It’s That Time of Year – 9/11 Mistakes

It’s that time of year again –

While most of the country and world remember those killed in terrorist attacks near Washington, D.C., New York City and Shanksville, others make horrible PR mistakes related to America’s worst day.

Here are just a few items that appeared on the interwebs Wednesday:

First off Esquire Magazine claims it accidentally attached a photo of ‘falling man’ outside WTC with the headline ‘Making Your Morning Commute More Stylish.’



If it really is an accident, that’s really bad timing on their part. Delete immediately – or check your preview page. As a news web producer, I constantly check my work all day long and fix mistakes that show up, either on my part or not. I don’t catch everything immediately, but I do fix mistakes. I’ve learned that the web is fluid, it never stops, and it should be treated as such. If it sounds bad, don’t do it. You represent a company and have a reputation to uphold not only for you, but for your coworkers.

Second – AT&T tried to commemorate the day with a photo of the two columns of light at the World Trade Center site. Sounds nice right? Except the tweeted photo showed the new iPhone announced to the public the day before.


An hour later after it was smartly deleted, AT&T issued an apology on the same Twitter feed. “We apologize to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste. The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy.”

Well, at least they tried to make amends.


Lastly, a co-worker found this photo. Appalling yes, but wait a second. I have an issue with it. I don’t think someone purposely posted this inside a Marriott. I really think someone would have picked up on it; I think someone made it, placed it there, and then took a photo of it to post to the world. Meaning, people are now doing tasteless things just to get attention. Make sense?


What better and faster way to get publicity for you or your cause? No matter the outcome, you get your name out.

Remember that Kenneth Cole tweet during Arab Spring? How fast did you learn about it? There really could be a thing as ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity.’ But, there is such a thing as bad timing.


I’d bet in a few years the same thing could happen to the Boston Marathon bombings.

News, and tasteless acts travel fast today – which also brings up the fact that you don’t only double, you triple, or quadruple check your work now before posting it. Should I post this? Can something bad come from this? Yes. Ding! Don’t post, or rework the post.

It really is true – if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.


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