9/11: Journalists Weren’t Checking Their Phones Every Five Minutes

By Jack Limpert

On September 11, 2001, Brian Lamb, the head of C-SPAN, and I were having breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel on DC’s Connecticut Avenue. When we got there at 8:30, another dozen journalists were in the dining room—Al Hunt, Bill Kristol, and others.

We had a nice breakfast  and about 9:45 we left, stopping to talk with some of the other journalists and then heading back to our offices. When I got to the Washingtonian’s office, two blocks away, the  magazine staff was sitting silently in the publisher’s office, staring uncomprehendingly at the TV.

At 8:46, an hour earlier, American Airlines Flight 11 had flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Seventeen minutes later United Flight 175 hit the South Tower and at 9:38  American Airlines Flight 77 hit the west side of the Pentagon.

While all that was happening, some of Washington’s best-connected journalists were enjoying breakfast and taking their time getting to their offices.

All our little phones and a lot of the digital revolution were still to come.

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