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but the remaining 52 hostages were held until January 20, 1981. People’s opinion of Iran began to change immediately following the storming of the embassy. In a letter to the editor, James A. Booker noticed: “The recent crisis in Iran has produced mixed reactions in the United States. These have ranged in tone from conciliatory to violent. There is, however, a curious characteristic which is common to many of these otherwise diverse factions: a newly discovered sense of patriotism.” This new found patriotism fueled American’s perceptions of Iran as a threat to their security. The Hostages needed to be rescued, so some supported diplomatic means and others pushed for military action. On November 4, 1979 there was confusion among the American people. The Associated Press released two articles concerning the takeover. The opening sentence of the earliest article reads, “After a three-hour skirmish with U.S. marine guards, Iranian students seized the American Embassy in Tehran Sunday and took about 100 of its staff members hostage.”8The 8 The Associated Press 4 Nov. 1979. Mark Bowden Papers.
8first article describes the situation as a “skirmish” and does not describe the Iranian students in a derogatory way. The second article, published on the same day, possesses a different tone: “A mob of Iranian students overran U.S. marines in a three-hour struggle Sunday and invaded the American Embassy.”8The situation has escalated to a “struggle” and the students have now become a “mob” that has “invaded” the embassy. The tone of the media influenced the American public to voice their opinion on the crisis. An unnamed staffer at the Birmingham Post-Herald is quoted as saying: “The lines have just been jammed. Calls are stacked up. As soon as you hang up there's another call. Most are mad, some say that they want military action to free the hostages, others approve of the diplomatic route being taken. And some are calling that have never contacted their senators before.”9The news channels also began their report on the situation. Pictures of the mistreated hostages were released to the public. The students became “terrorists” and Khomeini became a “fanatical” who had no regard for human rights.8 The American people were inundated with reports of the unsafe nature of Iran and the strong hatred towards America. By day four of the hostage situation Americans were urged to leave Iran. The Associated Press began to publish articles stating that the Iranian capturers were mistreating the American hostages. An anonymous U.S official was quoted as saying: “The hostages were being pushed around, abused, intimidated, and mishandled.”10The images of Americans being mistreated heightened the resentment and anger felt by Americans. President Carter on December 4,1979 made a television appearance. He began his speech with: “I speak to you at a somber time. Fifty Americans continue to be held captive in Iran, 9 "Reactions to the Hostage Crisis." The American Experience. PBS, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.