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The Impact of September 11 on Public Opinion: Increased Patriotism, Unity, Support for Bush; More Interest in News

Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center has analyzed a number of public opinion surveys since the terrorist attacks on America, compared them to previous surveys, and reached some insightful conclusions about the impact of September 11.

According to Kohut, the attacks not only generated a burst of national unity and patriotism, but also increased the public’s trust in government and in the relevance of political leaders. Additionally, Kohut found that the terrorist attacks caused Americans to become more committed to U.S. involvement in the world and to a multilateral approach to international affairs. Support for increased defense spending reached its highest level in thirty years.

Kohut found that Americans are more interested in politics and political news since September 11. But interest in other domestic stories and foreign news other than terrorism stories has not increased much.

Panelists will discuss these and other findings by Kohut at this fourteenth forum in the series “Press Coverage and the War on Terrorism,” jointly sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the Shorenstein Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

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