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KPBS Midday Edition

How Has Media Coverage Of The 'War On Terror' Changed Since 9/11?

People line up to buy newspapers on Sept. 12, 2001, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Chad Rachman / AP
People line up to buy newspapers on Sept. 12, 2001, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

In a few days, the country will mark the 20th anniversary of a national tragedy - one that resulted in a conflict that ended only a week ago.

While the national media’s reaction in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was largely supportive of the war, attitudes about the controversial foreign and domestic policy decisions that resulted from the attack have changed dramatically.

Critics have noted that American news media was overcome by a "veil of patriotism" when covering such conflicts, which often resulted in a failure to properly interrogate the nation's rationale behind the war.

As America looks back on the 20 years since 9/11, it also looks back on how the media has changed its coverage of one of the most complex armed conflicts in recent history.

Esteban Del Rio, a professor of communication studies at the University of San Diego, joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

"There wasn't a measured, critical response in mainstream media at the time," Del Rio said. "Twenty years later, you can see that."

Listen to the full interview here:

In the 20 years since 9/11, American media coverage of the War on Terror has changed drastically from initially supportive to deeply critical.