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September 11th Anniversary Rituals

The 9/11 Dilemma: How to honor without exploiting?

September 11th Anniversary Rituals
The September 11th Anniversary Rituals (Credit: Cleveland.com)

As we embark on nearly a decade since the September 11th attacks, an interesting media conundrum has arisen. How can media outlets honor and cover the tragedy without exploiting the victims and those affected by the tragedy?

Nearly every major network television as well as large cable outlets have dedicated programming around the 9/11 events, including exclusive interviews, footage and documentaries from survivors and politicians alike. The moral dilemma on whether or not to sell advertising around the content is a conundrum that has no moral precedence in modern media culture.

According to a compelling article published by the New York Times today, Jeremy W. Peters and Brian Stelter write,
“There are no uniform answers, and media outlets are approaching it differently. Time magazine is running no ads at all. Newsweek and People have sold ads just as they would for any other issue. Cable channels, which are devoting big blocks of their schedules to Sept. 11-related programming, are also largely running commercials as usual. But there exceptions; CNN, for example, is to show a joint HBO-Time special commercial free. In its regular Sunday edition on Sept. 11, The New York Times is publishing a special section that will contain only commemorative ads.”

It becomes a slippery slope on how to cover 9/11. As years pass, the issue will undoubtedly come up again. How do you feel about this?