TV archive with 3 days' worth of 6 networks' 9/11 coverage


One of the Internet Archive's less-well-known archives is their TV collection (it's mostly not available to the public). For years, the Archive has been recording dozens of TV stations around the clock. They happened to be rolling on September 11th, and they've published three days' worth of around-the-clock TV coverage from six different networks. This is a view into how history was experienced that we've never really had before.

The September 11th Collection (via Internet Archive News)

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  1. I wasn’t watching TV that week, and it seemed to mean a fundamentally different experience for me than for most of my USA neighbors…I often have to remind myself that most of them, including children, experienced several days of watching footage of tragedy, including some images over and over and over, while I only saw the crash and the jumpers for the first time years later. It seems like a self-inflicted trauma to me – I remember seeing children wincing in fear at the sound or sight of any airplane in the sky, and “plane crash into building” becoming a theme in everything they were playing. I don’t know how much was gained from several days of our nation mostly glued to the TV while it played snuff flicks on endless loop, but I suppose it helps explain some of the bizarre decisions we made/supported in the years that followed.

  2. I used to work for a company that monitored TV and radio broadcasts. Next to my desk was a stack of cardboard boxes marked “9/11/2001”, “9/12/2001” etc. Normally, tapes were wiped and re-used quickly, but someone had evidently decided to preserve the recordings from those days.

    I kept thinking about surreptitiously hooking up a VCR to a PC and digitizing the lot, but never did it. I’m glad to see that the Internet Archive has captured at least some of the historical record.

  3. Ummmmm, NO thank you. I know the rest of the world is screaming, “NEVER FORGET”, usually the loudest in the southern, and midwestern US.

    But personally, living here? Thats all I and most of my fellow citizens, want to do.

    A facebook “Friend” did a poll about how he would die and the answer was from a fall, accompanied by a photo of a body flying through the air with the iconic termite tube pattern of the trade towers in the background. Meaning, this was a photo of someone dying. I had managed to avoid all of these photos until right then. Here’s the kicker, he posted that to his wall on 9/10.

    wtf? I hate facebook.

  4. @ #1

    You tell anyone who was in New York City that day that it was “self-inflicted trauma” that burns in their memory even to this day and you would be met with a punch to the face.

    We should never forget the events that happened that day. I was one who, with no better place to go, or nothing better to do went to the site and started to dig. The city came together to weep, to search, to clean and is affected to this day with daily reminders of tragedy that happened before our eyes. I will never forget the walls of endless flyers advertising the missing around the Armory for I lived just a few blocks from there. Every fire truck that came down the street got salutes and applause.

    I didn’t watch TV that week either because I was doing whatever I could to help heal a very fresh wound. But I know I have a little more perspective and a TON more respect for what happened that day.

    I will never forget watching those towers burn.

    Just to clarify my politics. I am against all that W. did in the aftermath. The speech on the rubble, the wars, etc. But the crime against humanity that was perpetrated that day will affect thousands of us for the rest of our lives. And not because we’re feeling sorry for ourselves through “self-inflicted trauma.”

  5. Even if you don’t want to watch it (I lived it, and don’t need to revisit it) this would be extremely useful to schools, students and pretty much everyone else in the future. This is the type of thing that should be shared (BitTorrent anyone?) and seeded forever for the world to see.

  6. Two segments of note there:

    ABC Sept. 11, 2001 12:41 pm – 1:23 pm: At around 1:00, Giuliani told Jennings that he had forewarning of the buildings otherwise-unexpected collapse. He said, “I went down to the scene and we set up, uh, headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the police commissioner and the fire commissioner, the head of emergency management. And we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse.”

    ABC Sept. 11, 2001 9:43 pm – 10:25 pm: In this segment, Barbara Walters replays for Peter Jennings an interview she did earlier with Senator John Edwards. Edwards’ response to two questions are copies of the same video and audio. The first, at 26:07, is in response to Walters’ question, “We keep, uh, hearing that it’s Osama bin Laden. How do we know that?” The second, at 26:35, is in response to Walters’ question, “Could I just have a yes or no? Are we sure it’s not foreigners?”. In both cases, Edwards is shown saying, “Um. I can’t answer that question. I’m sorry.” His facial expressions and motion are identical. For a side-by-side comparison of the two segments, see

  7. @1: “I suppose it helps explain some of the bizarre decisions we made/supported in the years that followed.”

    That’s pretty fucking callous- you place the blame of our misguided leadership on people who didn’t have the “wisdom” such as yourself to repress or ignore what happened on that day? Shame on you.

  8. @CK: You were *there*. For you and thousands of others, there’s nothing self-inflicted about it.

    For some (many?) of the “NEVER FORGET” crowd though, 9/11 was a piece of disaster porn they could connect to and focus on even though they had no direct connection. For them it is self-inflicted trauma, and all they’d have to do to stop it is turn off the damn television and think about something else. Luckily, most of them will fade back into the woodwork soon… until next year.

  9. SHADOWFIRE, perhaps I’m reading you wrong but I couldn’t disagree more. To forget, and cease awareness of how horrible that was would be to take W.’s horrible advice to “return to shopping”. That style of denial is as ridiculous now as it was then.

    It feels as if momentum (i.e. fierce demand by the public) has waned heavily to bring the both perpetrators to justice and make those on watch accountable. Perhaps only reminders of that horror will rally us to demand more, to demand answers, to demand some closure. People should still be angry, and you don’t need to reside in NYC for a license to be angry.

  10. @11: It was downloadable for a while. This was discussed on the Internet Archive forums by people who discovered it while seeking video of the BBC segment in which Jane Standley announced that WTC7 fell about 20 minutes before it actually did fall. BBC claim they lost their 9/11 footage.

    A few of the files are available at http://ia341239.us.archive.org/2/items/911_News_Clips/.

    @12: I got about 20 GB of the MPEG encoded video. I don’t remember now if I pulled them directly from the IA servers or from someone who made them available via Bittorrent after getting them off IA. They’re named like “V08546-13.mpg_from21.56.7.500000_to21.57.12.300000_peter_curious_about_what_caused_the_buildings_to_collapse.mpg”. Get in touch on Twitter or at my-first-name@my-last-name.org if you’re interested, and I can make it all available to you via FTP.

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