Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11: Ten Years Later at the Newseum

Also on Wednesday, I went to the Newseum to see 9/11: Ten Years Later. The moderator was Charlie Gibson. The panelists were Victoria Clarke who served as a Pentagon spokesperson. Ari Fleischer who was President Bush's press secretary. Jim Miklaszewski who is and was NBC's Pentagon reporter.

Some of the highlights of the discussion were these:

Gibson said on September 12 before Good Morning America went on the air he checked in with the correspondents that were stationed at New York area hospitals. They taold Gibson that no one was there. Gibson said that you either lived or you died.

In that vein, Fleischer related how Bush was told at one of the military hospitals by doctor wish we had more people here.

Fleischer also told how Air Force One had satelite TV but they only had reception when the plane was over populated areas. Since the plane was on a zig zag pattern because of a percieved threat against the air plane there where periods of time when they didn't see what was going on.

Also from Fleischer, the Air Force One pilot had someone stationed at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the cockpit (Air force One is a 747) with orders to shoot anyone if they tried to rush the cabin. The pilot did this because at the time there was a concern that maybe there was some sort of agent on board the plane.

All of the panel quickly realized they were under attack. The first reports had said a small commuter plane had crashed. But the damage done was far too great for it to be a small plane.

This story from Miklaszewski about his wife getting a suit case going on the Metro to a hotel near the pentagon with 5 days of clothes for him and getting back on the Metro. Metro was essentially empty. Then letting him know they were there and telling him to be safe.

Gibson related how one of his daughters was coming out of the subway when she saw one of the planes hit the Trade Towers. He also talked about getting a call from his wife who was a principal at school asking did she need to evacuate the school and what should she tell her students. Gibson said she needed to get the students out but didn't know exactly how to answer the second question.

There was a question about how the coverage would be different if 9/11 happened today. All of them talked about tweets that would be coming from the people trapped in the towers. There would also probably be video. How would you tell which tweets were real? Would it be right to put the video on air? None of them had answers to those questions.

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