9/11 and the Uses of Fear
9/11 is a template and trigger for a range of emotions. Who can forget the horror of that day? One shouldn’t. But at the same time we should be aware of how 9/11 is being used as a weapon of intimidation to silence critics of the Bush war on terrorism. Those who speak out are labeled anti-American. We are all supposed to suspend critical thinking, be obedient and listen in awe to the pronouncements from Big Brother. People are kept on the edge of their seats by constant alerts, warnings and threats of new attacks. In a state of fear, citizens are vulnerable to manipulation by opportunistic politicians and a sensationalist media. “Dissent in a time of war,” historian Howard Zinn says, “is the highest form of patriotism.”
Sut Jhally is Professor of Communications at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is the founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation and the author of The Codes of Advertising. He co-directed the critically acclaimed documentary, Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire.