My Terrorist Act is Better than Your Terrorist Act
Since moving to Sydney, I have typically relied on CNN.com as my US-news source (not that the Australian media isn't oversaturated with US news stories, already). I have used CNN's website for some time as a place to quickly skim headlines and read about the major event happening in the States. My doing so, I must admit, has been at the expense of much teasing from friends, who -- like me -- have noticed a shift in CNN's values to mirror those of FOX News' sensationalist tactics (of which I have occasionally highlighted in the past).
Today I awoke to read about the Democrats' recent debate (which showed the strongest support of queer rights ever, even though Dennis Kucinich is the only one who actually supports gay marriage (the others support civil unions)); Rosie O'Donnell's new tell-all book; and a brief article on the uncovered terrorism plot against New York's JFK Airport.
In conjunction with their story on terrorism, CNN featured the following poll: "Would the destruction of John F. Kennedy International Airport by terrorists have as much emotional impact as 9/11?"
What an absolutely ridiculous question! I must admit, poll questions like these are what get me to go back to CNN.com on a daily basis. I don't even know where to begin analysing a question like this.
First, how could someone even begin to anticipate their emotional state following the destruction of a public place?! Likewise, circumstances could change for a person between the destruction of the World Trade Centre and another location. The person might have family working in this second place, yet knew no one who died on 9/11. It also seems to me that it is implied that the loss of life at JFK Airport wouldn't be as great as 9/11, so it wouldn't make it just as tragic. Similar to the fact that the London bombings didn't kill as many people, so the impact of those explosions didn't linger as long in the collective consciousness as the destruction seen in 2001 (at least in the States, I must clarify).
Overall, I felt like this poll question was almost a dare to the terrorists. As if the writers at CNN were saying, "You had your time in the limelight, terrorists. Nothing you can do will ever be as memorable as 9/11. We'd like to see you try and be as destructive as you were a few years ago." So not only does the poll question belittle any past and future acts of so-called terrorism, but it also subtly provokes any future terrorists to plan more heinous acts against unsuspecting citizens.
Perhaps next week CNN will ask, "Would you really care if another hurricane hit New Orleans?"