Research at CIC Universities Explores Reactions and Impact of 9/11
Sep 9, 2011, 11:32 AM
As the nation reflects on the events of 9/11, scholars and researchers at Penn State University and the University of Chicago are looking closely at how the impact of the events of that day ten years ago has been reflected...
As the nation reflects on the events of 9/11, scholars and researchers at Penn State University and the University of Chicago are looking closely at how the impact of the events of that day ten years ago has been reflected through the lens of daily life, policies, and academics.
In "Newslore: Contemporary Folklore on the Internet" (University Press of Mississippi, 2011), Russell Frank, associate professor of communications at Penn State University, analyzed the newslore -- jokes, rumors and doctored photographs circulated through e-mail and on websites -- about recent events in American history, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Soon after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Frank saw a growing wave of newslore about the attacks. Most of the material was not fit for distribution in the mainstream media. In one doctored picture, the Statue of Liberty is gesturing with an extended middle finger. Another photo appeared to show a tourist on the observation deck of the World Trade Center seconds before the plane hit the tower.
Newslore can be cathartic for both the creator and the recipient. In the case of Sept. 11 newslore, the jokes and images initially targeted Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda and one of the planners of the attacks. He was often depicted in doctored photos and cartoons as hunted by U.S. jet fighters or being tortured. "One way to cut an enemy down to size is to mock them," Frank said. "You make them look ridiculous and you take away their power."
- Video of George W. Bush’s address from the Oval Office following the attacks
- Video of Bill Clinton’s Yale address
- Video of news conferences from Rudy Guiliani, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld following the attacks
- Video from Osama bin Laden
- Op-eds from Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zakaria, Robert Pape and Chaim Kauffmann
- CSPAN video archive
- Washington Post archive