On Wednesday, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh lamented, on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, that he rarely encounters any videotape of the actual events of that horrible day. He told his audience that he believes news networks think that showing the graphic footage of that day is “too traumatic.” But there is one network that did broadcast those events in full, a network that Limbaugh probably does not often watch: MSNBC.
“I’m watching TV today, and there was something I didn’t see,” Limbaugh said. “I didn’t see one second of videotape of what happened on that day. Not one.”
“I guess it’s — the towers would be too traumatic,” Limbaugh insisted. “People can’t deal with it even yet, which I think is a grave mistake.”
Limbaugh later admitted his mistake when a producer informed him that NBC’s Today aired portions of the tape of the events of September, 11. He went on, however, to say that Today represents an exception to the rule.
But if NBC’s Today bucked a trend by airing antiseptic clips of the attacks, the full traumatic wound of 9/11 was exposed by MSNBC. On Wednesday, as it has done every year, MSNBC aired in full NBC’s coverage of the events of that morning from the moment the first tower was hit until shortly before noon Eastern Time.
Limbaugh is correct that more networks should air the unedited footage of that day, as NBC and MSNBC do. By highlighting the confusion and the raw emotion of that day in real time, it focuses the minds of Americas too young or too far removed from that experience to recall all the details.
MSNBC’s broadcast reminds Americans of the haunting moments that do not make it onto the highlight reels of the events of that terrible day. One such moment — when the towers had fallen, and the tempo of unconfirmed reports of this or the other terrorist threat began to slow, and NBC’s news anchors were left alone with their thoughts — is especially gripping.
What makes this moment so poignant is what is not said. The infectious silence that spontaneously overtook NBC’s hosts as they processed what had just happened, only then did they allow themselves to concede that America was at war.
This would have been a good, and rare, moment in which a conservative can offer an unqualified compliment to MSNBC and NBC News. Limbaugh let it pass, but I won’t. God bless them. It’s not a profitable programing decision to preempt their broadcast to re-air a 12-year-old event, it is a service.
Who knows how long they can keep this up before time or fiscal constraints force MSNBC to abandon the practice. For now, it is a potent and welcome reminder of what America lost on that day and why we are still at war.
h/t Daily Rushbo
[Photo via National Geographic ]
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