Fitting Sept. 11 coverage hard to come by

Sept. 11 is coming up soon and media people, including me, all over the nation face a problem: How can coverage of the second anniversary of a world-changing event be achieved with respect, if every aspect of it has already been covered numerous times?

Most papers and TV networks have already begun their coverage of the terrorist attacks that leveled the World Trade Center. There are stories ranging from the “where are they now” features that follow up on emergency workers that helped in New York City in the days immediately following the attack to the New York Times writing yet another story on what, where and when will something (possibly) be built on the site where the iconic Twin Towers once stood.

Sunday night also marked the premiere of the TV movie “DC 9/11: Time of Crisis” on the cable movie channel Showtime. From excerpts, and I doubt I’ll see the full movie in the near future as I do not have Showtime, the movie takes quite a few of liberties and dramatizes the event (does it really need more drama?) by putting such lines as “If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell him to come get me. I’ll just be waiting for the bastard,” into the mouth of President Bush while on Air Force One.

The movie, two years after the event, is treading on very thin ice as most people still have vivid memories of the scenes they either saw on TV or even witnessed in real life, be it by hearing about it through somebody they knew or seeing it happen in person.

Do we really need such movies that clearly want to profit from the interest surrounding the anniversary and make a quick buck by sensationalizing an event that does not need more sensation?

It is quite understandable that many family members of people that perished or were injured in the events of Sept. 11 voiced concern or openly spoke out against the made-for-television movie. It hardly can be called good taste when entertainment spins a yarn around the death of 3,000 people.

Also, what is the point in remembering an event that should really still be quite fresh in people’s mind by airing a fictionalized version of events that most likely did not happen that way anyway?

Last year CBS re-aired a documentary made by two French filmmakers, brothers Gédéon and Jules Naudet, that happened to be at the right (or wrong, depending on your view) place at the right time.

The two-hour documentary provided a real life account of the event, rather than the movie’s revisionist approach attributing heroic behavior to the president, as well as other officials, that nobody can be sure really happened.

Most media people, and I am no exception, also had the misfortune of being exposed to Sept. 11 coverage practically non-stop. It was our job to cover the events, so turning off CNN was not an option for most of us. It is therefore understandable that most journalists trying to come up with a new angle have a washed-out feeling about this particular topic.

The question, however, should be if we really need continuous coverage on everything ranging from specials on the Discovery Channel to keepsakes on shopping networks. The event was quite life altering in many regards but coverage for coverage’s sake without anything new to add is not a fitting way to mark this somber anniversary.

Sebastian Meyer is a junior majoring in environmental science and The Oracle’s Opinion Editor.