This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Reid Davenport.
As the country prepares to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, four journalists who appeared on camera that day spent Friday night discussing the pressures of being both an American and a journalist during the attacks.
Moderator Marvin Kalb hosted School of Media and Public Affairs director Frank Sesno, former CBS anchor Dan Rather, former ABC anchor Charles Gibson and Fox News anchor Brit Hume as they shared the challenges of leading the nation through a state of crisis.
“Essentially, my entire professional life has been in preparation for this moment and I felt honored, it’s a strange thing to say, but I felt honored to be there,” Gibson said. While anchoring ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Gibson said his greatest challenge was reporting the facts despite knowing only as much information as his viewers at the time.
“You at that moment have to acknowledge to yourself that you don’t know what the hell is happening,” Gibson said.
Sesno, a Washington bureau chief at the time, remembered seeing the black smoke spewing from the Pentagon. With trembling hands, he called his news desk to report the attack.
Brit Hume of Fox News noted how anchors were looked upon for more than just information, but also emotional support that day.
“I was very conscious of trying to be calm and reassuring,” Hume said.
“However it may seem when you’re anchoring, you’re not a robot,” Rather, who worked for CBS News for 44 years, said. “Everything in you wants to cry out in grief, mourn for what’s happened to your country.”
A decade after the attacks, Rather said he still looks back on Sept. 11 in disbelief.
“Ten years later, it’s hard even now for me to get my head around it,” he said.