A Critical Study of Media Reaction to September 11 Essay examples

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September 11, 2001: A DAY OF INFAMY. So it was vehemently proclaimed in Time Magazine¹s special issue dedicated to one of the most tragic events in American History and arguably one of the most brutal acts of terrorism to date. America, in the spasms of a few hours, has become a changed country. Perhaps in an attempt to understand this change and come to grips with the ensuing crisis, more and more people are turning to the media for answers. Now more than ever, the media, namely television, radio, newspapers, and the internet, have become the most powerful tools in disseminating information relevant to this event. This is a truth we cannot escape.

It would of course be naïve to say that this information is always reliable
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However, the decoded message is perhaps that this is a constant reminder that things have changed, even things we used to think were permanent. In this case, the audience is probably reading the message critically (negotiated code) or oppositionally (oppositional code) depending on his/her background. In other words, different audiences will decode and interpret differently, depending on factors such as age, gender, education level, religion, and political affiliation.

Most believe that things have indeed changed everything from national security to conducting daily business for some. What is certain is that this change has been further exasperated by the histeria created mostly through the media. Take for example the seemingly endless anthrax stories. The almost constant coverage of anthrax cases has led the public to believe that new cases are constantly sprouting in every corner of the nation. This obsession over anthrax has resulted in part from the uncertainty about future attacks and how we will be affected. Anthrax, now a usual topic in conversations, has no doubt captured public and media attention to an extraordinary degree. More than three in four Americans say they are concerned about anthrax, and four in 10 are exercising caution when opening their mail, according to an ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll. The title of a story on anthrax reads,

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