by Sikpup on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 03:25:13 PM EST

...Because the victim was a tabloid employee. Apparently the Sun and National Enquirer operated out of the building where this occurred. As such neither "paper" will comment on the incident nor provide coverage of it.

Its looking like someone has used the 9-11 incidents to cover a revenge attack against the vermin at the tabloids. Not like they have ever made any enemies. (gee, you can't tell what I think of them can you?)



[ Parent ]
Competing tabloids? (none / 0) (#22)
by SlydeRule on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 05:18:05 PM EST

American Media, whose employees are the ones involved in the anthrax hoo-hah, own:
  • The National Enquirer
  • The National Examiner
  • The Weekly World News
  • The Globe
  • The Star
  • The Sun
That covers just about 100% of the US supermarket tabloids.

[ Parent ]
What's the complaint? (4.50 / 12) (#14)
by dennis on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 12:03:20 PM EST

The guy who died had the first case of inhalation anthrax (the kind used for weapons) in 25 years. Then his coworker got it. The building is close to the airfield where the terrorists trained. Now the FBI says it's not a naturally-occuring strain. And that same story still says there's no relation to the terrorism.

And this is sensationalist, how?

Bill and Ted's Terrorist Adventure! (4.50 / 20) (#17)
by Neuromancer on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 12:58:28 PM EST

Bill: Whoa, what's in the the crates Ted?
Ted: Whoa, it says Anthrax!

ANTHRAX!! EXCELLENT! *Air Guitaring*
Bill: This looks like it's full of potato chip bags!
Ted: Whoa? Anthrax potato chips?Bill: Look, it's a picture of that bin Laden guy who isn't really a terrorist, or at least that's what people keep posting about...
Ted: Yes, but hasn't Brokaw been on the air for coming up on 7200 hours broadcasting about those dickweeds who crashed planes into our favorite New York landmark?
Bill: Yeah, but you know the media.
Ted: Yeah... Whoa??

Phone Booth crashes into port-o-let
RUFUS!!

Rufus: Greetings my excellent friends, would you care to take yet another adventure back in time?

Bill: Where to Rufus?

Rufus: About 10 years ago, a most heinous dickweed was hatching plans to overthrow western civilization. We like to belittle their view through the use of the term "The Great Satan," which is a badly translated version of what they like to call us.

Ted: Whoa!! Cultural boundaries colliding in my head!

Bill: So, what are you saying Rufus?

Rufus: Well, we're going to go back and have us a nice barbecue. You see, Anthrax... yes yes, the band, is named after a cattle disease, which is on those chips that... uhh, you didn't eat the chips did you?

Bill: *shoves bag in pocket* uhh, no rufus

Ted: well, maybe just one

Rufus: Come on boys, we're going to the future, where everyone wheres Clothing By Nerf *tm*, to cure you, and then we'll go have us a barbecue

EXCELLENT! *Air Guitaring*

ROTFLMAO (4.00 / 3) (#18)
by Ialdabaoth on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 01:18:37 PM EST

Thanks for making my day, Neuromancer. After last night, I needed this.
*******
"Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

--paraphrase of Aleister Crowley
[ Parent ]

Excellent! (5.00 / 2) (#21)
by HereticMessiah on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 04:07:26 PM EST

*Air Guitar*

That was brilliant - 5!

--
Disagree with me? Post a reply.
Think my post's poor or trolling? Rate me down.
[ Parent ]
You sir... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by NovaHeat on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 07:07:06 PM EST

are a fucking genius. I laughed my ass off! Good job :)

-----

Rose clouds of flies.
[ Parent ]

Absolute crap (4.80 / 5) (#27)
by DarkZero on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 06:47:45 AM EST

There were roughly eighteen cases of anthrax in America during the 20th century. Now, less than a month after a major terrorist attack on the United States, three people have contracted anthrax just a few miles from where the terrorists trained for the plane attack. The FBI has identified it as a strain that does not occur in nature. To make things more suspicious, this comes just a short while after one of the company's tabloids ran a story theorizing that Usama bin Laden attacked the US because of his small penis size. And yet, the media still says that there is no reason to believe it's a terrorist attack. The media has handled this surprisingly well. You're just haplessly groping for a way to insult them.

Oooo, the small penis theory. (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by Rasvar on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 07:00:04 AM EST

Yeah, that makes them one of Bin Ladens biggest targets. Give me a break. Even most of the media is now coming around to the common sense though that this is probably not related to the terroists. I never said it wasn't a criminal action. There are tons of kooks out there and Anthrax is easy to get. I do not think this is a terroist incident. I have never said that it absolutley was not a terroist attack. Where the media was being irresponsible was placing people on the air saying it was a terrorist attack with no findings to back it up. That is fear mongering. That is irreresponsible journalisim.

[ Parent ]
Weaponized anthrax (none / 0) (#38)
by dennis on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:29:53 PM EST

Yeah, is this article falling behind the times...today's news, the anthrax mailed to Tom Daschle was a weaponized version...ie., a high concentration of anthrax particles, ground to just the right size, and coated with something to keep them from clumping together. The earlier batches were fairly crude, this one had to have been made either by a state with a serious biowar program, or by a rogue scientist from one of those states. Let's hope it's the latter, and they can only make small batches.

The difference between what's happening now and the previous scares is that what we had before were scares only, not real attacks. If it's the same case I saw, the "anthrax" found in that guy's home turned out to be anthrax serum, not dangerous at all.

What's worrying me now is that the letter to Daschle may have been a warning: "Look what we've got."

[ Parent ]

Irresponsible Journalism (none / 0) (#33)
by starbreeze on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 02:01:46 PM EST

We were just having a discussion about the irresponsibility and overblowness of the media with regard to the WTC attacks on the Yahoo Weblogger user group. We were discussing how informative the weblogs were during the past month and how much quicker they were at getting the news at, and giving real accounts of what happened.

~~~~~~~~~
"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor

America news is evil!!!!! (2.12 / 16) (#34)
by Aswer al Kilyuall on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:16:13 PM EST

They say evil things!!!!! They say we send you anthrax!!!! I hae three goats but I do not send anthrax. And even if I do it is your fault!!!!

America news tell bad bad evil lies!!!! They say we destroy World Trade Cinder!!!!! How unbeleevabel!!!! That thing is so big, how can destroy!!!! They show picshurs with it falling down!!!!! They are fake pichsurs!!!!! Nobody destroy World Trade Cinder!!!! Those big liers!!! They even say they put a man on the moon!!!! Ha ha ha!!!!!
Welcome to my .sig!!! I kill you!!!!

I wish American news would report my plight. (1.00 / 12) (#35)
by Kumbaya Lumbago on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 12:41:47 AM EST

My people do not have enough food and our enemies are eating us, so we have to eat our enemies. America is so greedy. They should send us more food. Also they should kill our enemies. They kill other peoples' enemies for them. Why can't they kill ours? I do not think this is too much to ask.
America does not give us enough food and medical aid. And they don't save my people from our enemies often enough. America should be more responsible.
[ Parent ]
History stops at 9/11 - News media's irresponsible panic | 38 comments (32 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!