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xmag.com : October 2001 : Behind the Hype

"Just Like a Movie"
 

The morning of September 11, I was hung over. The night before, in my
infinite wisdom, I had done the rock-star thing with a visiting band from Anaheim. The limo, the shots of Jager, the whole nine yards, needless to say, I wasn't ready for the events to bombarded us, on the air, around 6:00 a.m. Upon first hearing about the plane hitting the World Trade Center, I was thinking that JFK Jr. had been resurrected and was out flying his Cessna again. I
hadn't expected it to be a 767 with a complement of passengers on board. As the events slowly panned out that "Drive Time" morning, I found myself suddenly thrust into the job of "impartial news reporter," something that I was definitely not accustomed to doing. Hell, I'm an entertainer; I'm supposed to keep it funny, keep it light. With pounding head and dry mouth, I had to report on the atrocities as they came in. Initial shock and amazement slowly turned to worry and disbelief as the estimated death toll rose.

"I realize that most see the media as the people that
are supposed to have the good hair, the perfect
delivery and the impartial reporting."

 

It was about this time that the e-mail really began flooding my box. Random thoughts and opinions from my show's listeners, each of which I did the best to take the time to respond to, only to get 4 or 5 more for each that I did. Over the next couple of days, these e-mails underwent a metamorphosis into pictures of little girls holding American flags, weepy firefighters, and parody photos of Osama Bin Laden in compromising positions with a camel. I thought it sweet
for a few days, but after that, it really became too much. Like everyone else, I was horrified at what had happened, but I was starting to see it become a vehicle for overzealous nationalism and chest-thumping. When the reports of the hate crimes started coming in, my disbelief with the American people was tinged
with disgust.

Distaste reached its pinnacle on D Day plus 3 when I received a normally
routine kind of call. A man in his late teens on the other end of the line, doing his best to encourage me to switch my long distance plan. I finally lost it, "Please tell me that your shitty ass company is doing something proactive like helping the Red Cross or something." To which his response was, "Well, you know,
like any other business we still need to make a profit." I hung up the phone
furiously, hoping that their stock would plummet when the market finally reopened. A few days later, I got my wish.

I realize that most see the media as the people that are supposed to have the good hair, the perfect delivery and the impartial reporting. None of us really has the option of being biased. It's difficult to be impartial when the death toll has already reached 6,333. Of course I want justice.

My primary hope in all of this is that people can come to realize that it's not the nation of Islam that we're fighting, nor is it the Muslim faith. It's people that feel that business men and women from countries around the world that work in a 110-story building deserve to die without provocation...that's what we're up against. So, go ahead and fly your flag from your car and wear your Old Navy shirts. That's all well and good, but let's not forget who the real enemy is here. It's a bunch of low-tech, highly funded, widely scattered terrorist cells around the world. It's not going to be an easy fight, nor will it be over quickly, but rest assured that those in the world of heavy drinking and impartial reporting want justice as well.

 

 

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