WMU News

CNN and network news does admirable job

Sept. 24, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- CNN and the nation's major networks responded well to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, says a WMU communications expert.

"I think their coverage has been astounding," says Dr. George Robeck, associate professor of communication. "I'm amazed at it."

Though the mass media has received some criticism for the occasional airing of misinformation, its members have won praise for their commercial-free, around-the-clock coverage after terrorists crashed passenger planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center towers.

"Their vigil of around-the-clock reporting has been part patriotism, but part integrity and responsibility," Robeck says. "They could be making money, but they're not."

The media have a tremendous responsibility as intermediaries between the government and the public, Robeck says. They also act as a conduit that brings citizens together by providing a vital communication link. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, the news media have lived up to that responsibility, Robeck says.

"They've done a tremendous job, a Herculean job," Robeck says. "CNN within minutes was on top of it and the networks followed soon after and began making sense of what had happened. It's been an amazing process how reams of information have been sifted through and images brought to us. It's been a tremendous logistical undertaking."

The media also have served another important role in providing a sense of security during a national crisis, Robeck adds.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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