Monday, September 11, 2017 at 7:23 AM

Commemorating 9/11 as Diversion from (Media Coverage of) Hurricane Irma

Posted by Anthony L. Hall


I applaud NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for decreeing this week that, henceforth, the area where the twin towers were destroyed shall no longer be called ‘Ground Zero.’ Instead, it shall revert to its original name, The World Trade Center.

But I urge him to decree also that, henceforth, the city shall no longer mark this day, every year, by wallowing in the plainly contrived ceremony of tolling bells and reading all names of those who perished.

Not to mention the untenable emotional conflict this imposes on kids – many of whom were either very young or still in their mother’s womb on 9/11. Imagine being cajoled every year into expressing public grief for a parent you never even knew without feeling as though you’re betraying the love you’ve developed for the person your surviving parent married. …

Families directly affected should be left alone to grieve in their own way. But I suspect many of them moved on with their lives long ago and will feel no need to do so.

This 10th anniversary seems a good time for the rest of the country to move on too.

(“Time to Move On,” The iPINIONS Journal, September 11, 2011)

Frankly, nothing vindicates my title quite like Walmart commemorating this funereal day by promoting sales of soft drinks; you know, the way Chrysler commemorates Presidents’ Day by promoting sales of Ram trucks.


All the same, I won’t mind the affected pathos and crass commercialism so much today. Because only commemorating 9/11 stands any chance of diverting the media from their exploitative, wall-to-wall coverage of Hurricane Irma. And this, while they’re giving short shrift to other stories that warrant far more coverage. Exhibit A: the unfolding genocide in Myanmar, which militant Buddhists (oxymoron noted) are perpetrating against Rohingya Muslims.

Unfortunately, if early morning news programs are any indication, I’m going to be disappointed. Indeed, if I didn’t know better, I’d never know the media have provided wall-to-wall coverage of 9/11 remembrances every year since that tragic event.

But, evidently, the ratings boon from covering Irma remains so profitable that networks will be loath to interrupt even for complete coverage of the ritualistic tolling of bells and reading of nearly 3000 names. This, of course, compels me to damn the perverse interest of the rubberneckers who stay glued to the media’s contrived and repetitive coverage; after all, these idiots are the ones who are generating those ratings.

Mind you, the media’s Irma coverage amounts to little more than stunts featuring reporters “braving” the elements to report the obvious; namely that this hurricane is leaving a trail of all too predictable destruction in her wake – complete with storm surges causing Harvey-like floods. Never mind the palpable tone of disappointment when conditions in some places force them to report that Irma was not nearly as catastrophic as they hyped.

I actually watched the self-indulgent spectacle of a news anchor hailing a field reporter like a war hero for pulling off this now standard journalistic stunt. But it’s only a matter of time before flying debris decapitates one of these misguided poseurs. Then everyone will exclaim “what the hell were they standing outside in the midst of a hurricane for anyway!”

And, yes, I’ve been warning about this for years to no avail … in either respect.

Let’s hope Katrina’s winds are strong enough to finally blow away one of those wannabe Dan Rathers who seem to think that it’s necessary (and heroic) to go out in the hurricane to report the obvious whilst holding on to a pole for dear life….

(“Katrina’s Doming, Katrina’s Coming,” The iPINIONS Journal, August 29, 2005)

I shall spare you my similar rant about the absurdity of politicians seizing upon hurricanes and other disasters to play military field marshals on TV.

Related commentaries:
9/11 time to move on
Rohingya Muslims
Katrina’s coming, Katrina’s coming
Hurricane Harvey

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