The events of the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center were tragic to say the least.  For weeks after the incident, news coverage in the press and media spread across the globe covering the supposed terrorist attacks in New York.   Hundreds of people in different countries, and cities were experiencing the terrorist attack differently.  What was even more frightening than the attack it self, was the paranoia of what was to come, and the fear that news outlets across the world portrayed with a common consensus: the idea rooting from the natural human desire for security. Philosopher, Herbert Morris, suggests that in order to maintain structure within a society, society itself must buy essay incentives to comply with the rules, as well as instill punishment for those who chose not to (Persons and Punishment, Morris).  The incentives of society to comply with every day laws lay in the security, and safety, they are promised by the country.  A threat to a citizen’s security, therefore, is a person’s biggest fear.  This simple philosophy is the general concept behind news coverage after the attacks of 9 11.

The media’s method of choice to increase apprehension after the 9 11 attacks is apparent in the press’ framing of security in global news coverage.  This escalating desire for news outlets to watch over the public in times of need is also referred to as “watchdog press”.   Barnett and Reynolds’, “Terrorism and the Press”, describes the coverage’s framing of 9 11 news as a “predominant news frame used by the American mass media for understanding issues of national security, altering perceptions of risks at home and threats abroad” (Terrorism and the Press, 47).  The unbalanced amount of articles, written about the future threats, will promote insecurities and increase the desire for reassured security, by “creating a central organizing idea [for news content] that supplies a context…through the use of selection, emphasis, exclusion, and elaboration” (Terrorism and the Press, 47).   The press used these specific concepts in news coverage during 9 11 to focus its aim on ‘what is yet to come’.  In countries all across the world people were experiencing the chaos and anxiety in what the press would tell them about tomorrow.

Twenty-three year old New Zealand native, Jaron Maynard who was interviewed for this paper, remembers a lot of commotion and angst from the attack.  However, what he remembers most clearly was the reporting, later that evening, on the emphasis of the United States military to retaliate and maintain a sense of security.  “Within hours of hearing about the attack, there were already clips and images on the news about the United States bombing the Middle East”.  Throughout this time, Jaron was able to see the events of 9 11 through two different perspectives: that of the live press, and that of interpersonal communication with friends and family still in the United States.  Within a few hours, Jaron had realized from speaking with friends from the United States that the accusations regarding the bombing were false.  The two different perspectives had given off different images of what was going on in the United States.  However, the only similarity that remained between the two was the fact that it was still not safe to be a person in the United States.

On the other side of the globe, Ireland was creating a similar approach.  Just the day after the terrorist attack, Ireland’s largest newspaper, The Irish Times, headlined their front page in bold, “World in shock as Bush vows terror will not defeat freedom” was accompanied with a caption situated below: “Cork mother and daughter are named first Irish fatalities”.  The shocking headlines appeared with two equally shocking photos of the Twin Towers collapsing.  Just the image and headlines themselves covered the top-half of the front page. This sort of framing can be bolstered by the terrifying photos and headlines, which alerted citizens of Ireland that the people of the United States were not safe.  The article focuses on the lack of security for not only Americans, but also fellow Irishmen in the United States.  Irishman, Scott Evans who was also interviewed for this paper, remembers his neighbors in terrible anxiety over the lack of information they knew about their son’s safety in the United States.  “Everyone had their heads glued to the television screen waiting to hear updates on what the United States military was going to do,” says Evans.  The article continues to reiterate Bush’s focus on regaining security for citizens of the world who are now all threatened by terrorism.  Recall Bush’s famous quote in his address to the nation weeks after the attack, in which he assumes power and responsibility to protect the people: “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make.  Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorist.”  At this point, news and media outlets have their audience waiting for a hopeful sense of newfound security as well as directly targeted into the framing of the article.

Media sources across the globe were successful in creating an atmosphere of chaos, fear, and paranoia for years to come.  Studies today show that since the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001 there has been an “increased coverage of foreign policy and global conflict on the network evening news, but less coverage of domestic issues” (How 9-11 Changed the Evening News).  Issues that were reportedly seen on the news on a normal basis were issues such as space and technology, crime, and drugs.  However, the people have cried for help and the media has decided to answer their prayers.  It is over eight years after the fact, and families continue to wait by the television screen or see a news headline that reads breaking news on the “War on Terrorism”.

Though the security of the American people were seemingly diminished by the simple act of the attacks on the Twin Towers, media and news framing coverage across the globe have made sure that this loss remains existent for time to come. It is the simple thought of philosophers like Herbert Morris, mentioned earlier, who have studied the depths of mankind, which teach us that as long as our well-being is threatened, we are prisoners to those who hold our safety.  For the emotional victims scarred by 9 11, there will not be security until we are promised that this “War on Terrorism” has finally come to an end.

However, what many seem to disregard is the simple truth that as long as the television channels are still turned to evening news, and commuters continue to stop by newsstands on the way to work, there is still hope for the American people.  Recall again on September 21, 2001, the speech President George Bush gave to the American people regarding the events of 9 11.  While addressing the nation, he stated, “I will not forget the wound to our country and those who inflicted it. I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people. The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.”    At this moment it is no longer an assumption, but a fact: there is no security for the American people.  The only promises lay in the larger hands of the media and press controlling the people’s security with every article that promises a hopeful, and secured tomorrow.

Works Cited

Barnett, Brooke and Amy Reynolds. Terrorism and the press an uneasy relationship. New York: P. Lang, 2009. Print.

“ – Transcript of President Bush’s address – September 21, 2001.” – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Web. 04 Feb. 2010. <>.

Evans, Scott. “Ireland and 9 11.” Online interview. 1 Feb. 2010.

“How 9-11 Changed the Evening News: PEJ Analysis | Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).” Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) | Understanding News in the Information Age. Web. 04 Feb. 2010. <>.

Maynard, Jaron. “New Zealand and 9 11.” Online interview. 31 Jan. 2010

Morris, Herbert. “Morris: Persons and Punishment.” The Justification of Punishment. 24-41. Print.

Morris, Herbert. “Morris: Persons and Punishment.” The Justification of Punishment. 24-41. Print.

Smith, Patrick, and Connor O’Cleary. “World in shock as Bush vows terror will not defeat freedom.” Irish Times [Dublin] 12 Sept. 2001. Print.

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