The events of September 11th, 2001 have led to many repercussions in the United States and the entire world at large. This is because it has led to wars and major government change of policies that have been witnessed all over the world. The United States for once initiated the global anti-terrorism policies which were meant to be enforced by all countries in the world. This means that the United apart from being a victim, was also a pioneer in a global anti-terror campaign and this meant that it was investing a lot of resources in the war against terror. The most important aspect this paper wishes to look into is the role of the media in the whole the ordeal that was brought about by the afore mentioned event(Steven).
After terrorists hijacked three airplanes, they proceeded to hit their targets. One of the target and which claimed many lives was the attack on the World Trade Center in New York which claimed more than 3,000 lives. This marked the single attack on American soil to claim so many lives and can be likened to the Japanese attack of Pearl Habor. The post effects were numerous with the most immediate being the cancellation of all flights within the United States with authorities fearing another attack. Most of the New York residents were reported to have post traumatic traumas ranging from stress, insomnia and depression (Laurie).
The media played a major role in brainwashing the citizens and the entire world of the involvement of independent terrorists in the attacks and the idea that no conspiracy was involved in the attacks. In recent times though, there have been a worldwide feeling that the United States administration had prior knowledge of the events of the infamous 9/11. The media created an anti-Islam air by insinuating that the attack was organized by Islam fundamentalists. This is also led to the United States being involved in war against terror on a global basis and actually engaged Afghanistan in a war that brought about a lot of damages and wastage of resources to both countries (Rich).
This paper will focus on how the media was used by the government to help in covering up the events that led to the United States attack on September 11, 2001 and what were the implications. The study will also focus on how the media could have investigated fully instead of leading the viewers and its followers in just looking at one dimension of the whole saga but to consider what would have been the root causes of the attack.
The paper will as a way of example look at various issues the media overlooked in their endeavor to reach to the masses and the implications these issues had to the whole affair. It will also try to assess the involvement of the government in the attacks or how the government helped in the attacks being accomplished on the American soil, be it in ignorance or the government willing the attack to materialize.
Media misrepresentation of the 9/11 events
The media played an important role in the coverage of the 9/11 events. It can be assumed that the only link between the actual events of the day and the masses was the mass media. However, the media left a lot to be desired in their endeavor to cover the stories of that fateful day. It led to the nation going to war with an Islamic country on the basis that it harbored terrorists and also led a lot of people to have negative feelings towards the Islam fundamentalists who were believed to be behind the attack. The media also defected from their ethics by trying to cover up for the government and led many people not to focus on whether the government was involved or whether it could have done anything to prevent the attack. It is not until recent years that we have come to know that the chief architect of the events was known to the American intelligence committee for a number of years and yet they did not act on the issue of him being a national threat (Loraine).
Various scholars have questioned the role played by the media to cover for the government. It is the presumed state of affairs that the media should report what it has investigated and that the freedom of press should not be undermined by the government. However, in this instance, the people have come to believe that the media is now playing a role in ensuring that the government is not held to blame for the events of the September 11 where it is presumed that the government had all the machinery to protect its citizens from such an attack from even occurring in the first place (Don, p. 196).
The media should have covered some events that had been happening and that happened on the day of the attack on some other lights not only on the lights of what the government wanted the people to hear. There were numerous events that have led the people in recent times to consider that the attacks were a government conspiracy that was directed on war against terrorism and some covert benefits that some people in government would accrue from the attacks. However, the media only reported and covered what the government wanted or rather what the government wanted the people and the world to know. It is clear that some of the European countries were strongly against the American war to Afghanistan and this is a clear indication that some experts in those countries were uncertain about certain facts leading to the events. The circumstances under which the attacks were carried out leaves a lot of questions if they could have in some way been prevented from happening in the first place (Metselaar, p. 23).
There was some questions about the role the chief security officials of the country were doing at the time of attack and how well they were up to the challenge. This has led the world to come to a conclusion that there are a lot of things that were kept away from the people and the government used the media as a tool for keeping the information away from the world. In this respect the media misled the world in concentrating on certain aspects of the case and in so doing it did not cover some of the most compromising details, especially the details that would have brought to light government laxity in the day of event and the explanation that officials gave for their departments failure in preventing the attacks from occurring (Frank, p. 182).
The media failed to cover some very important facts about the day. For instance it did not cover that the top people in the administration of the United States who would be responsible for any response in case of a threat to national security being at that time the president George W. Bush, the president chief security advisor Donald Rumsfeld and other significant figures in the security of the United States were not functioning their normal duties during that day and the key decision makers during the attack was the Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials like Norman Mineta and Richard Clarke. The media should have covered these story so that the laxity of the government in terms of security could have been known to the whole world. This would have at least changed the perception of the people that only the Islam Fundamentalists were the only people to blame and possibly could have averted a war that brought many losses to the Afghanistan people and government (Laurie).
The media also failed in highlighting the fact that the United States air defense department failed to deliver after it was learned there were passenger flights that had been diverted from their original destinations. It is clear that the departments that were responsible did not have an immediate answer to that question of why they did not act in time to rectify an issue of national importance and when they did explain, they gave some radical explanations and this have not been officiated because there is a likelihood that some officials were lying. The most discouraging thing about this is that nobody has been held accountable for this grave mistake that cost the lives of at least three thousand people most of them being civilians (David, p. 111).
There was something very amiss in the Pentagon strike. This is one of the most secured building in the world and the fact that the hijackers would manage to hit after one hour and twenty minutes can only be described as a strange phenomena of recent times. Apart from the safety afforded to the establishment, there is an Air Force Base barely ten miles away from the Pentagon, the Andrews Air Force Base. The Air National Guard are also based here and they could have done something to avert the strike to the Pentagon. It is also mysterious that the man who piloted the Boeing had not passed as a Cessna pilot yet he did some maneuvers with the Boeing that enabled him to strike the Pentagon. Had the media covered this story on a perspective that would have led the world to see that there was a bit on conspiracy, then the effect of the event would not have been too radical and would have also averted the war of Afghanistan (Don, p. 125).
The media did not also cover the fact that some departments concerned with the national security of the United States had been involved in rehearsing or we more blatantly planned a response to a similar incident. In their war games which were meant to enhance a response that would be employed in case of a scenario similar to 9/11, the military and other authorities had been involved in rehearsing what response they would take in case a government building had been crashed by a hijacked plane and what response they would take if the city of New York had an emergency of large scale catastrophe. This is what happened with the New York City have a large scale emergency with over 2500 civilians loosing their lives while the Pentagon was hit by a hijacked plane. This shows that the government had prior knowledge of what would befall the country and hence there could be possible connection to conspiracy. However the media neglected this aspect of the attacks and instead focussed on blame games between the government and the Islam Fundamentalists. This changed the world’s view of the attacks and hence blamed the Islam Fundamentalists on the attack and in this respect supported the American war with Afghanistan (Frank, p. 229).
Indications of a foreknowledge of the attacks
Various researchers and research organizations have put forward indications that the government knew of the attacks before they happened. The fact that little or no effort was employed by the government in averting these attacks on American soil leaves a lot of doubt of the government not being involved in the attacks. The United States boasts of having the best intelligence in the world and yet the intelligence community did not have a clue of what was going to happen? Many people have now developed doubts about that. There are various aspects of the attacks can act as an indicator that people in government and government agencies had knowledge of the attacks but they did not do anything about it and that they somehow supported the idea. In the same respect the media is put on the spot because during its investigative journalism it did not bring to light about such indications. It acted as a cover-up of the government in directing the mentality of the people towards the Islam Fundamentalists and the support they were accorded by the Afghanistan government. This fueled a war that has had great implications ranging from destruction to failing governments and a failing economy and this could have been averted if the media had covered the event following their set of ethics which is to report the truth without favoring any side (Don, p. 151).
The government officials can be said to have prior knowledge of the intended attack on the American soil. This is because numerous agencies based abroad had come to the knowledge of the intended attack and had played their part by informing the United States government of the impending attacks. The government was also warned of the attack and how it was intended to be carried out that included, the targets, the operation’s name that was ‘The Big Wedding’ and the names of the people who were suspected to be behind these attacks. Later the people were found out to be actually involved directly with the attack on the American targets. Unofficial reports have also indicated that some prominent people had been forewarned against traveling by air during the week of the attacks. This is a clear indication of a conspiracy because the government could have acted on the warnings from other foreign agencies and prevented the attack. It can also be seen as a conspiracy if there were certain people who had been forewarned against flying during the week of the attacks (David, p. 115).
Another indicator to conspiracy is the fact that men who were believed to be behind the attacks were under surveillance for a number of years before the actual attack. They had been suspected to be terrorists and this had prompted the Criminal Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the United States military to classify them as ‘Able Danger.’ Apart from that other foreign intelligence including Israeli and German intelligence also had information about the perpetrators of the attack and had forewarned the American government of their likelihood to be involved in acts of terror. In fact reports have emerged that two of the ringleaders were under the CIA surveillance but they lived with an FBI asset located in the San Diego (Jim, p. 48).
A series of events were sparked off in the months prior to the day of attack that included FBI officials suppressing investigations of terrorists who were suspected to be within the United States soil. This investigations would have been very instrumental in averting the attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. There were other individuals who gave insights in the ‘Phoenix Memo’ and the 1991 orders of the Bush administration’s order to the investigators of the Osama family to be stopped. There was also the reaction that was afforded the ‘Bojinka’ plot and all these events indicate that there was protection that was given to criminal and terrorists network and there was involvement of high level corruption but not incompetence on the part of the authorities of the United States. The networks that were being protected included the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks (Don, p. 186).
Possible cover-up of the 9/11 attacks
The attacks were unconditionally blamed to the Al Qaeda network of terrorists, the leader of the network be Osama Bin Laden. Questions have since been raised about the involvement of Osama in the 9/11 attacks because he confessed to the attacks in a tape, of which the originality of the video tape raises a lot of questions. There is the possibility that the tape had been a dubious one and that can be made by anybody in the world who has the technical knowhow of making and doctoring video tapes. It is not clear who is responsible for assessing the authenticity of the video tapes that have incriminated the Al Qaeda network in major terrorist activities, purportedly through Osama’s own confession in the numerous tapes. In any case, the Department of State’s translation of the video tape in which Osama is supposed to have confessed seemed to be fraudulent to many experts. Conflicting reports have emerged which can be attributed to the media concerning the whereabouts of Osama on the night of September 10, 2001 as there are reports that he was receiving a dialysis in a Pakistani hospital and this according to CBS media corporation. There are other reports that he had a meeting with an agent of the United States intelligence in Dubai in July the same year according to Le Figaro(David, p.119).
One thing that always baffles the people is that the United States have always managed to let Osama escape on various occasions when his capture was almost inevitable. It also came to light that Al Qaeda (Arab for ‘Data Base’) was used by the CIA in the 1980s to support anti-Soviet Jihad by militias who were based in Afghanistan. It is not however clear when this network ceased to be an asset of the CIA and started waging war on the Americans (Don, p. 178).
The theory of cover-up is also expressed in the fact that the Airplanes black boxes disappeared despite the fact that the first two responders and a NTSB official claim the black boxes’ presence at Ground Zero. There was also the destroying of evidence materials by the United States officials which included recorded audio tapes by air traffic controllers. There was also the sanctioning and intimidation that was subjected to whistle blowers like Anthony Shaffer and Sibel Edmonds and this acted as a clear message from the officials to other people who would have spoken out about the whole weird scenario of the attacks. Later in the events that followed, the officials who failed in their responsibilities were promoted and this is a clear indicator that they could have played a role in the cover-up of the events that led to the attacks (Jim, p. 59).
How the media failed
It is now almost clear that the events of 9/11 would have stopped at the initial stages before it could even have happened. However, it is clear that there are some people who benefited from the events and it would seem only normal for people to cover up their misdeeds in the 9/11 attacks. However, what baffles most of the people is why the media did not cover this cover up attempts which have become so realistic these days considering all the pros and cons of the events that led to the attacks. The media has been relied upon by millions of people to uncover such things and this time it failed the people miserably. If the media was capable of uncovering the Watergate Scandal, how come it was very reluctant in employing its full force in investigating the matter (Frank, p. 236).
However, there are possibilities that the media was compromised by various people inside the government or even their owners. It is not until recently that there were reports that there were a number of people who adversely benefited from the event. This include the moving of the WTO offices to other bases like Chicago and London. This means that the whole affair had been planned and the media could have been warned on which direction to lead viewers worldwide. The media instead of being nonpartisan of such things as corruption actually was involved in the cover up. This shows that when there is big money involved, the government considers that some lives are expendable but the sheer number of the people who lost their lives is unimaginable (Don, p. 196).
The media instead of concentrating on uncovering what went on, took the opportunity to lead the people to other avenues of which the government wanted the people to believe were the main courses of the events of the 9/11. The media efforts were directed in connecting the attacks to Islam Fundamentalists and the Al Qaeda network of terrorists. As the study has shown above, there are many indications that the attack was organized by the government either wholly or in conjunction with other organizations. It has also shown that the government were ignorant of the possibilities of the attack which were so certain to happen unless the government did something. But the media was used by the government to brainwash the people and let them believe that Muslims were behind it. This means that the media also played a great role in subjecting Afghanistan to a war with America and the number of lives lost were in the thousands again(David, p. 125).
The media failed in its endeavors to report to the masses the truth and nothing but the truth. The paper does not mean that the media lied to the people but it was a willing instrument used by the government of the United States to lead the people away from the truth and hence brainwashing the people. In so doing it made the people of Arab origins to be viewed as enemies and even today they are viewed in with suspicion especially when aboard an airplane. This is not what the media is supposed to do. The media should have been more strict on what it was reporting considering that the people have started following the media as a new found religion. The media has failed in its endeavor to report true and accurate information and in so doing have compromised a country off its independence and a stable government (Paul, p. 218).
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