CNN Rebroadcast Will Harm More Than Help

The fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is here and the American media is doing their part to remember those who died on Sept. 11, 2001. However, one major news outlet, the Cable New Network (CNN), is going a bit too far.

In addition to CNN’s regular televised broadcasts of the special events that will take place on the fifth anniversary, CNN will also be using CNN Pipeline at cnn.com, to stream its original television coverage from Sept. 11, 2001 in real time.

This replay will begin at 8:30 AM, just minutes before the first of four hijacked planes hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The coverage will continue as all of that day’s events unfold in real time until around midnight. The online coverage will also be comprised of a multimedia perspective of how life has changed for many Americans since Sept. 11, 2001 with stories and images from users on how their lives were affected.

To explain CNN’s decision to show the original Sept. 11 coverage on CNN Pipeline, the senior vice president and general manager of cnn.com, David Payne, states, “In many ways and to many people, it was the day that changed everything…and while difficult, for many of us it is important to remember the emotion of that day.”

Payne is absolutely right but showing these painful and graphic images now, only five years later, is a bit too much, especially for those who lost loved ones and are still emotionally suffering from the event. Instead, the media should help these people remember their loved ones while also helping them move on. For these people, it may be enough to just show a few prayer services remembering those who died without repeating the images of that horrible day.

CNN should be given at least some credit for not forcing this real time coverage onto its loyal everyday viewers by airing it on their regular television programming. By showing it online, CNN isolates this upsetting content and provides it for users who would like to see it on CNN Pipeline.

CNN is treating this very delicately by showing it exclusively online with a disclaimer warning users that they are entering an area in which this rebroadcast is being shown to prevent anyone who does not want see the graphic images and footage. Yet, CNN may still suffer from public outrage as well as a loss of respect from loyal viewers.