Decade 9/11 Conversation: Brooke Gladstone and Fred Kaplan

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Co-host and managing editor of NPR's On The Media and author of The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the MediaBrooke Gladstone joins Slate’s War Stories columnist and author of 1959: The Year Everything Changed (and her husband), Fred Kaplan, to discuss how their respective beats have changed since 9/11 and how their family experienced 9/11 and the aftermath.


Brooke Gladstone and Fred Kaplan

Comments [24]


@ DarkSymbolist -

Actually the extreme picture you paint regarding anti-democratic rhetoric is a little jingoistic. I saw the democratic process at work in the wake of 9/11. Free speech and assembly of opinions across the board in a free society.

Maher made his comments on the airwaves of a private company. I disagree with you that Maher's comments "certainly did not under any rational estimation deserve being fired for." More importantly, so does Comedy Central.

Sep. 07 2011 01:08 PM
Bob from Pelham NY

@ Mozo
Sorry if I was unclear. I wasn't stating my position, but rather what I read in the Irish/UK press on Sept.12th, much of which took the position that U.S. policies in the Middle East had helped provoke a tragic but not unexpected attack. My point was to highlight the revulsion expressed by the overwhelming majority of the ordinary Irish and British public to this media position, emphatically stating that NOTHING excused or justified the attacks, and expressing their disgust with pundits and politicians viewing the tragedy only through the prism of their pre-existing positions. Like my reaction to Michele Bachmann's blaming the earthquakes, tornados and hurricanes on our bad behavior, regular people were revolted by this "blaming the victims because we disagree with them" approach. My "On The Media" point was that the press reaction in Europe was a mirror-image of how Fox News and conservative talk radio in the U.S. seem to react to every tragedy, economic setback, etc. I hope this is clearer. Thanks

Sep. 07 2011 12:07 PM
Karen Dodds from NYC

Finally! So glad to hear some intelligent, useful coverage of post 9/11. I'm so weary and leery of all the 9/11 coverage; however, this analysis, especially of the relationship between the media and the military was most prescient. The comments from the NJ man who had enlisted after high school, and gone to Afghanistan's said it all.

Sep. 07 2011 11:55 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I still think my "assessment" is reasonably on the mark, even if Malaysian, Indonesian, Turkish and Iranian and other non-Arab Muslims were somewhat less hostile than the Arabs. But the history of Christian/Muslim wars are not forgotten in that part of the world, and the creation of Israel is to them a "plot" to keep them down.

Crazy conspiracy theories are the norm there, as are crazy beliefs, like dying fighting the "infidels" gets you to heaven and into the company of 70 virgins. Hey, if we Jews thought we could get 70 beautiful virgins in heaven, we'd probably become suicide bombers too :)

Sep. 07 2011 11:55 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!


There is at least one problem with your assesment.

"They" are not monolithic and "they" did not all like being under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire. Many of "them" were glad to see it go when it did.

Sep. 07 2011 11:50 AM
Eileen from Floral Park

I lived in Brooklyn Heights at the time two blocks from the Promenade. I too saw papers on my stoop from Manhattan. I remember the wind blowing over Brooklyn, then a day later it blew over New Jersey and all the while the powers that be said the air was fine. It wasn't until a few days after 9/11 when the winds were blowing north over Manhattan, that the air quality became an issue. To this day that really sticks in my craw.

Sep. 07 2011 11:45 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Why do they hate "us?"

Well, the Quran itself says not to take infidels,Jews or Christians as friends, for they are only friends to each other!

That is for starters. They hate that the Muslim empire fell apart, especially with the defeat and dismemberment of the Ottoman empire.

They hate because many (certainly not all) Americans supported the creation of the Jewish state in what they call Palestine, a supposedly Muslim Arab country. They hate the fact that this Jewish state refuses to lay down and die.

There are many reasons, but the above three are most egregious in their eyes. They forget that Western addiction to oil enabled the Middle East to increase in population from 22 million ARabs after WWI, to over 350 million today. They discount the trillions of western dollars that have gone in to enrich the Arab world, but mostly its corrupt leaders.

Sep. 07 2011 11:44 AM

Fred Kaplan completely deflected the question.

Sep. 07 2011 11:41 AM

@Bob fron Pelham NY --

Why do you think NYC was attacked? Because "they" hate freedom and are evil or because of US policies in the Middle East? Your post was somewhat confusing. Thank you.

Sep. 07 2011 11:40 AM
Laura from UWS

Please ask guests--did they not experience the great and real fear of nuclear war when they were younger?

Not even during the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Sep. 07 2011 11:39 AM
art525 from Park Slope

I just heard Brooke mention the papers her daughter saw floating through the sky from the Promenade. I live down the street from Brooke and watched the towers fall from my roof and I still have charred bits of paper that floated down like snow.

Sep. 07 2011 11:39 AM
Bob from Pelham NY

A lifelong New Yorker,I was in Ireland on business on September 11th. Unable to get home, I read all the Irish and UK papers the next day and was struck by how much most of their editorials and Op-Eds (and some politicians) were left-leaning mirrors of our cable news, very sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and some even suggesting that the U.S. support of Israel had somehow helped provoke the attacks. The second day (Sept.13th) brought overwhelming outrage from ordinary people against these columns, in letters, call-ins, and just people on the street speaking up that this was crazy. It gives me hope that the ordinary people in the U.S. will someday rise up and say enough to all the cable media rants and support common sense and a return to sanity.

Sep. 07 2011 11:33 AM
Laura from UWS

Off topic, my experience:

Sep 11, 2001 around 8:55 AM my clock radio switched on to WNYC FM but all I heard was static (because first plane took out transmitter atop WTC). I turned on WNYC AM and learned more about what kinds of planes hit the WTC than the President seemed to know until the end of the day. Thank you, WNYC staffers who reported what they saw. Note to Presidents of the USA: have your people stay in touch with local media.

Sep. 07 2011 11:32 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

After 9/11 we had a short period of people "pulling together" but then descended into a very shameful jingoistic period which is illustrated by our paranoid, stupid, strategically foolish and morally bankrupt invasion of Iraq with the media enthusiastically beating the drums of war

Just shameful

Sep. 07 2011 11:29 AM
Laura from UWS

Please talk about who owns American media and why they own it--what their aims are.

I remember when the media functioned as the independent press that The Founding Fathers expected. There used to be much more diversity in ownership. Fewer big corporate conglomerates.

It feels slightly deceptive to be talking about "the media" as if it still were a free and independent press in the public interest.

P.S. Invite this couple on a regular basis!

P.P.S. I agree with the above comment about reducing the amount of emotional 9/11 coverage. I wish 'the media' were covering why the fire and police still don't have interoperational radios and why new buildings aren't required to have repeaters.

Sep. 07 2011 11:27 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!


Be that as it may, the actual comment he got fired for certainly did not under any rational estimation deserve being fired for. That he got fired for it at that time, perfectly illustrates the ridiculous and quite frankly scary and anti-democratic jingoistic atmosphere that arose in the aftermath of 9/11

Sep. 07 2011 11:24 AM

I knew from the first moment that Iraq was a BIG enormous mistake. I remember being frustrated that the media wasn't doing more investigation into why the rest of the world felt like invading Iraq was wrong.

Sep. 07 2011 11:17 AM
George from astoria

After 9/11 and the run up to the Iraq war the media didnt question the validity of Iraq as a terrorist threat.

Iraq was never a threat to America.
The media could have easily shown this at the time.

Sep. 07 2011 11:17 AM

Why are you even discussing Bill Mahrer? This is the same class act that showed up to a Halloween party dressed as Steve Irwin shortly after he was killed, complete with the stingray barb in his chest.

He got fired because its a matter of taste - he has none and doesn't deserve a public platform. He has proven that.

Sep. 07 2011 11:17 AM
Michael from Brooklyn, NY

One of the things that really sticks out in my memory are those "patriotic" car ads that started airing after 9/11. The "buy a car and save the nation" ads full of flags and triumphant music. I remember feeling like that was just about the creepiest thing I'd ever seen, the way so many US companies jumped on this moment of suffering to make a buck, albiet at the behest of our then president to get the economy rolling again.

Sep. 07 2011 11:15 AM

Please, will you provide alternative broadcasts to this revisiting of 9/11?
This is very upsetting to me. I have my own memories and don't want to wallow in other's.

Sep. 07 2011 11:14 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

Bachmann is a moron and 9/11 had nothing to do with a "message" from "God". It was the actions of religious extremists, period!

Let's not lose perspective here.

Sep. 07 2011 11:12 AM
Jim B

Instead of Decade 9/11, how about Decade Zero?

Sep. 07 2011 11:01 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Michelle Bachmann stepped back from her statement that God speaks to us through weather, but really God speaks to us through all of created reality and events. For example, this is the tenth commemoration of 9/11 and we've had a hurricane, a tornado (Albany), an earthquake, a monsoon.

What did God say in 9/11? That we can't keep killing the unborn and expect there not to be consequences. About 3,000 people were kllled on 9/11, not the 15,000 originally estimated, and that's roughly the number of abortions in the U.S. each day. Each day God mourns as many lives as we do on 9/11.

Sep. 07 2011 08:17 AM

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