“This just in…we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.” (CNN, 2001)  This is a part of CNN’s coverage on the attacks on September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center.  Throughout the whole day, each station with its own news segment stopped their scheduled programming.  The nation watched the video of the planes hitting the two towers shown every other half hour.  The topic being analyzed is one that did not cross the minds of many at the time.  How is the rest of the world seeing this disaster?  By discussing many sources of news that covered the event, we will see how the U.S. and the rest of the world reacted to the attack on September 11.

CNN is one of the major cable news networks and one of the many networks to have live coverage of the event.  The emotion from the reporters can be noticed with their choice of language.  With words like devastating being used, it was clear that there were feelings of shock and freight in that newsroom.  In the “Breaking News” CNN video, people can be heard talking and moving around frantically behind the cameras.  The interview with the CNN producer, Sean Murtagh, was interesting.  The female anchor was questioning the man thoroughly trying to get the facts straight.  The reporters were trying to rule out the theory that the plane crash was a horrible mistake and possibly a malfunction with the plane.  After 5 minutes the network switched to one of its affiliates.  During an interview with an eyewitness, the anchor put the eyewitness on hold because he was beginning to panic.  “I just don’t want to panic here on the air.” If the anchor were to begin to panic, is that unprofessional or would it cause even more panic in the viewers?  It seems emotion began overwhelming the American media but the complete opposite was happening at the British Broadcasting Corporation across the Atlantic Ocean.

BBC World was also reporting live in London.  The reporting seems completely different as the anchor (her name is not given) seems to be more concerned about performing well on live television.  She pauses and mixes her words even though she says the same things repeatedly.  After a few minutes, the anchor and the eyewitness are a lot more concerned with the emergency procedures that are taking place.  “By the look of the damage… they will have great difficulty getting in range of that fire.” (BBC, 2001)  The domestic and foreign news outlets are focusing on completely different areas.  CNN is focusing on what caused the holes in the towers and BBC is focusing more on how the people that are trapped are getting help.  The American media should not be judged too harshly but the BBC seems to be the more caring network.

Newspapers are at a disadvantage because they must wait until the next day to report on the events.  The New York Times is filled with articles such as “A Day of Terror” and “A Different World”.  Every article seems to be focusing on how the United States and, to a lesser extent, the world will never be the same.  “More even than the television images, it brought home the pain, and the terror.” (Lewis, 2001)  Anthony Lewis is talking about an interview with the friend of a man who was one of the 2,995 deaths that day.  He describes the man calling his wife to express his love to her in his final moments.  Terror, terrorist, and terrorism were used in Lewis’ article approximately 8 times.  A call to other nations for a united front against terrorism is brought up and the vengeance of America seems to be the underlying theme in this article.

The Wall Street Journal Europe seems to be vacant of any articles about the attacks except one article.  “Global political instability has markedly increased. The attacks are so vicious that they will almost certainly demand retaliation, a move that would further ratchet up instability.” (Dixon, 2001)  This periodical is known for dealing with business matters only which seem to explain the absence of articles.  However, this attack would certainly seem to affect the economic and financial world.  The following day, however, there are a plethora of articles discussing the attack.  It seems rather interesting to report more on the second day rather than the day after.  It could possibly be timing differences but it seems unlikely.

The domestic version of the Wall Street Journal is completely filled with reports on the attacks. From the looks of it, every single article has to do with the tragedy the day before with the exception of a few.  “The Pentagon put U.S. forces on highest alert as it scrambled fighter jets and dispatched ships to protect U.S. citizens at home and to protect troops abroad.”  This has absolutely nothing to do with business.  This shows just how great an effect the attacks had on the domestic media.  Business is set aside and national matters are given the priority.  Perhaps, the decisions chosen in the following weeks would affect the stock market.  Whatever the justification, the United States will never be the same as it was before September 11, 2001.

Altynai is my pen pal and her description of that day is that all the local news networks were replaying the same video of the towers being hit by the planes and collapsing.  She says “there was a very good and balanced coverage of the event” from the “Russian infotainment channel.”  (Peronsal Communication, 1 Feb. 2010)  As Russian media dominates her city of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, she recalls they were saying the effects would change the world forever.  Yet, she says in her country and part of the world, the effects have diminished and has not affected Central Asia as predicted.

On September 11, 2001, I woke to my sister’s voice saying that there was an attack.  I turned the T.V. on to see the same videos the world saw.  At the time, as my pen pal felt too, I did not see how devastating the attacks were.  My friends were joking about planes coming to Phoenix as well.  Brooke Barnett & Amy Reynolds describe the week as “five days of commercial-free live breaking news… screen time valued in the millions.” (p.1, 2009)  In the terrorist’s view point, that is an enormous victory.


Barnett, B., & Reynolds, A. (2009). Terrorism & the Press. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Dixon, H. (2001, September 12). breakingviews: Seismic U.S. Attack Shakes the Globe — Vicious Terrorism Demands Retaliation, and Increases Instability. Wall Street Journal Europe, p. 15

Jaffe,G., & Kulish, N. (2001, September 12). A Day of Terror: U.S. Forces Put on Highest Alert, As Retaliation Stays Unanswered. Wall Street Journal, p. A15

Lewis, A. (2001, September 12). Abroad At Home: A Different World. New York Times, p. A27

“Breaking News: Plane Crashes Into WTC.” CNN Live. WABC, CNN,  Atlanta. 11 Sept. 2001 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfYQAPhjwzA, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI8uUJNc1F8&feature=related

“Breaking News: Plane has crashed into WTC in New York.” BBC World. BBC, London, England. 11 Sept. 2001 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys3h3uCKSPc

A. Amati, personal communication, 1 Feb. 2010