Someone called David von Pein is uploading old documentaries and live TV footage to YouTube – including ‘more than 23 hours of television news coverage’ from 11 September 2001. The tapes – from ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN – begin at about 8.30 a.m., before the first attack, and run until after the collapse of the second World Trade Center tower.
The first video starts with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, the hosts of NBC’s Today Show, standing in front of their live audience outside the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. Then there’s the weather forecast – in New York, it’s a ‘perfect fall morning’, or a ‘perfect summer morning’ – followed by the naming of some Americans whose 100th birthday it is (a segment sponsored by a jam company, Smuckers).
After a commercial break Couric interviews Harry Belafonte, who speaks about an anthology of black American music he has produced, The Long Road to Freedom, and the World Conference Against Racism that had been held in South Africa the previous week, which he had attended. The conference was boycotted by the US and Israel, and Couric asked Belafonte why he had criticised Bush’s refusal to attend.
I believe that the world is really in need of compassion, the world is really need of voices that’ll come to the table with reason and lead people to a new level of thinking. The United States, which dominates so much of the world order, I believe has a responsibility to lead the world to a new level of thought, or at least open up debate so that new information can come into the discourse, so it may be able to shape policies that are a little bit richer than the policies we’ve been applying all along that don’t seem to be taking us out of the abyss of violence, killing, anger, rage. And I think we should be less arrogant about how we use our resources.
After Belafonte, a commercial break and then Lauer interviews a disagreeable-sounding writer, Richard Hack, who’s touting a disagreeable-sounding book on Howard Hughes. ‘The fact is this is a man who was absolutely a loser,’ Hack says at the beginning of the interview; at the end he says Hughes was ‘the most amazing man that American has ever created, ever’.
Lauer interrupts: there’s breaking news from the World Trade Center, but first another commercial. ‘This is Today from NBC.’