Perspective

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"This was 'reality' TV that buckled the knees and left news anchors and reporters grasping for appropriate words."

—Ed Bark, The Dallas Morning News,
on the calamitous images that filled the nation's homes via television

"There's a hole in New York. There's a hole in America. There's a hole in the world. TV can't fill it. But it can remind us that we are connected to it—that it's our world, and that every one of us belongs to it. These past few days, TV did not merely represent the idea of community; it became community."

—Matt Zoller Seitz, The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.

"It is patently absurd in an event such as this to declare one network's coverage superior to another, as if it were a hurricane or a horse race, but it is worth mentioning the impressive performance of the city's local news operations during the crisis. Local news teams justifiably take a lot of grief for their shallow approach to the news, but on this day, the performance of these operations was almost uniformly superb."

—Jason Gay, The New York Observer

"More than anything, though, it was a disastrous morning in which these presidents of the airwaves, otherwise known as network anchors, earned their pay by reporting calamity with calm. … Early today, television did just that, doing itself proud; for once, the dust and debris was not coming from the mouths of those reporting the story."

—Howard Rosenberg, Los Angeles Times

"It's a truism that when the news is at its worst, networks and local stations are at their best. Television coverage of national tragedies, whether the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger or yesterday's terrorist attack, is visceral and sobering. It's a moment when television fulfills its promise as a uniting force, a place for Americans to gather in shared sorrow."

—Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"The visuals were stunning, often displayed in split screen: the Trade Center towers burning and finally collapsing, the Pentagon cloaked in smoke. Only ABC, its cameras transmitting murky shots from odd angles, failed to do what television does best: show us the pictures. Anchor Peter Jennings, too, seemed confused and testy, complaining repeatedly that his monitors weren't working properly."

—Gail Pennington, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis

"The images were terrifying to watch, yet the coverage was strangely reassuring simply because it existed with such immediacy, even when detailed information was scarce. Imagine how much worse the nightmare would have been if broadcasting had been destroyed. On a day of death, television was a lifeline to what was happening."

—Caryn James, The New York Times

"For reasons best known to himself, CBS' Dan Rather at one point quoted a French politician. Peter Jennings kept scolding his ABC crew that he needed to know which of his monitors was an on-air feed. Tom Brokaw on NBC kept harping on the failure of the intelligence community to anticipate this siege."

—Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Sun-Times, commenting on the actions of shaken star broadcast anchors as they covered the attacks

"They never learn. As if planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon weren't newsworthy—and frightening—enough, television piled on to the story by rushing out information that turned out to be bogus."

—Marc Allan, The Indianapolis Star, on the several inaccurate reports broadcast in the aftermath of the New York and Washington attacks

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