Class Notes 9/29

What are we thinking about:

  • Cop Ride Along
  • Breakfast went bad
  • Excited to visit home
  • Missing family
  • Thinking about homework and how overwhelmed they are
  • Laundry before work
  • Started a job at Mulligan’s
  • Where to live next year
  • Finally good weather
  • Next class’s quiz is cancelled
  • Internship planning
  • Done with her group project- relieved
  • Thinking about working with CNA
  • New soccer coach- big meeting

What does a journalist do?

Report: give a spoken or written account of something that one has observed, heard, done or investigated.

Reporting is a small part of what journalists do. They gather information and inform people. They hunt for information, you can’t just sit at your chair and wait for stories, you have to go find them. Journalists observe, and fact check the information. Cross checking observations to ensure information is factual. The most sacred of duties is to be a witness. In order to be a doctor you have to have a license- not a single journalist in the country have ever been licensed. Journalists will never be licensed. Reason: freedom of the press. Unlike any other freedom in any other country. Ultimately, having any kind of license allows the government to tell you how to do your business. For journalism: it takes away your freedom, maybe suggests only people of certain education can practice. You will never have a license to be a journalist. Journalists are truly the essential watchdog. There is an ethical code but nobody licenses you. Do you have to be employed by an institution to be a journalist? The answer is no. You have people who are unlicensed and extremely powerful who are changing the course of history, the court is starting to define who a journalist is.

A journalist is someone who is not a licensed professional. Is a watchdog for the government. A journalist re-structures and re-organizes society. They observe and hunt for information. One of the main roles of a journalist is to organize the flow of information and give a guiding light to what is happening. Spotlight what is and is not important. 

Favorite Journalist: Sean Hannity, serves as a host of FOX News Channel’s Hannity. He joined the network in 1996 and is currently one of the most prominent and influential conservative voices in the country. He has secured many interviews with key political figures such as then-president George W. Bush and then-Vice President Dick Cheney, and an exclusive interview with George Zimmerman. He also previously co-hosted the second-highest rated program in cable news, “Hannity and Colmes.” Hannity isn’t afraid to hunt for stories, recently in 2014 he traveled to Israel to speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israel/Gaza conflict. He is known for his provocative style and free-wheeling, passionate commentary on politics and the American Agenda. Hannity is currently ranked no. 2 in Talker Magazine’s Top 100 Talk Host in America and was listed as No. 72 on Forbes’ “Celebrity 100” list in 2013. He has received many radio talk show awards. He is also the author of three New York Times bestsellers.



  • American Photography- A Century of Images
  • 1999- Horrible storm destroyed a town.
  • “Pictures are more important than anything” They are memories from the past.
  • We take and keep photographs for many different reasons. Some are great emotional memories that I want to preserve, some are milestones that I want to remember to remind myself I did that.
  • “Try to imagine the world today without photographs. It would like being a person blind from birth, trying to imagine the world around them.”
  • Pictures are life or death, that inspire us to act. Can save our lives, literally.
  • Photos define the 20th century.
  • Many shots that we can’t even imagine living without. They come so fundamental for how we view ourselves and how we view a particular era.
  • “You press the button, we do the rest.”
  • Brownie Camera- original Kodak was too expensive. The brownie was something new- a small solid camera with very few controls. Only cost $1.
  • People wanted visual records of their lives.
  • Before the Brownie, people would have their pictures taken only once or twice in their lives. Portraits changed peoples lives, photos became more casual as time progressed. Posed portraits were common, very stern.
  • In the first year alone, a quarter of a million brownies were sold in America.
  • Photography became a great American art, picture post cards became popular
  • People sent postcards for many reasons- fulfilled the function of newspaper photographs- they couldn’t afford it.
  • Coverage of really big events, 10’s of millions postcards produced every year.
  • Photo montages became popular- exaggeration photo montages.
  • Many photos highlighting suffragettes, found in many ancestors attics- preserved out of respect.
  • For most of 19th century- if photos were to be used in books they would be glued in by hand, one at a time.
  • in 1905- “The National Geographic” was losing money fast, found pictures of Lhasa in Tibet and decided to publish them. The general public loved the pictures. Editor began filling the magazines with more and more photographs. Suddenly the wonders of the world were on your doorstep. Photography made the National Geographic very popular, Americans learned a great deal from it.
  • It was through the magazine pages where Americans were able to form their view of others around the world.
  • Edward Curtis was a great photographer- made it his enterprise to photograph the people he thought would disappear. Curtis gave non-indians a view of beauty. What Curtis did was extraordinary- left us with an incredible legacy. That last brief shining moment when we looked glorious, when things weren’t shattered. For me, and for a lot of native people, those pictures give us a fantasy, I want a real picture of the daily world, the way people were living it. Curtis can’t give me that.
  • “Is photography an art?” Where is the art when all you do is press a button, can it be compared to paintings and drawings?
  • Photo successions movement- stepping away from normal photography. Changing the way photos were taken- making them more artistic- “filters”?
  • Victorian photographs looked like art, like drawings, like beautiful rich prints.
  • Meant to have darkness and sketchiness. The pictures have a very seductive quality- that of a dream world. Where you can enter a floating experience that is like music. Photography was made by a machine, no it really wasn’t. It needed human intervention to really become art. 

White House Correspondents Dinner- Cecily Strong’s Speech

List of jokes with corresponding stories:

  • Hillary Clinton running for president:
  • Ethnically ambiguous girl from college brochures:
  • Hillary Clinton’s Announcement Video:
  • Joel McHale correspondent’s dinner:
  • Joe Bidens massage:
  • Barney Frank Gay Congressman-
  • Women’s Rights and abortion:
  • C-Span jokes:
  • Washington Hilton- Congressman and prostitutes joke-
  • Obama’s secret service trouble:
  • MSNBC jail shows:
  • Anthony Bourdain eating a cricket:
  • Huffington Post and AOL partnership:
  • Buzzfeed- list of why they shouldn’t be there:
  • USA Today slipped under the door:
  • NPR Serial:
  • SNL ISIS joke controversy:
  • Brian Williams scandal:
  • Don Lemon- gay and black anchor:
  • Game of Thrones- room of nerds:
  • Hillary Clinton’s emails:
  • Aaron Schock controversy:
  • Harry Reid punching bag:
  • Senator Jim Inhofe denies climate change with snowball:
  • Tom Cotton not a bunny rabbit:
  • Hillary Clinton’s appearance:
  • Martin O’Malley running for president:
  • Lincoln Chafee running for president:
  • Should Elizabeth Warren run for president:
  • Jeb Bush shortens his name:
  • Marco Rubio uptight on television:
  • Chris Christie cracks down on marijuana if elected:
  • Ted Cruz, canadien latino:
  • Rand Paul takes over family’s not being president business:
  • Nightmare to eat next to Michelle Obama:
  • Praying to mecca with Obama:
  • Hair is so white now it can talk back to the police:

I thought the speech went very well for Cecily Strong. It takes a lot of guts to go and make fun of such a serious room, and most certainly a lot of the jokes were received with “ooh’s” instead of laughter. There were many jokes that did receive audible laughter and even applause, which from one of the toughest audiences you’ll experience could count as a victory.

Blog Post 4

Pope Francis

Pope Francis is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic church. At 78 years old, he continues to bless and be one of the most dominant spiritual leaders in the world today. He made the decision to visit America for the first time, and he had a lot planned with little time. As he first arrived in America, he exited the car and was so pre-occupied taking “selfies” with school children that he was 20 minutes late to the White House. This kind of tardiness is genuine and sincere, as he is showing his compassionate love for all ages. Spending the time to reach out to children who do simply can not understand how important of a figure he is depicts what kind of a holy man Pope Francis is. I am not Catholic, but I have the utmost respect for this man, and the Godly works he does in and out of our country. There were many happenings that were well covered by journalists, from meetings with certain individuals to his final mass in Philadelphia, Pope Francis made the most of his time here in America.

One of the Pope’s first visits took place at the “World Meeting of Families” in Philadelphia, a festival headlined by Mark Wahlberg. After a soloist performance by a young singer, the individual told Wahlberg that he really enjoyed his raunchy comedy “Ted”. Wahlberg joking responded by telling him the movie was not appropriate for a boy of his age. Wahlberg then turned to Pope Francis and asked for forgiveness for the movie “Ted” and was greeted by laughter from the audience. I do not know if the Pope understood what he was talking about, and he himself also responded with laughter. Wahlberg then proceeded to explain that he had always hoped the Lord had a good sense of humor when it pertains to many movies he has created. It was very interesting to learn that the Pope had taken the time to attend such a ceremony, and the impact he had on all of the families invested in the organization had to be incredible.

Pope Francis spent time with sex abuse survivors, in a meeting that included many bishops from across America. “God weeps for the sexual abuse of children” he said solemnly.“I have in my heart, the stories of suffering and pain of the minors who were sexually abused by priests. And, it continues to overwhelm me with shame that the people who were charged with taking care of these tender ones violated that trust and caused them a profound pain. God weeps.” These words are heavy and spoken with such extreme tenderness that I know in my heart they are genuine. Pope Francis is truly pained by the hurt caused within the church and was making an effort to bless victims that have publicly made the violations known. Pope Francis then said he was committed to “a careful vigilance of the church to ensure that youth are protected, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.” Such serious issues being addressed by the man who is the worldly leader of the religion being scrutinized is inspiring to hear. Instead of appearing in the US and taking the easy way out to only address the positive aspects, he instantly tackles the most serious problem. Such humility and grace are lessons being taught by a holy teacher.

On Pope Francis’s final day in the United States, he began the day with a visit to Philadelphia’s largest prison- The Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. The inmates built a special chair for Francis to sit on while he met with the young prisoners and corrections officers. Francis told the inmates they are not alone and to not feel deserted during their time in prison. He also stated that the faithful should stay committed to helping the prisoners because ‘no one is perfect.’ To conclude his stay in America, the final US mass was held in Philadelphia, and was expected to draw in the largest audience from the tour. More than 1.5 million people were expected to try and experience the Pope’s final mass, showing how large of an impact a quick visit to the country was for people of the Catholic faith.



Class Notes 9/24

Fight or Flight: W-SR teachers learn to respond to armed intruders with ALICE

  • First run-through ended with a lot of deaths.
  • Now the teachers are being equipped to be prepared for intruders with ALICE
  • Second run-through proved to be more successful, with the teachers using the new equipment
  • That was all a drill- a pseudo event, something that’s engineered, orchestrated, produced to give people a closer experience to a real situation. Nobody knows how they would actually act when the situation actually happens.
  • As a journalist you write a story like this- different scenarios led to many different reactions from the teachers. Is it important to do training like this? Absolutely. Will humans always take it seriously? No, in your mind it’s all fake- not getting genuine reactions.
  • The way people use your journalism is not up to you.

White House Correspondents Dinner: Cecily Strong

  • First joke: already made a joke about who should be the next president- Hillary Clinton
  • The “ethnically ambiguous girl from every college brochure”- diversity
  • Hillary Clinton’s announcement video
    • Balanced for gender and for age, but no disabilities?
  • Talking about gay comedians, straight people making comments about gay people “Straight people-we’ve finally made it.”
  • “I’m going to go easy on you because my brain is smaller”- making jokes that women are more inferior than men.
  • Jab at Joel McHale for too provocative of jokes
  • Joke at Joe Biden’s massages, lot of stories where Joe Biden was rubbing the shoulders of German Chancellor Angela Marco
  • Bernie Frank- openly gay senator in Washington, no famous pizza from Indiana because of him- businesses refuse to cater to gay couple
  • Women’s rights and abortions joke- government telling women what to do with their bodies
  • C-Span jokes, only one camera, broadcast in real time. Broadcast the workings of the government, nobody watches of course
  • Washington Hilton- congressman and prostitute jokes
  • Washington Hilton- “man if these walls could talk- they’d probably say clean me.”
  • Secret Service joke- not received well by Obama, “bellhops- finally some good security.”
  • Secret Service is the only law enforcement agency that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot.
  • MSNBC jail shows
  • FoxNews has been losing a lot of viewers lately- RIP
  • CNN- Anthony Gourdain eat a cricket
  • Huffington Post- partnership with AOL
  • Buzzfeed- list of why they shouldn’t be there
  • USA Today- here because they were slipped under the hotel door
  • NBC- us at SNL got in trouble for dealing with ISIS, if anyone should get in trouble for not taking ISIS seriously is Obama
  • Brian Williams- what can I say? Nothing, because I work for NBC.
  • Don Lemon- gay and black anchor.
  • Game of Thrones- haven’t seen this many nerds before.
  • Hillary Clinton and her emails, blackberry thrower
  • Aaron Schock- vacation photos
  • Harry Reed- being a senator is a punching bag
  • Bringing a snow ball to congress
  • Tom Cotton- is a US Senator, not a rabbit
  • It’s been a great year for women- as always. Hobby Lobby
  • The big story- the Republicans forcing Obama out in 18 months
  • Hillary compared to Meryl Streep
  • Media invariably covering women- do not cover Hillary’s appearance- because that is not journalism

White House Correspondents Dinner

Two stories Obama addressed in his speech:

  1. “I have to do all of this stuff, and still find time to pray 5 times a day.” Obama addressed those who accused him of being Muslim. I found a story on the website “American Thinker” that has the title “So is Barack Obama Muslim or what?”
  2. “Michelle hasn’t aged a day. I always ask her what her secret is, and she always responds with ‘fresh fruits and vegetables!'” Obama was referencing his wife’s healthy food initiative in schools across the nation.

5 stories that covered the speech at the time and reflection:

  1. 8 Obama Jokes that Stood Out from the White House Correspondents Dinner
  2. CNN: White House correspondents dinner: Barack Obama has one mean wit
  3. Time: Watch the funniest Funniest Jokes From the White House Correspondent’s Dinner
  4. Deadline: 7 Best Moments of the White House Correspondents Dinner
  5. New York Post: Inside the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, aka “Nerd Prom”

After reading through the articles of the most notable jokes, I realized a majority of the ones were jokes that had stood out in my mind as well. I left with the impression that Obama really did have a funny sense of humor, and a lot of the articles seemed to agree with me. One article even went so far as to say, “if you have a rivalry with Obama, I suggest that you stay home on Saturday.” This was in reference to the many jokes that were targeted at mainly Republicans and past presidents. Overall I thought the correspondents dinner was absolutely hilarious. There were no jokes that went too far, although I did notice the only two jokes that were received coldly were jokes about news stations. I am still confused about that, but the rest of the jokes were greatly received by a warm audience.

Class Notes 9/22

  • Press Briefings
    • Extremely detailed documentation of the conversation between Press Secretary Josh Earnest and the press
    • There are written reports and also a Youtube channel: The White House
  • Press Briefing 9/18/15: White House Press Briefing (video)
    • Opens with informal comedic remarks and works with the crowd
    • Begins with an announcement regarding Obama’s changes to our nation’s Cuba policy
    • Obviously prepared and speaks with immense confidence
      • Setting the agenda for the media, that’s what most press conferences are about
      • The agency just wants to explain it and tell the media the importance of the changes made, they want what they say to be on the front pages of the papers, relaying the information themselves rather than a third party that could give skewed information.
      • It is your job to “spotlight” the important information but the way the media distributes it is completely out of your control.
      • “Your message is nothing more than a news tip.” And that’s what a news tip does, it alerts you of something but it is completely up to the journalist to choose the importance of what you are saying.
      • Once you send your message out, that’s the extent of it. That’s all you can do, you can’t tell them to put it on the front page, it’s completely up to them.
      • Journalists are regular people, it is easier to communicate with people when you look like a normal person, not the sterotypical “perfect” norm of a well dressed “FoxNews” or “CNN” reporter.
      • Makes the conversation much easier if correspondents “dress down”
      • “How much of Journalism is performance? How much is genuine, grassroots, investigative, hard nosed reporting?”
    • Josh Earnest opens the floor to the press for questioning. First question revolves around the Cuban policy he spotlighted in the beginning. He responded with a lengthy answer and even provided a real life example.
    • The press secretary announced the policy, firmly planted in the text. When answering questions, he’s not bound to the text but more thinking on his feet. He’s still obviously thinking through all of his answers but is still speaking confidently and fluently.
    • Question: Donald Trump rally “Obama is a Muslim”
      • “I had the opportunity to think through what  my answer might be to this question.” Knows what’s going on around the world and is prepared to answer such a question, he is so prepared that he has written some of it down, he is consulting his notes to make sure he hits certain points. Refers back to other instances to relate the press to his answer. Very very prepared and ready to answer many forms of questions. Turned from comedic to policy issues to failures of republicans in congress. Paid off that he was prepared and looked at the bigger picture.
  • White House Correspondents Dinner “Washington Celebrating Itself”
    • All about the relationship between the press and the presidency.
    • Another kind of narrative, on the other side of the spectrum from the press brieifing.
    • Obama opens with a comedic video, audience is warm with his opening of jokes.
    • Very lighthearted but actually pretty funny jokes, including Michelle Obama and Joe Biden.
    • “Do you have a bucket list, Mr. President?” “No, but I have something that rhymes with a bucket list.” Really good reactions from the crowd.
    • Take executive action on immigration, “bucket.”
    • Cuba Policy, “The Castro Brothers” are here tonight
    • Refers to being “Muslim” “I have to do all this stuff but still pray 5 times a day.”- Refers back to press briefing about him being a Muslim
      • The audience is obviously on his side- he’s poking fun at himself, self-deprecation, embracing the critique of your enemies, everyone is on your side, even your enemies.
    • “Michelle hasn’t aged a day.”- What’s her secret? Fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s aggravating.
    • You can understand the words, but if you don’t understand the concept, then you’re not part of the message.  You wouldn’t know what he’s talking about. 
    • Uses the language of his enemies, “Some people are so dumb.”- works so well with the audience.
    • Dick Cheney joke, during the George W. Bush presidency, “I think he was the worst president of my lifetime!”
    • Mike Huckabee, “people shouldn’t join our military” Calling the senators “iatolla”, writing letters to the White House.
    • Michelle Bachman predicted I would bring about the biblical end, “now that’s legacy.”
    • I’ve got to put this aside, and stay focused on my job. Just a few weeks ago, (Hillary Clinton) making a few million dollars, now living out of a van in Iowa.
    • Secret Service is really focusing on keeping people off my lawn. A drone crash landed in my lawn, (picture of Joe Biden with a bat) new security system.
    • I tease Joe sometimes, not just a great vice president, but a great friend. Joke about Gay marriage in Indiana.
    • Joke at CNN, received coldly from audience.
    • TV show “Blackish”- being black only makes you popular for so long.
    • MSNBC joke not received well either.
    • Jeb Bush marked himself as Hispanic, I remember when I marked myself as American in 1961.
    • Ted Cruz joke- Galileo, Ted Cruz believes the earth revolves around Ted Cruz.
    • Rick Santorum joke- not attending gay marriages. No problem
    • Donald Trump is here, “still”.
    • My middle name is “Hussein” I needed to raise money, what’s their excuse?
    • Hillary’s email account addressed, I thought her private Instagram would get her in more trouble.
    • Bernie Sanders might run, voters really want to see a pot smoking journalist in the office- turns the joke on himself.
    • Often joke about tensions between me and the press.
    • Luther- my anger translator. Addressing many issues calmly while Luther freaked out.
    • Obama gets upset and Luther decides that he doesn’t need him anymore, he needs counseling.
    • Brings light to journalists- those who passed this year, those who were unjustly prisoned. 9 months in jail, in an effort to bridge our humanity. We will not rest until we bring him home to his family safe and sound. These journalists view their work as more than a job, I raise a glass to them and all of you. “It is not the fact of liberty, but the way liberty is exercised. Thank you for telling our American story.”

Homework: find two stories he addressed in his speech and find the very specific reference to what he was joking about.

Find 5 stories that covered the speech at the time, reflect on how those stories, pay close attention to which parts of the speech made the news stories. Journalists pick and choose bits and pieces from his commentary.

9/11 Commission Report: Video vs. Document

After watching the official commission report video and reading a chapter of the written commission report, I realized that they are similar but also vastly different. The video allows you to connect emotionally with the tragedy, with clips of the actual World Trade Centers being hit by the planes to even showing airport footage of the terrorists getting ready to board the planes. It left little to the imagination and you were able to be drawn in through the emotion of interviews and live footage. The written report connected me to the story in a way I felt like I knew every detail. The written commission report is so precise, down to the details of what time the terrorists stepped foot in the airport to the exact time the cockpit was overrun. It got to a point where the details became so minute they seemed unnecessary, but I was unconsciously gaining so much more knowledge about the tragedy on a different level.

Both of the forms of the Commission report are very effective, and they were done very well due to the level of importance. I guarantee that if people who remember the tragedy watch or read the commission report, it will bring back all of the memories and there won’t be a dry eye after the fact. Both of the reports get the job done, but I preferred the visual commission report due to the emotionally driven force behind it.

Blog Post #3

Ahmed Mohamed’s Homemade clock


There have been many uproars regarding the police in the news recently, ranging from murder to homemade clocks. Ahmed Mohamed is a fourteen year old freshman attending a high school in Irving Texas. He had constructed a clock out of a pencil box, intending to impress his teacher. She took it in a drastically different way Ahmed had hoped, and the school contacted the police. He was arrested and told the reason was because he had committed the crime of creating a fake bomb. There is a picture of him leaving the school with the police officers, where he looks confused and upset. He was taken to the Irving police station and questioned by Irving Police spokesman Officer James McClellan. According to CNN, McClellan told the station, “We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only tell us that it was a clock.” The confusion garnered much attention from political figures and celebrities. Ahmed received and invite to the White House through a tweet from President Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg told Ahmed to visit Facebook sometime. It seems like an unfortunate misunderstanding, but there are more accusations arising from the incident.

As if the fact that he got arrested and questioned wasn’t enough, accusations revolving around whether or not the clock is actually “homemade” have occurred. Experts are stating that it seems to be a disassembled RadioShack clock stuffed into a metal box. Richard Dawkins, a famed evolutionary biologist joined the controversy, posting a video on his twitter page. The Youtube video stars electrical expert Thomas Talbot, which closely scrutinizes the clock. Dawkins followed up with tweet that stated, “If he’s right, Ahmed didn’t build it. Assembling a clock from bought components is fine, taking clock out of it’s case to make it look as if he built it is not fine. Which is true?” Electrical expert Talbot explains in his video that features of the clock such as printed circuit boards and ribbon cables are indicative of a manufactured product, he explained. These accusations are being taken seriously by many celebrities and engineers around the world. I personally am confused why it matters if he built it or just re-constructed it. Ahmed has been through an arrest and humiliation in front of his peers and the world, and now people are trying to shame him even more? I am struggling with why the “controversy” is being pursued.

A news article that struck me as interesting revolved around famed talk show host Bill Maher. The title reads “Bill Maher says there’s a ‘lack of perspective’ on Ahmed Mohamed. He discussed the topic with other panelists and stated, “And the people at the school thought it might be a bomb, perhaps because it looks exactly like a f–king bomb!” He also stated, “this kid deserves an apology, no doubt about it, but can we have a little perspective on this? Did the teacher really do anything wrong?” After hearing his point of view and taking another look at the “clock”, I honestly have to agree with Maher. It doesn’t clearly look like a clock, and the wires and circuits can mislead someone to believe it is something different. Maher puts the fault on history. Maher is not saying this due to racism, as he stated “It’s not the color of his skin. Excuse me, somebody look me in the eye right here and tell me. Over the last 30 years, if so many young Muslim men … and he’s young, 14, but that’s not like it’s never happened before, hasn’t blown a lot of s—t up around the world. And this guy, this kid deserves an apology, because he wasn’t one of them… For the last 30 years, it’s been one culture that has been been blowing s—t up over and over again.” His defense of the teacher seems to be one of the few voices who have “Not stood with Ahmed.” Is it out of fear? Are people fearing the thought of being accused of being racist just for agreeing with what the teacher did? One of the main jobs of a teacher is to keep the kids safe, and I feel like the teacher was caught off guard and her reaction was to be safe.

Ahmed has been through a lot recently. With a seemingly innocent attempt at impressing a teacher, it left him on the front page of CNN. The confusion has garnered positive and negative attention from those who support the 14 year old, and those who don’t. I believe Ahmed had good intentions and I hope this does not put a damper on his scientific explorations.












Class Notes 9/17

9/11 Commission Report (written):

1.1 Inside the Four Flights

  • Boarding the Flights
    • Boston: American 11 and United 175
      • Atta and Omari boarded a 6:00 A.M flight from Portland to Boston
      • Atta was selected by a computerized prescreening system known as CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System), created to identify passengers who should be subject to special security measures.
      • The only consequence of Atta’s selection by CAPPS was that his checked bags were held off the plane until it was confirmed that he had boarded the aircraft
      • Each of the hijackers would have been screened by a walk-through metal detector calibrated to detect items with at least the metal content of a .22-caliber handgun. Anyone who might have set off that detector would have been screened with a wand.
        • None of the checkpoint supervisors recalled the hijackers or reported anything suspicious regarding their screening.
      • Three other members of Atta’s hijacking team had been selected by CAPP’s in other locations,but it only affected the handling of their checked bags, not their screening at the checkpoint.
      • There were multiple instances where the hijackers would set off the alarm while passing through the security screening, but after being briefly wanded they were allowed to pass through with no problems.

9/11 Commission Report (video):

  • August 6th “PDB”
    • Bin Laden determined to attack in the US
    • This memo arrived one month before the attack
  • “The greatest failure of 9/11 is a failure of imagination, by all of us.”
  • Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon
  • Flight 93 continues its path towards another target
  • “Heroism and Horror”
  • The commission found no common training and reliable communication system among the policemen and firefighters that were on the scene.
  • Many workers were told to stay in their office because the “building was safe and secure”
  • Then the next plane hit the building and cost many more workers their lives.
  • Many of the problems could have been solved if their was better communication between a lot of people- including the police dispatchers
  • Part of the problem you’ll face is that “if too many people are trying to communicate with eachother at any level there will be interruption of communication.”
  • “New York has to stop thinking like a city, and start thinking like an army.” They’re now on the frontlines of a war.
  • United 93 is on it’s way to Washington DC. One of the terrorists was denied entry into the United States due to a brave airport worker who realized the facts didn’t add up.
  • Phoenix Memo: Number of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda members in the US intending to attack the US using the skills they gain here.
  • Wanted to check out the Middle Eastern students studying at United States and ensure they were not connected to Al Qaeda.
  • Less than a month before the 9/11 attacks, a middle eastern student didn’t want to learn how to fly but just learn how to take off in a boeing plane. The FBI was called but did not believe their was sufficient evidence for a criminal case. The FBI field agent who believed he was in the wrong, reached out to the CIA. He was an Islamist extremist who wanted to learn how to fly but was let go.
  • It was later confirmed that he was linked to Al Qaeda and Bin Laden and was going to be used as a backup if one of the other pilots could not do it.
  • A translator admitted that some of the other translators were sympathetic towards the hijackers, and some didn’t even speak the language they were supposed to speak.
  • The translator was fired, and two years later the FBI admitted it was due to the fact that she spoke up for her concerns.
  • United 93, the pilot continues attempting to deceive the other passengers about the intentions of the hijackers.
  • The passenger revolt began and the pilots decided to pull the plane down and crash the plane.
  • The commission report confirms that the military was in no position to stop United 93 from crashing into the capital or the white house.
  • The purpose of the report is to tell a story.

Homework: read a chapter of the written commission report and write an essay comparing it to the visual commission report

Class Notes 9/15

  • Blog Post: James Blake getting tackled to the ground due to a misunderstanding, no apology. He thought “was it a race issue?” Sad that there still has to be questions about racial equality. Police officer had to give up his gun and his badge, essentially is now on desk duty. “I felt targeted. I was actually smiling at the person because if I had my arms up I could’ve had broken bones instead of a bruise on my leg.” Police was trying to break up an identity fraud case.
  • Blog Post: Isis strikes again, two men for sale: one chinese and one swedish. ‘Whoever would like to pay’ Germany has closed it’s borders to refugees after saying they were allowed to come.

9/11 Commission Report:

Told in a chronological way, trying to piece everything that happened together.

  • 19 terrorists, “beat out our country’s defense”
  • “This was a failure of policy, management, and above all a failure of imagination.”
  • The commission was charged with: why was the nation so unprepared for 9/11? What could have been done to prevent it?
  • Commission report was done June 14, 2004.
  • 19 men prepare themselves for a final journey that turned the beautiful day to dust and darkness.
  • The US government was simply not active enough in combatting the terrorist threat before 9/11
  • If everybody would have been doing their job, none of them would have been got in. At least 9 of them had horribly forged passports, no one was looking carefully.
  • The checkpoint screening was really the only line of defense we had on 9/11 and it didn’t work.
  • One terrorist was found on a screen that needed to be scrutinized, checked his bag and found nothing, allowed him onto the plane.
  • All 10 passed through security although some of them are carrying knives. They were very skillful at exploiting the gaps, they knew they could get 4 inch knives in so they used that.
  • There was security footage where they set off alarms twice, the screener wands him, and with no questions they were allowed to proceed to the gate. Their bags were not checked, the bags were carrying mace and tear gas.
  • “You can get through the screening if the people working don’t care, don’t have a motivation to do their job.”
  • Most of the visas that were issued to these people were not even filled out, gross negligence, none of these things were picked up.
  • 19 men defeated every layer of airport security we had in place, Al quida has gone to school on all of these issues in order to beat out the defense.
  • They would buy tickets for some of the terrorists to sit close to the cockpit, two were sitting in the front row of first class, they were planning on attacking first. When the seatbelt sign is turned off, the first two terrorists stabbed the first class flight attendants. One man tried to come to the aid of the attendants but was instantly killed.
  • Flight attendants called in the hijacking from plane phones, calmly relayed what was happening.
  • Hijackers turned off the plane’s transponder, it was lost on radar. By the time the plane takes a direct turn towards NYC.
  • The plot started as a much grander plan, the original plot was to have as many as 10 or 12 aircrafts hijacked simultaneously. He wanted to have some planes explode over the ocean, then have the other planes crash into important buildings such as the FBI, and nuclear plants. Bin Laden thought it was too ambitious, wanted to scale it down to more important buildings.
  • The terrorists were hand picked by Bin Laden, highly motivated and sophisticated loyal terrorists who were fueled by a burning hatred for the US.
  • Intensive training followed in Afghanistan, how to make bombs and taught how to storm the cockpit and disarm and kill flight attendants and pilots.
  • Mohammad Atta and other pilots began flight training in the United States, received licenses to fly small aircrafts, then started to practice flying jet planes through simulations.
  • Waited to pick the best plane possible that would cause the most damage. They would take flights to learn how things worked. Don’t storm the cockpit, wait until they open him.
  • Al qaeda was financed by a lot of sympathizers in the gulf. Most of the terrorists had tourist visa’s, Atta accounted for a lot of the details, big and small.
  • Atta picked the date 9/11, when congress was back in session.
  • After 5 years of preparation, the final countdown had begun. They were so sure their plan would work, they didn’t need backup plans. It was so novel and unexpected.
  • The FAA and NORADC spring into action. “Is this real world or an exercise”
    • Multiple F-16’s begin searching for the aircraft but can’t find it. The important thing is to keep the passengers safe. No one thought they would use an airplane as a weapon, as a missile, and use it to aim it at a building.
  • The next hijacking begins over Pennsylvania, then turns it’s path towards New York.
  • Bin Laden was the most media savvy terrorist we’ve encountered, he had his own satellite, he got his message out there.
  • His rallying cry to rid saudi arabia of US troops. Bin Laden’s version of Islam is very specific.
  • “Black Hawk Down” incident was tracked back to al qaeda.
    • 18 US soldiers died in that battle.
  • Multiple embassy bombings occurred, many deaths and injuries.
  • Al Qaeda armed a boat with explosives and took out an American boat, caught the US off guard once again.
  • Flight 11 crashed into the world trade center first.
  • Flight 175 has been hijacked, Flight 77 from Washington DC was next.
    • Same pattern- first murder the pilot and co-pilot.
  • Flight 193 was taking off.
  • President Bush was visiting a school, and received news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, initially believing it was an accident.
  • Then found out there were multiple hijackings.
  • 9:03 AM, Flight 175 hits the South tower of the World Trade Center.