Americans’ Embarrassing Short Term Memory Loss on 9/11 Attacks

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


At the end of Missoula, MT, article on presidential poll numbers in Montana, I found this line:

Just 68 percent [of poll respondents] were able to identify the correct year of the 9/11 terrorist attacks (2001).

Which reminded me of these videos:

If you’ve watched those videos, you’ll know why I’m struggling to think up any insightful commentary. Is it worth pointing out that every society has its share of blissfully uninformed citizens, or that through the dark arts of video editing anyone can be made to look stupid? Or should I point out that we now realize the “Never Forget” slogan was at once overly optimistic and incredibly naive, considering the character and attention spans of the American people?

Actually, no. You know what? These videos are a great indication that the terrorists didn’t win. If the terrorists wanted to intimidate the American public or create a paradigm shift in the public’s thinking, they completely and utterly failed. Terrorism is the most important issue in the upcoming election for one percent of Democrats and five percent of Republicans. And, apparently, some of us think the September 11th attacks happened on August 16th. Take that, Osama.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest