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Newspaper extra, December 7, 1941. Redding, California. Photo: Library of Congress

Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, September 11, 2001. Workers who fled the attack on the WTC express shock after viewing the events on TV. The man on the left watches friends perish in the collapse. Photo: Joseph Rodriguez.

SLIDESHOW (will open new window)
Getting the News

Martins and Coys (2:42)
Dear Mr. President (2:47)
Recorded in New York City, 1942

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech to Congress and the nation. December 8, 1941
(Real Audio, 7:14)


Getting the News  

On December 7th, 1941, news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor came in a slow trickle. The pictures came later. What mattered was the attack's meaning: American entry into a world war.

By contrast, on September 11, 2001, the nation's TV screens deluged Americans with fresh, even live images of the terrorist attacks and the destruction they caused. Those visual images helped to spark a wave of emotion.

"Woody Guthrie, he and I and Lee Hayes, we were having a hootenanny. And in the middle of it, somebody burst in saying, 'Hey, the Japs have bombed Pearl Harbor'. I didn't even know where Pearl Harbor was." — Folk Singer Pete Seeger

"It's like you take your new tweed jacket to the cleaner and they soak it in all this chemical stuff. It takes all the life out of the fabric. That's what media do to emotional events. The constant repetition takes all the life out of them."
— Journalist Russell Baker

Short Audio Reactions (Real Audio)
1941: I'm not surprised. Unidentified man, Washington, D.C. (0:55)
2001: It was like a movie Yasmine Williams, Naples American School, Naples, Italy (0:44)

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