The New York Times runs a business story this morning about television news coverage of the 9/11 anniversary. The assessment of those interviewed is that “the coverage…threatens to mix reverence and solemnity with one-upmanship.” I think that’s understated. Cooperation among the various networks died shortly after 9/11. Today, they are fighting to secure exclusive interviews with officials, participants, and the family members of victims. This paragraph his telling:
“With the first anniversary of the national trauma little more than three weeks away, news organizations are gearing up. Newspapers and news magazines are planning special sections or series. But it is broadcast journalists, whose medium demands immediacy, who may be feeling most competitive for access to the people they believe can help recapture the collective memory of last year’s horror.”
Help recapture the collective memory of last year’s horror? Do you know anyone who’s forgotten it or can forget it?
It is certain nothing new will be revealed. Instead, we’ll be assaulted with a rehash of horrific images and stories. To what end? I think a more fitting way to remember the day is spending it with family and friends, sharing our own stories with each other, and avoiding the television.
The medium of television, and the people who create it, are not capable of producing anything that approaches reverence and solemnity. Turn off your TV this September 11th. Refuse to participate.