Synopses & Reviews
At first there were no words to describe the horror of September 11, only a national hush that expressed the sudden absence of so many innocent lives.
Then the floodgates opened: eyewitness accounts, expert analyses, bitter denunciations, tributes to fallen heroes, patriotic exortations, eulogies.spin. Almost immediately, the Bush Administration and the media launched an unprecendented rhetorical campaign aimed at manufacturing support for the "War on Terror."
A fascinating glimpse into the full impact of 9/11 on America's psyche, "War" "of Words" takes a critical look at the strategic use of language to create a series of national transformations. A terrorist attack became an "act of war," requiring commensurate response. The President, until then the butt of national jokes, ascended to Commander in Chief, while the leader of the city we love to hate became "America's mayor." TV ads for cars and clothing featured flags and firemen, showing that consumerism is patriotism.
With a keen ear for the hidden messages in our national stories, Sandra Silberstein unearths the dark side of this patriotic rhetoric, including the attacks on those who question U.S. policy and the denunciation of liberal intellectuals by the conservative American Council of Trustees and Alumni.
Timely and penetrating, "War of Words" shows how the stories we told after the attacks fashioned a post-9/11 American identity and reinscribed our national beliefs.
In a media age, wars are waged not only with bombs and planes but also with video and sound bites. War of Words is an incisive report from the linguistic battlefields, probing the tales told about September 11th to show how Americans created consensus in the face of terror. Capturing the campaigns for America's hearts, minds, wallets and votes, Silberstein traces the key cultural conflicts that surfaced after the attacks and beyond:
- the attacks on critical intellectuals for their perceived 'blame America first' attitude
- the symbiotic relationship between terrorists and the media
- (mis)representations of Al Qaeda and the Taliban used to justify military action
- the commercialisation of September 11th
- news as 'entertainment' when covering tragic events.
Now featuring a new chapter on the Second Anniversary and Beyond, including: the war in Iraq, the backlash against former 'heroes' and accusations of presidential mendacity.
A perceptive and disturbing account, War of Words reveals the role of the media in manufacturing events and illuminates the shifting sands of American collective identity in the post September 11th world.