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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Is there too much speculation about military action?
As the international coalition against the attacks on America builds up its military strength, there is widespread speculation that the war on those responsible could start within days.

United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said there will be no single co-ordinated assault, but that the campaign would be long, difficult, and dangerous, and more lives might be lost.

Broadcasters and other media organisations in the UK have been warned by senior military figures to be careful with speculative reports on military activity in case it endangers military personnel.

Do you think there is too much speculation about where the military action will take place and its consequences? Or do you feel that the public needs to be informed about a possible military campaign?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


Speculation about military strategies and movements is irresponsible and puts the lives of troops in jeopardy

John Wilson, USA
The media needs to be muzzled about all military matters until after action has been taken. Speculation about military strategies and movements is irresponsible and puts the lives of troops in jeopardy. Remember, "loose lips sink ships!"
John Wilson, USA

I think that the tabloid press are now so desperate to cause unrest in the public that they are forgetting basic decency. "Your sons will die" was the headline splattered across the Daily Record on Monday. The article then went on to explain how there will be thousands of military and civilian deaths in this new war. Meanwhile, the real stories about the actual events in New York were pushed to the back of the book. Instead of all this disgraceful scare mongering it's about time they got round to telling the real story.
Craig, England, UK

I want to see the media sending messages directly to the Afghani and Pakistani people, urging them to turn against the Taleban. We need to tell these people that we are not against them or Islam, but against criminals. The media can help to influence local public opinion over there, so that they don't take sides with the Taleban.
J Dominguez, US

So far in the news there has been very little thought given to the bigger picture - this kind of attack must have taken years to plan and execute and I find it difficult to believe it is the work of one man. Also, no seems capable to come out and condemn American foreign policy which has contributed largely to this whole set of circumstances. The Taleban until recently had received substantial funding and weaponry from the USA and their troops have been trained by the British.

This attack is not a random act of violence, it is an incredibly powerful statement which has rocked the very foundations of modern society. Islam is the scapegoat and once again the ordinary people of Afghanistan will be slaughtered in a war they neither asked for or want. I await with interest the "evidence" against Osama Bin Laden.
Dave, Scotland


There is a small hope that the U.S. has learned from past mistakes

Nancy Long, USA
My anxiety currently is as high as immediately after the attack. I am very worried that the U.S. authorities will not keep us informed. I remember all too well the clandestine nature of our involvement in Vietnam and the repeated denials that we were in Cambodia, etc. Already our newspapers are full of citizen's rights being denied in the search for stateside terrorist affiliations. I am anxious that most Americans, in their thirst for revenge will forfeit many of these rights only to live to regret it. There is a small hope that the U.S. has learned from past mistakes and will not repeat them. I will tell you that my opinion is not a popular one here. But...
Nancy Long, USA

The object of terrorism is, wait for it, to spread terror. Media stories, hype and speculation about, for example: biological war; nuclear capabilities; how the UK is next; the coming global recession etc do more or less the same thing. Surely, this is exactly what the terrorists want and therefore we have fallen well into their trap.
Matthew, UK

During the evening following the attacks, I sat at home watching TV and was shocked by the scenes I witnessed. But I was also perplexed to see that images of people in Afghan dress had been superimposed on all the background pictures, while journalists talked about the atrocity. Even at the time I thought this was deeply irresponsible. It reminded me of the hype surrounding the Oklahoma bombing.

If we destabilise the Taleban, OBL may be dead within a week, but so what? With Afghanistan back in anarchy, other terrorists will arise. More importantly, massive humanitarian disasters could also result for the Afghans. Where is the discussion of this on TV? I've been watching, but so far there's been a dearth of intelligent discussion.
Chris Pugmire, UK

Yes! The media is speculating too much and most importantly they are telling the enemy everything that is happening and being planned. They should be restricted as to what they can put in the media. You also(in the USA) have some big mouth major or general who wants his 15 minutes of fame voicing his opinion or telling the enemy what the next plans are. I like freedom and all that but this is a different ballgame that is being played today. The media is the problem for a lot of the problems in the world.
A.H.Key, Bahamas

In the States it appears that our current "wave" of newsworthy stories all surround possible biological and chemical attack vulnerabilities. Since we obviously aren't prepared, can't do much in the short term and are scaring the hell out of our children who are already frightened enough from having watched a real event when the towers fell - where's the journalistic responsibility in that?
David Kirk, USA


Media reporting has been intensely biased toward the views of pro-war heads of state

Ray, UK
Speculation is fine, but that's not the problem. Media reporting has been intensely biased toward the views of pro-war heads of state. Has anyone actually bothered to find out objective stats on public opinion? I'm tired of seeing Blair et al assure the world that "we" all support the official US/UK stance.
Ray, UK

I think that as at the time of the Falklands crisis, the media are giving us far too much information which may be of use to our foes. Keep us informed, by all means, but have a care - be responsible - think first, will this info help our enemies?
John D. Bailey, UK

The very LEAST the Government can do is inform us about the progress of war plans since they didn't bother asking us whether we wanted to go to war in the first place! Over the past few weeks we have heard a huge amount of outcry from people who want to exercise their right to civil liberty by not having to carry ID cards. I want to exercise MY right to civil liberty by being informed about actions taken by my government without my consultation or consent that could ultimately cost me and my loved ones our lives. I say keep up the good work, news people!
Dennis Winter, UK

The media have been a complete disgrace in their coverage of recent events. It is almost as if they are behaving like terrorists themselves. The fear and terror that is being spread throughout the UK is awesome, unnecessary AND exactly what the 'real' terrorists want. Come on fellas use some good ol' common sense please.
Susy Coke, UK


The increasing level of media hype and speculation is unhelpful

Alan Hughes, UK
The increasing level of media hype and speculation is unhelpful. Articles such as the Daily Mail "All you need to know about Germ Warfare" type of article only serve to cause nervousness among the wider population. It is definitely time for more of a grown-up approach to reporting and less of the level that can only be aimed at increased circulation. I, for one, would welcome a return to intelligent reporting in a way that informs on the background and the progress without frightening the population or jeopardising the safety of the armed forces.
Alan Hughes, UK

I think the way the media has reported the entire disaster has been so irresponsible that there should be a public enquiry. The amount of coverage that has been given in the daily newspapers and on the national television news is so over the top. The majority (as is the way with the media) of the news printed and reported is hearsay. The only purpose I can see the reporting serving is stirring up bad feeling in the western world against Afghanistan, a country that has nothing to do with it given the evidence in front of us.
Andrew, United Kingdom


We should stick to reporting real news

Larry, USA
I am grateful for the news coverage around the world, especially the first 48 - 72 hours after the terrorist attacks on America. Since then, real newsworthy events have not kept pace with the appetite for action or simply the need to know. The news industry has a lot of time to fill and columns to publish, thus every ex-official gets his shot at counselling the present governments on what should be done and how to do it. The fact of the matter is all these ex-officials posing as experts simply have no clue, and we should stick to reporting real news.
Larry, USA

I'd reached a point early on in the media coverage where I had to start limiting my intake of the story: I'd reached sensory overload. The current news load seems to be buoyed only on second-guessing and speculation right now. There have been few new developments but news directors have to find something to put on the air to fill time and make themselves look good. It's been evident since the beginning of this crisis they'll report anything, as long as it's shocking and tends to lend a "new angle". Unfortunately, that's how many of the unsubstantiated rumours have been circulated - all in the name of "good journalism".
Andy, United States

I'm unsure what media coverage everyone else has been watching, but I have been very pleased with what I'm seeing. There has been a clear effort on the media's part to make a distinction between the terrorists and Arabs or Muslims. In every prayer service I have seen on television many religious leaders spoke from different religious backgrounds. I've even gained a lot more understanding of the plight of the Afghan people. If anything, the media coverage has exposed how complicated an issue this is, and how a typical war will not solve anything. I think those who accuse the media of fanning pro-war and anti-Arab sentiment are just looking for it.
Jordan Medeiros, USA

The media have, I believe, failed the public on this whole issue. Particularly in the tabloid press we have witnessed the type of sensationalist hype that causes people to panic and rush out to the nearest army shop for gas masks. We ought to have more faith in our leaders. They are taking things at a steady pace. Why can't the press? Why do they have this habit of making things look worse than they really are? The answer, I fear, lies in the pockets of the media tycoons.
AH, Scotland


The media are simply putting two and two together

Hugh, England
"Speculation" about such matters is usually guesswork based on information that is already in the public domain. In most cases the media are simply putting two and two together for those who would not or could not do so on their own. As for news organisations that give cool-headed assessments of the facts without trite emotional fluff, I suggest The Economist (and the BBC, of course).
Hugh, England

All the media are dying for some action, the more dramatic the better. And their reports reflects this - it's as if a sense of restlessness has taken over, everyone poised for action to happen. The purpose? They want to up their circulation or readership. I feel sorry for the people who have to answer the media blokes' quest for action.
Jun, Singapore

It is not so much the speculation as the tone of the commentary. The word "war" is used in excess. An example yesterday was when Tony Blair made a strong speech but also mentioned the innocent oppressed people in Afghanistan. I didn't hear him mention the word war but the newscaster's script predominantly featured warlike overtones and made no mention of the other half of the PM's speech
Paul Janes, UK

I am growing tired of the endless sensationalism that pervades media coverage (except the BBC). Morning headlines turn me away from reading the newspaper coverage: zero journalistic ability or integrity. What I want to know is: what is the evidence against bin Laden? What about other terrorist groups, both here and abroad? What military steps are actually being taken? Whose troops are involved and how many? Forecasts of war do not help, they just cause panic and fear (terrorism in all but name). We can make up our own minds, thank you. Just give us the facts!
Tim Cooper, UK

Muslims are peaceful people but the media is making them out to be monsters. Do they think the public is really so stupid?
F, Scotland


There is such a thing as disinformation

Alex Duggan, UK
Careless talk does indeed cost lives, but there is such a thing as disinformation. Just before land operations in Gulf War, all the armchair pundits were talking about an amphibious assault on Kuwait. CNN - which Saddam watches - even broadcast footage of marines practicing landing manoeuvres. But the eventual attack came from inland, sweeping behind the city from the Saudi border. Let's hope a similar surprise is planned for the terrorists - and that the media are being used to wrong-foot them or keep them guessing.
Alex Duggan, UK

My fiancÚ had only been out in the Middle East on military exercises for 24 hours, when the news broke of the WTC bombings. I immediately felt sick with worry because "another Gulf War" was resounding throughout every news station. News stations were showing pictures of British Paratroopers leaving Dover, and Navy Ships heading for the Middle East. The Saif Sareea exercise was named, as was it's objective and exact location. Whilst some stations got their facts right and correctly stated that the military personnel pictured were leaving to take part in the exercise, others implied the forces were leaving to go to war as American allies! Thanks to speculating and sensationalising, I have lost a stone in weight and not slept for two weeks.

Eventually I had to make it my mission to avoid reading or watching any news in order to keep my sanity. My thoughts are with the victims of other conflicts and families from the rest of the world who have suffered as a result of terrorism and war over the last 50 years. I can only wish that the sheer magnitude in loss of lives was portrayed as comprehensively for every tragedy.
Dawn Saxby-Willis, UK

Since 11th of September I have seen nothing but propaganda material, which has only made it more obvious that perhaps what we hear is not always what is true. After researching some of the stories that I have heard since America was terrorised I was surprised and disturbed to find that some of them are inaccurate and exaggerated. The news today is fuelling hate. Hate not for those who caused the WTC to collapse, but for people that are our neighbours, friends and colleagues. The Media has been immature and irresponsible of late, and it is very sad.
Dan MT Slatter, UK

There is definitely too much speculation - the key word being speculation - by the media. People are being frightened by this speculation. We are frightened enough by the facts without the media adding to it.
Joyce Lacerda, USA


We are fighting for basic democratic rights, which include the right to freely discuss and speculate in print

Bernard, UK
We should remember just what we are fighting for: basic democratic rights, which include the right to freely discuss and speculate, whether down the pub or in print. Speculation does not do much to cause fear, as has been claimed, but secrecy and state control of the press, restricting what they can publish, will both breed fear and give the terrorists a victory of having destroyed some of our basic rights. Obviously actual operational information and opinions from military sources who were or are in position to really know what may be done in detail should be considered confidential, but speculation and comment in the papers and from completely uninvolved ex-servicemen should be free.
Bernard, UK

Using Schedule D on this is paranoid and indicative of the nanny state we live in. I want to know what's going on as an informed citizen (sorry - subject) of this country. Fine - I'll read US news and watch CNN.
Emma Kane, UK

Yes there is too much speculation, most of it coming from these forums! We are two weeks after the disaster and, let's face it, not much has happened. Yet these discussions are still almost exclusively devoted to navel-gazing about terrorism. Can I enter a plea for more varied topics?
Andrew, UK


I don't think it's right that the media are allowed to divulge the whereabouts and actions of the SAS

Kate, Berkshire, UK
It seems to me that with the way the media are continuing to cover the terrorist attack in the USA, they would consider it juicy news if the world did go to war. This appetite they seem to have for death and destruction really disturbs me. I don't think it's right that the media are allowed to divulge the whereabouts and actions of the SAS, of all people. After all, isn't it the idea that they are the "secret" service?
Kate, Berkshire, UK

As always of course there is too much media speculation. I hate the media. What a field day you had with the world trade centre. The papers are just as bad if not worse. How could they publish still photos of people jumping out of the windows? Yes it is major news, but did I really have to watch the planes crashing into the centre from thousands of different angles every two minutes? Did I have to watch the slow motion replays? It disgusted me that one reporter sounded positively excited as the first tower collapsed. What about the rest of the news in the world? Or wasn't there any?
Andy, Wales

I am appalled at the amount of over-coverage of these latest events. It is a hysteria created by the media, whipping everyone into a frenzy of fear and antagonism against the chosen target. By this hideous obsessing over the event and speculating over possible retaliation, the media are giving the perpetrators of this unspeakable act continued satisfaction in seeing us all drawn in to a whirlwind of fear and confusion. And for heaven's sake, why are you all going overboard about bio-warfare? How can you possibly justify whole articles about this? It achieves nothing but fear and hatred in the hearts of ordinary people.
Helen , UK


Speculation by the media is pointless

Corinne Goater, UK
Speculation by the media is pointless, everyone is doing that already in the offices and pubs throughout the land. What we need is hard facts. The main starting block for any discussion has to be: where is the enemy and how can we hit him without getting badly mauled ourselves? The media are just trying to talk up a good story, most people know that this "war" will be conducted in the boardrooms and conference venues as we slowly choke off supplies, safe harbours and funding to these organisations.
Corinne Goater, UK

Is there too much speculation about military action in the media? No, there is not. It is to be expected that the media reel out conjecture after conjecture in an attempt to fill airwaves. What news programs should do is report news, i.e. new things, not feel obligated to broadcast hot air and hypothesis when they have no facts. CNN has a huge responsibility to carry. If it was not for their blanket coverage of every nuance of the Gulf war & the video footage of the surgical strikes hitting targets neither Sky nor BBC would feel obliged to keep on air the tepid 24-hour news channels they both produce. When commentators look back on the journalistic impact of BBC News 24 I seriously doubt they will be able to find anything complimentary to say about it apart from it stopping fatuous game shows and reality TV programmes.
John Appleby, UK

Having observed the news coverage of the last few weeks, it is evident that the media are cranking up the tension and building on our fears of a war. There has got to be end to this constant war-mongering that is in the gutter press and on some radio stations. It comes to something when you can look at potential Afghan targets on a BBC website. Do you not think that the terrorists have access to the internet? Whatever happened to the element of surprise?
Ronnie Leste, UK


The media is adding to the anguish families and children are feeling

Di Stewart, USA
I live near a large military base and the departure of troops for extended exercises is part of the usual routine. Waving goodbye to a family member is heart-wrenching enough without the media taking the opportunity to use the "going to war" angle when in fact, it simply isn't true. Right now, I do believe the way the media is representing typical military deployments is adding to the anguish families and children are feeling and they need to stop this right now.
Di Stewart, USA

Though we are all obsessed with news, there is a growing unhealthy interest, and in some cases addiction, to comment on the news. There is a very definite distinction between news and comment. News is fact (usually), comment is someone's interpretation or opinion on that news. The whole US crisis would be a lot less sensationalist and alarmist if the media concentrated on news reporting and cut the comment.
Matthew Strong, England

The US coverage has been fair. I do not think people around the world understand the extent of the damage in New York. The US media had more than reasonable grounds to become anti-Arab, but they have gone out of their way to not to be. If London's financial district had been destroyed in the same manner, what would the BBC be saying?
Alan Trekker, Canada

Since the media are raising so many speculations, how come no one raised the issue of the Black Boxes found in the three planes? Maybe evidence is there that can unravel the mystery. Maybe the media does not want to find the truth. It's better money speculating! Well as many others I have found BBC to be the closest source to the Truth and CNN the furthest. I am glad that someone from the West still cares to spread truth rather than publish sellable rumours, AKA Trash!
Olama, Lebanon

Given the advanced knowledge of planning and current involvement of special forces reported by the media, we should all hope that terrorists can't read.
Julian, England


The British tabloid media has plumbed new depths

Nick Evans, UK
The British tabloid media has plumbed new depths in its inane and crass coverage of the military build up. The Daily Express leads the way with its "Take Him Out" headlines and superimposing gun sights on bin Laden. While I have no particular qualms about the targeting of bin Laden and his ilk, surely we should have a more educated analysis of the situation rather than endless stories about how "our boys" in the SAS are going to take out bin Laden. Even respected media organisations like the BBC have been crass in their coverage, particularly the biased and inflammatory Question Time programme, just days after the tragic event. The media's irresistible urge to gain information has led to questionable analysis and standards throughout the crisis.
Nick Evans, UK

Let's not forget that the media are there to make money. If facts need to be stretched to sell to the public, then that's what will happen. Do we really need the media to instigate panic? Tell us what we need to know - not what the media thinks!
Sandra, UK

Journalists have to fill column inches don't they? The real problem is the public who pay for it and believe what they read.
P, UK


Never let the facts get in the way of a good story

Robert, UK
Journalists have always speculated about any subject that they decide to report on, using any angle that they deem appropriate. What is the statement they use, "never let the facts get in the way of a good story"?
Robert, UK

I would like to see more facts instead of channels trying to fill up the news with waffle and obvious rumour-mongering.
Adam, Chelmsford, UK

The US media is treating this as a circus (not unusual). This is not the end of the world, simply the beginning of a long low-grade war employing many means of assault: financial, diplomatic, the law, and, yes, some force. How long can the speculation last and why is it focused on swift action? The effectiveness of force improves as the timing of the strikes becomes a surprise.
George Ilton, USA and Italy

Reports and speculation on military action in the media can kill our soldiers. To the extent that information can help the enemy, the media should impose strict self-restraint in its reporting.
Nelsa, USA


I can't understand how a civilized person can say that the news has overdone it

Doree, USA
I for one appreciate all of the news that I am given in the United States. That is part of the freedom which causes so much hate of our country around the world, it is obvious here on this forum. I for one am glad to show the world the evil which has been done to my beloved country, and proud of our response to aid those in need there, and hope that no one ever forgets, because once you become comfortable in your lifestyle, this could happen at your home! The unbelievable evil has in NY alone killed over 6,500 people. I can't understand how a civilized person can say that the news has overdone it. I Love the USA, and wait for the justice that is coming, and applaud it.
Doree, USA

The enemy didn't know of the existence of Bletchley Park until after WW2. Talk of action to come should be kept on a need to know basis not broadcast to the whole world. When we have lost thousands more young lives I hope the politicians will be proud of their strong brave words. America couldn't win in Vietnam yet now they plan to whip fanatics and terrorists. Fat Chance!
Chris P, UK

I think that the media is adding to the public's worry about events in America and the Gulf. Whilst not wishing to be seen as unsympathetic, we do now need to move on and get back to some sort of normality. The media can aid this by cutting down the amount of coverage that they give these events. Any developments will be communicated by the media, but hopefully not in such a sensationalistic way.
A. H., UK

Today, society seems to be obsessed with reality TV: "Big Brother", "Survivor", "The Amazing Race". But "Attack on America" is just the ultimate, isn't it? We all sat and watched America's ABC Vs. CNN on who interviewed who, who had which expert observation, who had the best handycam footage and which looked best in slow-motion. With the initial breaking news, and a rising death tally we all had enough bitter memories to last a lifetime. The need to interview every resident of NY just seemed like overkill. I understand the need to be up-to-date with world events, I understand the need for retribution, but is the morbid fascination with death and destruction really the road that we, the people of the world should be walking down?
Damian, Australia

Speculation has its place in opinion columns, but journalism ought to keep to what is truly known and what is truly happening. Confusion and the types of dread that it causes, arising from multiple conflicting versions of any scenario, can serve as a weapon that terrorism knows well and uses effectively. Terrorism likes best to cause widespread confusion and fear among its targeted group. It also thrives on paranoid silence, which results from the opposite of open and honest communication. There is a careful balance in between, where we are able to strive to live, and in many ways journalism ought, at its best, to achieve a kind of leadership in that regard. The BBC does better than most.
Robert Morpheal, Canada


The coverage has become nothing more than a ratings competition

Deborah, Australia
The coverage provided by the major networks was initially informative, but as time has progressed has become nothing more than a ratings competition. The networks are comparing who can get the most "eyewitness" and so-called "terrorism expert" interviewees who really give us nothing more than their opinion with the interviewers asking questions that really don't need to be asked.
Deborah, Australia

I have noticed over the last couple of days that the 'fight against terrorism' is now a 'fight against international terrorism'. Does this mean that a country's fight with terrorists within its own boundary is outside the present remit?
Dave Price, England

Media editors are very adept at making speculation look like information. You probably never believed much of what you read in newspapers before - and this is certainly not a good time to start! I'm in favour of the public's need for information being sated - so long as the information supplied is reasonably accurate, and does not compromise the safety of our people out there in the firing line.
Chris, England


Is there one news service out there that will stop the sensationalist rubbish and ask the tough questions?

J Rogers, Saudi Arabia
I used to be pro-USA, pro-Israel and pro-anything Western World, until I came and lived in Saudi Arabia. The news coverage of the events in the US has turned me 180 degrees. Is there one news service out there that will stop the sensationalist rubbish and ask the tough questions? It does not require much intelligence to see that there is more to this than what the world is so obviously meant to think. The real losers are the Arabs and Islam. I still need to know why not one security service in the world got even a whisper of what was about to happen? I now read the local newspapers and enjoy the balance and absence of sensationalism.
J Rogers, Saudi Arabia

I would like to express my dislike of US media coverage. That's why the BBC is like a breath of fresh air to me. I am tired of the US media forcing their opinion on the people. I am also deeply hurt by some of the comments on this topic. For some of the people stating that we should not fight fire with fire, and that no more lives need to be taken, I suggest we build a new tower, then put you in it, while doing nothing to prevent terrorism.
Lucjan, Texas, USA

The media - especially broadcast media - is not doing a good job at covering this story. They focus on a minority of radical fundamentalists, with tight shots and give them undue weight, making everyone believe the opposition is so strong. When are these "journalists" going to do some real legwork and give a truly balanced view of the situation?
Art, USA

The media should report only the facts as known and stop encouraging the 'Armchair Warrior" syndrome.
Noel Crump, England


The media coverage in the US has been despicable

Wisam, NYC, USA
The media coverage in the US I'm sorry to say has been despicable. The coverage has given no regard to the millions of Americans of Arab and Muslim decent who watch their programs. Much of the backlash against Muslims in the states is due to the media's coverage over here. A terrorist is a terrorist no matter what perverted beliefs he or she follows, even though their barbaric beliefs go against Islamic teachings. And yet they were still referred to as "Muslim terrorists", therefore implying that they are acting in accordance with Islam.

The media was quick to show the faces of some of the suspects who allegedly died in these horrific, unjustified attacks who turned out to be alive in some other countries, yet didn't do nearly as much to retract those stories which turned out to be false. They were also quick to show a few Arab children jumping up and down, yet didn't mention the 5 Israeli men who were arrested cheering and rejoicing the day of the tragedy.

Even America Online, which has plenty of Arab and Muslim subscribers, has shut down its Arabic chat rooms. If that isn't discriminatory, I don't know what is. This shows journalism and the media at its worst. Many thanks and congratulations to the BBC on providing some of the most balanced and unbiased coverage I have come ever come across. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families that were affected by this travesty. We will rebuild, and overcome. And no matter whom the evil culprits of these attacks were, we will get you. God Bless the USA.
Wisam, NYC, USA

I don't expect the UK and the US governments to reveal specific military plans. What is important - and there is no speculation about that - is the strong international support for divisive measures against Afghanistan and bin Laden which are building up.
Julian, UK


There's no grand conspiracy of warmongering

Stephen, USA
There's no grand conspiracy of warmongering, it's just that the networks which are lacking sufficient knowledge about military matters and have too little to say before the shooting starts, wind up spewing endless rhetoric and filler, most of it misleading or incorrect in some capacity. If they stuck to the "facts" more and ended the endless speculation, I'd be grateful.
Stephen, USA

I have seen surprisingly little speculation about possible military action. All we are told is what hardware is available for use in any action, where standing naval forces are located, what airfields would be available - all of which we know already. Apart from that we have been shown little more than pictures of aircraft and maps of Southern Central Asia. The only meaningful speculation at this time is that by the people likely to find themselves at the receiving end of military action - they know where it hurts, and that is where they expect to be hit.
Peter, Europe

The use of words adds an important dimension to how this whole thing will unfold. The coalition spokespersons could make improvements in this area. "Operation Infinite Justice" was badly chosen "Crusade" a no no-no, as was "wanted dead or alive". Now we have "Enduring Freedom" which is rather depressing as it conjures up images of long queue's at security checks, ID cards, economic downturn etc. Please can we have a bit more thoughtfulness and simplicity: "Operation stop terror" sounds good to me.
A J F, UK citizen, Singapore


It's the same kind of media hysteria and hypocrisy which came into being after Diana died

Jau Lei, UK
The media keeps stirring up for war and panic stories. It is now two weeks since the events, and though I was shocked and saddened, I cannot see what good it can do obsessing over it. It's the same kind of media hysteria and hypocrisy which came into being after Diana died.
Jau Lei, UK

As a Canadian living relatively close to the border, I have been subjected to the deluge of "informative" media from the USA. What I found especially disturbing was the ad for "America's New War, tommorow at 7" etc. What have we as a global society come too when we can calmly sit in front of our televisions and watch an ad for something so ridiculous. I have yet to witness one single piece of conclusive evidence directing any amount of blame upon Osama bin Laden. With this blame being placed upon Islamic extremist, they are also labelled as "evil" and "cowards." I am neither defending nor condemning the actions of whoever is responsible. Yes the tragic events of 11th September are beyond comprehension, yet society needs to maintain an objective perspective, and unfortunately, the man in the Oval Office is the last person to possess this quality.
Michael Leyland, Canada


The immediate coverage was excellent

Graham, England
The immediate coverage was excellent, reflecting what was happening and the general feelings of shock, outrage and sympathy. However, some 62 nations have lost or missing people, including over 200 from the UK, making it the single biggest terrorist act against the UK. Germany is in a similar position. Headlines continue to speak of "attack ON America" rather than "attack IN America". A simple change of preposition would change both slant and focus.
Graham, England

Comedy was taken off BBC2 on Sunday night because it was viewed as insensitive. It was, however, replaced by the much more palatable John Wayne in the Shootist.
Chris, England

I used to believe that brainwashing only happened in a non-democratic society. After watching American media coverage of 911, TV and newspapers, I now believe it also occurs in a so-called democratic countries.
Rebecca, USA


The media has been manipulated by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic

Huq, England
The media has been manipulated by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, their wild speeches acting as the fuel for cover stories. Real investigative work has not been produced, only what the Governments want us to believe.
Huq, England

The casualties that jumped from the towers should never have been broadcast as it portrayed the most macabre television coverage I have ever witnessed. Secondly the coverage of the financial effects on America, stocks and trading etc was reinforcing mixed messages. What will stick with me is that I felt the USA was grieving for the economy. In short, let's give everyone a medal and resume our financial duty to America.
Sara, Australia

Inevitably, with so much raw news and actual as-it-happens footage there will be some false moments. But considering what was involved here the media generally have done their very best to bring us, with unparalleled immediacy, the true gist of what has occurred. In New Zealand we live on the very edge of the world but over the last few days we have felt like we were living in New York. That has to be some sort of achievement. We thank Peter Jennings and dozens of others at ABC, CNN and BBC for their brave and insightful coverage of this 21st century nightmare.
Dave Smith, New Zealand


I find it embarrassing and am growing increasingly more sceptical of US major news broadcasts

Jeff, US
The coverage was definitely thorough but absolutely jingoistic in the US. I find it embarrassing and am growing increasingly more sceptical of US major news broadcasts. It's completely obvious that many aren't even investigating, they are being spoon-fed press releases from GW's crew. I haven't seen anyone but foreign presses even question who orchestrated the attacks. They certainly are toning down the US's role in training Osama himself. The "Let's go to war!" attitude is pervasive on TV, I haven't heard reporting of any other solutions. And, finally, what I find most disturbing - the "God bless America" being crammed down our throats 24-7.

What happened to separation of church and state? According to our own reporters, wasn't the attack partially motivated by religious zeal? Should we counter it with religious zeal too? I find it absurd that I tune in to CNN today and find a Christian prayer service! Not just news of the service, but broadcasting preaching and gospel songs. I love America because of its freedom, its history of accepting EVERY nationality and religion - not just Christians. Let's not forget that our country was founded by groups that were persecuted because of their religions. This is why they wanted it out of government. I want it out of the White House but unless its news, I also want it out of my living room. I make my own time for God, I don't want to go to the CNN chapel. That seems somehow inappropriate. The climate in the US is scary right now and it's largely the American media's fault.
Jeff, US

This past decade, a majority of the American media has, for the first time in its history, been controlled by so few people. I believe it's something like 85% of television and radio are owned by five different men such as Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner. Scary, isn't it? Americans have spent too much time trying to amass personal wealth and possessions that we didn't notice the subtle erosion of our basic rights such as the freedom of press. And now we are stupidly volunteering others away. Wake up, America, before it's too late!
Ernesto, New York City, USA

My husband works for a local news affiliate here, I have worked as a newspaper editor. In our experience, common journalists and editors are constantly arguing for better, fairer coverage, their cries unheeded. Management puts pressure on the common workers, advertising sales departments pressure management, legal departments cloud the issues further. I have with my own eyes seen informative, educational and vital stories edited down to nothing more than 30-second sound bites. The bitter truth is the best part of most news stories end up on "the cutting room floor", sadly.
S.A., USA

I have been extremely disappointed by the media, who immediately pointed the finger at the Middle East, and also still persist in labelling Bin Laden as the prime suspect. The Americans have neither given us evidence or a statement saying that it was definitely Bin Laden, merely he is the prime suspect. What infuriated me even more was the "exposÚ" on BBC World, which after two or three days had solved the whole mystery, interviewed numerous "experts" and friends of the accused, and even manage to find "exclusive" pictures of the Afghan leader, from a program in 1998. This seems to be a replacement for the JFK mystery that plagued the late 20th century. When will the credits roll?
Saif, UK

The media coverage has gone overboard . As usual American interests seems to be world interest. Any contradicting view would not be entertained. Let thinking men and women decide who gains most from these attacks. Definitely not Muslims nor Arabs. My sympathies are for all innocent victims, in Iraq, Iran Palestine Sudan, Afghanistan, America and many others. Victims of American and Israel's policies and the corrupt regimes that serve their interests.
Shahjehan, Global citizen, currently Singapore

I just love the arrogance of the British press and all the letter writers who urge President Bush to listen carefully to what Tony Blair has to say and not to keep him out of the loop. We all know how experienced Blair is at dealing with terrorists. He hasn't even arrested the Omagh bombers yet!
D. Young, UK


The media have been promoting mass hysteria

Ferri, Spain
I cannot believe the media, and the way they have been promoting mass hysteria. Yes, it was a major attack, but they went overboard, and the innocent Muslims all over are paying the price... being spit upon on the streets, and generally mistreated.. they did not deserve this and the media is to blame. Frankly, I think the Islamic community in the US should sue a couple of newspapers over this and the way they reported it.
Ferri, Spain

There has been way too much news coverage attacking every possible angle they could. If this kind of atrocity had happened in a developing country like those in Africa I very much doubt whether we would have been exposed to this degree of coverage.
Katy, England

Premature judgement, ready baked answers to all questions concerning the attack. Early declaration of war against unknown enemy, that's part of what I see in the media coverage of the attack. I can understand politicians rushing to provide the answers, but I expect more from the media, balanced coverage and clear evidence is what the media should follow and not rumours.
Mohammed El Shoukry, Egypt


Whenever the media has news fall into its lap it over-reacts

JR, UK
Whenever the media has news fall into its lap it over-reacts and saturates us with interminable rehashes of specials, repeats and pundits all going over the same ground time after time. The USA crisis is the latest example. In one session the second plane hitting the twin towers was shown at least 14 time in less than 5 minutes and totally lost it impact and horror. I no longer know what is happening as the overexposure has made me turn way from the news in a search for something more original.
JR, UK

Your coverage is informational, but your historic bias in favour of Arab terrorists compounds their atrocities. BBC has failed to give an accurate picture of anti-American, anti democratic and anti-Jewish hatred in the Arab World. Instead it panders and propagates the propaganda of Palestinian terrorists and hate-filled Arab extremist clerics.
Mike, USA

I am afraid that the perpetrators won the media round also, making it strike two for them, by alienating the peaceful silent majority of Muslims who will never see common ground with terrorists. Islamic terrorists. How many times have I heard this sentence in the last week. And why when followers of other religions commit a crime their acts are not pinned to their religions? I think that the media played into the terrorists' hands.
Y.Q.A., Kuwait

I am an American living temporarily in Austria. I see the comparison between CNN-US edition and CNN-Europe edition. It makes me sick to see American media prey on the victims just to receive good ratings, while it seems European news is much more concerned for people's dignity and privacy. I am ashamed how CNN hunts down victims and publicises their accounts and how we try to make a hero out of everyone. Reporters don't care about people, all they care about is their ratings.
Todd Hacker, USA


Bin Laden and his supporters have been tried and found guilty by the media

Zelly Restorick, Britain
It has seemed since the second plane flew into the WTC that war is inevitable and the chief suspect, Bin Laden. I do not in any way support anyone who uses violence to further their cause, but I do feel that Bin Laden and his supporters have been tried and found guilty by the media and many world leaders, although there has been no trial. Is this justice? The media has a huge responsibility to report the whole picture. I get the impression that there are plenty of people around the world who believe that killing and war do not end killing and war, but perpetuate it. But are we hearing their voices? My impression from the media is that a diplomatic solution is seen as impossible.
Zelly Restorick, Britain

It is quite hard to find out what is going on and I was bothered by screams of pure evil! and edition after edition of local papers with horror identikit photos of suspects. I don't need to be stirred, I am already stirred. I will not buy a newspaper again, long live the net. I'll stick with the beeb for its lack of rhetoric and clear un-emotive use of language.
Mary Lockley, Australia

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