Robert Corsini

One of the many great ironies of the 9/11 attacks is that the terrorists created a ‘reality show’ beyond all of Hollywood’s wildest imagination!

In my fifteen years working in television, producing ‘reality’ programs and documentaries for PBS, NBC News, Discovery Networks and others, it has always been about ‘eyeballs.’ The number of ‘eyeballs’ watching your show determines the level of its success.

The perpetrators of the September 11th terrorist attacks proved themselves to be more than capable television programmers. Their sinister brilliance is easily measured by the size of the global television audience watching their ‘reality show of reality shows.’ After all, at the time, no one could have imagined any program spanking ‘Survivor Africa’ in the ratings game, especially by one allegedly produced from a cave in Afghanistan! With the attacks, never before have so many ‘eyeballs’ been transfixed by the same frightening imagery, intense realism and human drama. ‘Apocalypse Live’ in your living room! You could almost smell it! Hollywood, with all of its billions, technical wizardry and shameless marketing and audience manipulation techniques, has clearly been outdone once and for all.

The double strike on the twin towers assured all eyes would be locked on target and the maximum number of people world-wide would witness, in real time, the mass devastation. The effectiveness of the terrorist message transmission has been immeasurable. I believe this component to their strategy has been understated and overlooked – we were attacked at the core of our collective nervous system, television. Three thousand dead and 16 acres of wasted real estate is nothing compared to the psychological impact of having terror instantaneously delivered to hundreds of millions of people. It was the ultimate ‘pirate’ broadcast. The resulting pandemic psychosis has been far more devastating and long lasting than the melting steel and vaporized concrete that was the WTC. And you can bet that this strategy of compelling the western world to watch its own destruction, will be employed in the next round of attacks.

Today’s controversy over the fact that ‘G’ men and women are welcomed with open arms and wallets by Hollywood, influencing content in our media systems supporting militarism and nationalistic themes seems irrelevant and pathetic. The people who will make a difference in the aftermath of this mounting global catastrophe, have by now, all turned off their televisions. The propaganda war has already been lost as Bush, Blair and Sharon find themselves leading increasingly divided citizenry, standing alone against the world and at war with Islam. If only Shakespeare was still around to commit this tragedy to verse!