King Kong snaps the towers. The iconography of the 11th of SeptemberJust like the rest of the world The Netherlands too gave a lot of media attention to the attacks of the WTC, which because of its height, and despite its problems concerning infrastructure and leasing, had obtained a symbolic function for America and the Western world. Broadcasting politics and genre-demands created order out of the chaos of the collaborating news editorial offices of the public broadcasting networks. 'Nederland 2' presented a current of, often unedited, images from all 165 over the world; on 'Nederland 1' the experts (including the author) commented on the images in accordance with current affairs. Initially three important news elements were missing: images of the victims, of the offenders and of the official national media machine of the Bush administration. Eventually the victims should barely reach the hospitals; Al Qaida was only officially named after a number of days (and initially gave in the Netherlands an unusual amount of freedom to contribute background commentary); the disorganization of the government, and the absence of the President on television, resulted in the media machine of the Republican government to be one step behind at all times. A temporary fracture occurred due to these three elements: CNN became increasingly critical of the absence of Bush, and Dutch experts were able to direct the agenda of their news programmes - not limited by editorial story lines or sequences of images. These experts took on a different role than previously: no longer were they a support to the status quo but they were placing events in context; a moment of quiet for the illusion of clarity. Those commentators became a part of the media reality and therefore also selfreferential. The commentator contributes to the exposure of the construction of the visual culture as an element of politics.

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Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis

Oldenziel, Ruth. (2002). King Kong knakt de torens. De iconografie van 11 september. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 5(2), 135–142. doi:10.18146/tmg.528