EFFECTS OF MASS MEDIA ON PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY: INDIVIDUAL
REACTIONS TO THE SEPTEMBER 2001 TERRORIST ATTACKS IN THE UNITED STATES
The terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States on 11 September 2001 changed the outlook of millions of Americans in relation to their own security, the security of the nation, and their perceptions of the world. The terrorist attacks were horrific enough in their own right; however, the constant replaying of television images of the disintegration of the twin towers of New YorkÆs World Trade Center on national television for a period of days in some cases and weeks in other cases tended to (a) reinforce a particular perception of the events of that day or (b) created a media-based reality of the events, depending upon oneÆs analytical understanding of the phenomenon (Roots 503).
There can little doubt about a contention that those people who exposed themselves to the continual barrage of mass media replays of the tragedy were imbued with a particular image of the terrorist attacks and that the mass media dialogs that accompanied the replays reinforced a particular interpretation of the events of 11 September 2001 (Durody and Wessely 1901). The fact that the media behavior created a reality related to the event and reinforced the media interpretation of the eventÆs reality does not infer that the characterization of the event by the mass media was incorrect. It does leave open the possibility, however, that those people who did not expose themselves to the continual media barrage related to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks may have developed perceptions of the events of that day that do not fully correlated with the media-created reality (Krimsky 54-55).
In people who experienced variations to mass media exposure to the events of 11 September 2001 vary from one another in their perceptions of the reality of the events, they also may vary from one another in the lasting str...