September 12, 2022

Sunday was the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. President Joe Biden spoke from the Pentagon, saying, “I hope we’ll remember that in the midst of these dark days, we dug deep. We regained the light by reaching out to one another and finding something all too rare, a true sense of national unity.”

A sense of national unity seems like an impossible dream in 2022. Much of this newsletter will mention interviews from Sunday news shows that amplify the divisiveness and threats this country now faces just a couple of months before the midterm elections. More on that later. But, first, here’s more about Sunday’s remembrance of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history.

In his speech, Biden said, “I know for all those of you who lost someone, 21 years is both a lifetime and no time at all. It’s good to remember. These memories help us heal. But they can also open up the hurt and take us back to that moment when the grief was so raw.”

First lady Jill Biden was in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, telling the crowd, “So as we stand on this sacred and scarred earth — a record of our collective grief and a monument to the memories that live on in each of us — this is the legacy we must carry forward: Hope that defies hate. Love that defies loss. And the ties that hold us together through it all.”

Here are a few notable pieces on the 9/11 anniversary:

Meet the VP

NBC News’ Chuck Todd interviews Vice President Kamala Harris for Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” (Courtesy: NBC News)

Vice President Kamala Harris was Chuck Todd’s special guest on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” The two touched on a variety of topics. Perhaps the most notable was Harris saying domestic threats are harming America. Harris pointed a finger at elected leaders who are questioning the integrity of elections and will not condemn the insurrection on Jan. 6.

“It is very dangerous, and I think very harmful. And it makes us weaker,” Harris said. “I think what it sends is a signal that causes people to question, ‘Hey, is America still valuing what they talk about?’ I think that through the process of what we’ve been through, we’re starting to allow people to call into question our commitment to those principles. And that’s a shame.”

Harris also spoke about President Joe Biden’s recent speech condemning the actions of MAGA extremists, which included calling them “semi-fascists.”

Harris told Todd, “Joe Biden has spent his entire career … working across the aisle, his whole career. Sometimes he’s been criticized for believing in bipartisanship, for believing in compromise, for believing in working across the aisle, finding common ground. But there are moments in time when we have to also agree, all good people who care about our country, that there are those who right now are vividly not defending our democracy. And I think we want that our commander in chief, that the president of the United States, will speak up and raise the alarm about what this means to our strength and our future, much less our integrity.”

Speaking of Biden, Harris talked about the 2024 presidential election, saying, “Listen, the president has been very clear that he intends to run again. And if he does, I will be running with him proudly.”

Here’s the entire transcript of Todd’s conversation with Harris.

Domestic threats

As I mentioned above, Harris talked about the domestic terrorist threat in this country. It’s the same message that former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart on “The Sunday Show.”

Johnson joined Capehart on the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Johnson said, “In the first 10 years or so after 9/11, our government, multiple administrations, Bush, Obama, were focused on what we refer to as foreign-directed terrorist attacks. In other words, a foreign terrorist organization directs a large-scale attack against the homeland; 9/11, of course, the attempted so-called underwear bomber in Detroit in 2009, the so-called shoe bomber. These were all attacks directed by al Qaeda. That evolved to — in the period 2014-2015, when I was secretary — that evolved to what we refer to as foreign-inspired attacks, where a foreign terrorist organization on the internet tries to inspire an attack here in the homeland. And we saw a spate of those small-scale attacks, shootings. Now the principal terrorist threat to our homeland is domestic-based, domestic-based violent extremism. And Homeland Security, FBI need to be focused on that principally as the terrorist threat to our homeland.”

Johnson added, “We are more divided politically today than we were 21 years ago in the aftermath of 9/11. In the aftermath of 9/11, this nation came together in ways that we had not seen for years. I worry that, if there were another crisis, another large-scale attack of some sort, we would quickly, politically, fall into various different camps. There may even be an argument about who did it. There might be somebody who says, it was not that group, it was this group, fake news.”

Clinton speaks

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a guest on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday and talked about several topics, including remembrances of 9/11 and Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the latest involving Donald Trump and the FBI.

Host Dana Bash also asked who Clinton thought was the “gutsiest person” today in U.S. politics. Clinton said Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, adding, “because she has shown through all kinds of turmoil and challenge what it means to somewhat like the queen to be drawing an analogy here, get up every day, put on those high heels she wears, suit up to fight for the values and ideals that she strongly believes in. And of course Vice President Kamala Harris is someone who is breaking totally new ground, and I know that’s not easy.”

Bash asked Clinton about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent comments in GQ that Americans “hate women” and women of color, in particular, and her questioning whether the U.S. will ever have a female president.

“Well, I think it’s sad that we have so many people who seem to either resent or oppose women in the public arena whether it’s politics and government or the media or anything else,” Clinton said. “That’s something we have to keep standing up against and speaking out against. And I think that a woman will become our president at some point. I certainly understand all of the obstacles you have to overcome to get there. But I continue to tell young women and girls that if they feel motivated to pursue political office, they should do so with their eyes wide open about how hard it is. And unfortunately, social media, with all of its misogyny, has made it more difficult, but we can’t be bullied into silence of giving up on our dreams. We have to continue to pursue them and encourage others to do the same.”

Are you ready for some football?

“Monday Night Football” announcers Troy Aikman, left, and Joe Buck. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Another chapter in the special history of “Monday Night Football” begins tonight with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman taking over the broadcast duties. Buck and Aikman were the longtime No. 1 announcing team for Fox Sports, but jumped over to ESPN during the offseason when ESPN threw a pile of money at them.

Reports are that Aikman signed a five-year deal worth $90 million and Buck signed a five-year deal worth $75 million.

On a recent conference call, Aikman said, “(I) grew up watching ‘Monday Night Football’ and Don Meredith and Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell, hearing their voices every Monday night. It is an iconic property. It’s a historic booth. To be a part of that legacy, I can’t even put into words exactly what that means.”

Buck said, “I come at ‘Monday Night Football’ a little bit different in that I’m 53 years old, so I’m well aware of that booth that really changed the way we viewed football on television with appointment viewing on a Monday night, but I saw that booth from two booths down.”

Buck was referring to tagging along with his dad — famed announcer Jack Buck, who called Monday night games for radio.

Today’s the day

Today is the day of the big move. After 57 years on the air, the soap “Days of Our Lives” is moving to Peacock. In its place, an hourlong news show called “NBC News Daily.” The show will air at 1 p.m. Eastern on many NBC affiliates, and anchors include Kate Snow and Aaron Gilchrist, along with Vicky Nguyen and Morgan Radford.

“NBC News Daily” also will be streamed simultaneously on NBC News NOW and Peacock.

Media tidbits

Hot type

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

More resources for journalists

The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, sign up here.

Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
Tom Jones

More News

Back to News