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Drumbeat for War Permeates TV News Coverage

HeadlineSep 14, 2001

A drumbeat for war has begun to permeate the blanket TV news coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Mixed among the sober reports on heroic rescue efforts, heartbreaking personal loss and the fast-moving FBI investigation, a range of tough voices, including those of the President, members of Congress, military experts and television commentators, have discussed options for retaliation, from possible assassinations to full military engagement. Polls of the U.S. public since the attacks showed an overwhelming majority ready to go to war. Among every network’s guest commentators were hawks, many of their comments spurred by the questions of their hosts. Producers said there was nothing wrong with presenting talk of war and polling American views on war so soon after the attacks and that television is not pushing the bounds of its mandate to be unbiased. Producers said they were simply presenting the evolution of the national psyche and the decision-making process in Washington.

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