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Transcript of 9/11 Propaganda
What happened on 9/11?
Linda Kelly Alkana of California State University administered a questionnaire to 21 different history classes for nine years (late 2001-early 2011) asking students what happened on 9/11.
The questionnaire asked:
1) What happened?
2) Who or what is responsible?
3) How do we know what happened?
4) What consequences will arise?
December 10, 2014
The aftermath of 9/11
The contested meaning of 9/11
9/11 sent shock waves around the world
Reactions were a mixture of emotions and rage
The media had the challenging task to help people understand the events and had an important role to help provide wide perspectives and understandings of the aftermath of the attacks.
"Immediately after the ghastly attacks, the act of terrorism was declared by George Bush and others as 'war' as opposed to a mass crime against humanity."
9/11 taught in schools...
2001 vs. 2011
The framing theory is used to examine how Islam and Muslims were covered by news media on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Since 9/11, the media has connected Islam with violence and values that are harmful to the U.S.
The "war on terrorism" language was used a lot in media coverage of Muslims.
In American newspapers, the terms "patriotic", "heroic", "tolerant" and "generous" were frequently used to describe America, while on the other hand, the terms "cowardly", "vicious", "jealous" and "extremist" described everyone else.
Immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, all films, projects and movies of mass destruction were canceled, altered or postponed.
Also, during the first few months after 9/11, action flicks such as
started to become three times more popular to rent, because the real-life terrorism had to be compensated for in the scope of entertainment.
Other films with pure escapism and monumental struggles between the forces of light and darkness became popular in the years after 9/11.
Some examples were
The Chronicles of Narnia
because they engaged the audience with notions of war, leadership, dangers of power, heroism and personal sacrifice.
"Filmmakers play a key role in the creation of 'history' as the past is imagined, imitated and envisioned on screen."
Narrative films of historic events offer guidance and understanding to the public and explain these times of crisis in black-and-white terms.
They also channel emotions and aggressions against the enemy which gives meaning to the suffering behind these crises.
Films about the 9/11 terrorist attacks did not emerge until 2005-06.
The two major films,
World Trade Center
, addressed the event, its background and the aftermath from the perspectives of politicians, victims and relatives.
was the first big-screen film on 9/11, it became the focal point for discussions regarding the terrorist attacks.
The story of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 was already known to the American public, so the film
had to be careful in revealing new information (no surprise characters or no Hollywood heroes).
"A major motion picture about the real violence of a real event that took the lives of real people created an occasion to consider how film, public memory, and social values interact in post-9/11 America."
There was a lot of coverage on
such as the film's contribution to America's larger understanding of themselves since 9/11 took place.
Alkana, L. K. (2011). What Happened on 9/11? Nine Years of Polling College Undergraduates: "It was always just a fact that it happened.". History Teacher, 44(4), 601-612.
Jordan, J. W. (2008). Transcending Hollywood: The Referendum on United 93 as Cinematic Memorial. Critical Studies In Media Communication, 25(2), 196-223. doi:10.1080/15295030802032267
Lewis, B. (2011, September 11). Still Falling [9/11]. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2776696/posts
O'Brien, J. (2011). The Contested Meaning of 9/11. Radical History Review, (111), 5. doi:10.1215/01636545-1268668
PowerinNumbers2012 (2011, Sept. 8). 9/11 Propaganda Taught in Schools. [Video file]. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRpJDNlcvEc
Rane, H. J. (2012). The Framing of Islam and Muslims in the Tenth Anniversary Coverage of 9/11: Implications for Reconciliation and Moving On. Journal Of Muslim Minority Affairs, 32(3), 310-322.
Riegler, T. (2011). 9/11 on the Screen. Radical History Review, (111), 155-165. doi:10.1215/01636545-1268767
Riegler, T. (2014). "MIRRORING TERROR": THE IMPACT OF 9/11 ON HOLLYWOOD CINEMA. Imaginations Journal, 5(2), 103-119.
Shah, A. (2006, September 9). Media, Propaganda and September 11. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www.globalissues.org/article/401/media-propaganda-and-september-11
Waterson, R. M. (2011). 9/11: Maintaining Relevance for the Classroom Student. Social Studies, 102(4), 167-172.
For example, in the aftermath of 9/11, as the U.S.-led retaliation was building up, various news media were reporting the “propaganda battle” on both sides.
Osama bin Laden's propaganda incited hated, convinced the Muslim world of his views and gave his perspectives to the West.
On the other hand, the United State's propaganda attempted to retaliate and correct bin Laden's propaganda. This was misleading to the public because bin Laden's propaganda was indeed filled with hatred, etc.
While these attacks may be described as act of terrorism or an act of war, politically, this has significant ramifications because the means of retaliation have the possibility of being changed.
Also, since this is war then Article 51 of the United Nations Charter of the right to self-defense can possibly be invoked.
International Crime Or Act Of War?
All sides can have propaganda...
Both sides use different form of propaganda to gain support from the masses.
Osama bin Laden's propaganda can be seen as white because it was stated exactly as it was: hatred.
Oppositely, the U.S.'s propaganda can be seen as black since it was misleading to the public, but it comes across as believable, and there is reasoning behind it.
This propaganda used by the U.S. can be seen as "glittering generality" because the 9/11 attacks are being given a specific name without examining the evidence.
This is also appropriate because the U.S. titled 9/11 without thinking of the consequences that may take place within the public.
September 13, 2001
Many of students explained what happened on 9/11 in terms of planes, buildings and loss of life.
They were vague about the "terrorists" who were behind the attacks.
A quarter of them mentioned al-Qaeda.
In conclusion, the students shared a common understanding of what happened on 9/11.
February 12, 2002
This survey was given five months after the 9/11 attacks
The students did not define the attacks with planes or buildings, but more of what came out of the attacks: the deaths and the surge in American pride and patriotism.
Several of them viewed 9/11 as a wake-up call for America to be more prepared or emerge from their bubble of ignorance.
February 31, 2011 and
May 10, 2011
The questionnaire conducted in February was before Osama bin Laden's death.
The questionnaire done in May was given right after bin Laden's death.
Only two-thirds of the students from the February questionnaire linked Al-Qaeda to 9/11 while nearly 80 percent of the students from the May questionnaire did link Al-Qaeda to 9/11.
Some students did not even link the events of 9/11 to bin Laden's death and still described 9/11 as whatever their parents told them as an 8-year-old.
However, the majority of the students still understood who bin Laden was and why he was killed by the U.S.
It also seemed evident that several of the students got their information from the news since they were too young to witness the actual sequence of events.
The responses from the 2001 questionnaire showed a lot of shock because the students watched the news and only saw the direct images of the attacks. As college students, they didn't take the time to examine the information behind the attacks, but instead, used the "name-calling" propaganda device.
The responses from the 2002 questionnaire differed because the students portrayed a lot more passion towards the subject. They were more familiar with the events surrounding 9/11.
The form of propaganda used by the students from the 2011 questionnaire can be seen as "testimonial" because they relied heavily on the information given them to through the news or their parents.
Those students also used current events, such as bin Laden's death, to define the 9/11 attacks.
Maintaining relevance in the classroom
Robert Watson and Matthew Rickey were colleagues.
Rickey has been teaching lessons about 9/11, and Watson spent time interviewing and discussing why Rickey chose to teach about 9/11 throughout the years.
The main purpose of teaching 9/11 in the classroom is to enlighten students of what is taking place outside of the U.S. and helping to better the U.S. as a whole.
Rickey has taught about 9/11 since the attacks took place, and today, his focused has changed.
Now, he focuses on discussing the attacks from the framework of how Americans overcome adversity (military, volunteerism, fundraisers, concerts, memorials, etc)
He expresses how the U.S. is one, big family who has overcome the tragedy of 9/11 together and how he wants his students to feel the same after teaching about 9/11.
This form of propaganda is white because the source is clearly stated as Matthew Rickey, and he clearly gave his reasoning for why he taught 9/11 the way he did.
He is telling his students what to think of 9/11 and how to deal with 9/11 even after several years have passed.
This propaganda can also be seen as "testimonial" because the students in Rickey's classroom are getting their information on 9/11 from him and believing what he says about the tragedy.
Immediately after the attacks, the George W. Bush administration gave 9/11 a theme that stuck to the American public.
"The attacks constituted an out-of-the-blue declaration of war against an unsuspecting and entirely innocent victim, namely, the United States."
The night of the attacks, Bush promised America a "war against terrorism."
This immediate description of the 9/11 attacks became embedded in the public mind by possessing an explanatory power.
Post-9/11 media coverage
"Framing theory recognizes the important role of news frames in alerting audiences to certain explanations and courses of actions at the expense of others."
"In this sense, frames can be seen as having a considerable influence on the way in which audiences respond to issues and events."
The American newspapers who were describing themselves and everyone else is an example of news framing, because it is influencing the public to think and react in a certain way.
The framing theory is also effective here because the media strongly informs the public of these certain explanations about Islams and Muslims.
9/11 media coverage in Australia
Australian news media had a lot of coverage on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The dominant frame across all channels on September 11, 2011 was the remembrance of all victims.
The main theme of the news throughout the day was focused on the memorials at all of the affected areas in the United States.
All of the channels also included features of Australians who lost family members in the attacks as well as memorial services taking place in Australia.
This was very influential to read about because it showed how other countries around the world were effected by 9/11 and how they still never forget about the tragedy.
The impact of 9/11 on Hollywood Cinema
9/11 on the screen
These films about 9/11 did a good job in offering guidance and understanding to the public.
They offered stories from victims and relatives of victims so that other citizens around the United States could continue to cope with the terrorist attacks.
This form of propaganda can be identified as "plain folks" because the films are attempting to convince the audience that their ideas are good and what they should believe and/or think.
The films are also "of the people" since they deal with historic events that took place in the United States.
A look into United 93...
The first major film on 9/11
This form of propaganda among films can be seen as "bandwagon" because Americans followed each other's actions in surrounding themselves with movies to help them cope with 9/11.
The reason why the films
The Chronicles of Narnia
became popular is because of "card stacking."
Both of those movies used positive and negative illustrations and facts to give the best possible scenarios in regards to dealing with 9/11.
can be seen as a way for victims to cope with the 9/11 terrorists attack.
The film demonstrated the actions of the passengers (to their best knowledge) which is helpful to those who lost loved ones from the tragedy.
This type of propaganda can be identified as "card stacking" because the selection of facts from the actual United Airlines Flight 93 were portrayed in a positive and truthful light throughout the film,
Also, the illustrations in
of the actions that took place on the actual United Airlines Flight 93 gave the best possible scenario for the public to view.
This form of propaganda can be identified as "testimonial" because George W. Bush was a highly respected man to the United States.
So, he was directly telling the U.S. what to think and how to think about 9/11.
"Plain folks" can also be seen as a form of propaganda used here because Bush was convincing the public that his ideas and beliefs about 9/11 are good.
Obviously, these ideas are portrayed as "of the people" since he was the president of the United States.
All three of these propaganda posters were posted on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.
The first one is hurtful towards Americans, because it shows Uncle Sam falling (down from the Twin Towers?)
It hits close to the heart of Americans, because it makes us realize that 10 years later, we are still falling. We still remember the day, and we are still effected by that day all of the time. This poster is a sad but great reminder to never forget 9/11.
The second one has a very obvious image of the plane going into the Twin Towers.
By saying "The enemy has not forgotten... have you?" makes me think some Americans (or the enemy, too) think some people have forgotten about 9/11. Bringing back the image of the plane and the towers is supposed to remind us about that day.
The last one is sad and very graphic. I think this poster's audience is the enemy because it shows the deaths that came from 9/11. Americans don't want to see this, but the enemy does.
Next, I looked into the deeper meaning behind 9/11.
I investigated how President Bush viewed 9/11 and how his reactions effected America's reactions.
I also researched the media coverage of 9/11 from post-9/11, especially on the 10 year anniversary.
During my research, I found that 9/11 in the classroom was a popular subject.
I found a video, along with a couple articles, that gave examples of how 9/11 has been taught within the classroom.
I examined the different kinds of propaganda used and how it affected the student's learning and interpretation of 9/11.
The last part of my project was how 9/11 affected the Hollywood industry.
I found different articles explaining why Hollywood had to act certain ways post-9/11.
I also examined how certain movies, especially those about 9/11, helped individuals cope with the terrorist attacks.
It was interesting to look into this and see how the different propaganda techniques were used.