The 20 Most Impactful Moments On TV

There are many moments in our lives that we will remember for a long time. Those memories are captured in real-life experiences, songs we heard or through broadcasts we watched live on television, uniting us with other individuals across the globe. The power of media is strong and has definitely impacted the way we watch and feel about certain situations. A new article by the Associated Press has done a survey with Nielsen and Sony Electronics to discover the most impactful moments in television.

The results span the last 50 years and include natural disasters, court dramas, famous deaths and more. According to AP, “the rankings are based on a questionnaire of consumers about events they had watched, if they remember where they were and if they discussed the events with others.” I thought I would bring these 20 experiences to you and share where I was and what I remember about them after watching it unfold on my television. Check it out below.

1. September 11 Terrorist Attacks (2001)

I don’t think anyone will ever forget where they were when those startling events took place on September 11. I remember watching a TV that was tuned in to CNN in my high school’s library and thinking to myself that it seemed as though I was watching some Hollywood movie.

2. Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Hurricane Katrina was definitely one of the worst natural disasters to hit the US’ east coast. It was devastating to watch homes get washed away while families clung to their roofs trying to save whatever they could. What was truly amazing was the countries rallying together to support the relief effort.

3. The O.J. Simpson Verdict (1995)

I was only 9 when the O.J. Simpson verdict was handed out on live television but I do vaguely remember the impact it had on people. My parents definitely tuned in to watch and I can remember them talking about for days afterwards due to the fact that so many couldn’t believe that he had been acquitted.

4. The Challenger Space Shuttle Explodes (1986)

I wasn’t even born yet when this event took place but I have since watched many videos of this tragic moment online. Imagine a space shuttle embarking on it’s tenth mission, only to disintegrate in midair, killing all seven crew members on board. Such a remarkable loss for NASA and their families.

5. Death of Osama bin Laden (2011)

Last year, the photo seen above became a viral sensation. The search for Osama bin Laden had been an on-going mission since the attacks on the US on September 11. Obama and his team employed SEAL Team 6 who created headlines all across the world with his death.

6. The O.J. Simpson White Bronco Chase (1994)

Not many events such as this can shut down regular scheduled programming on major networks in the US. After O.J. never showed to turn himself in, Robert Kardashian read a frantic suicide-like note to the media which was followed by a massive, low-speed chase of his white bronco as O.J.’s friend drove along the interstate with O.J. reportedly in the backseat with a gun to his head.

7. The Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami (2011)

Last March, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake erupted off the coast of Japan and the damage that followed suit was absolutely heartbreaking. Watching the water from the tsunami engulf the coast of the country made my heart sink while cities and small towns were destroyed from the rumble.

8. Columbine School Shooting (1999)

When the shooting at Columbine went down, schools across North America went almost into lockdown. Two students who had been bullied throughout high school plotted to shoot and kill their classmates before turning the guns on themselves. The media fully exploited the event and spawned a few copycat instances and bomb scares at schools across North America.

9. BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico (2010).

I can’t believe it has been 2 years since the tragic BP Oil Spill that took place on the Gulf. After an explosion on the rig engulfing the unit in flames, the drill began to leak oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the water.

10. Princess Diana’s Funeral (1997)

The world’s fascination with the Royal Family has been around for a long time and their dedication rang true during the sudden death of Princess Diana. The world literally wept together after the car crash and billions tuned in to watch her funeral live on television.

For the rest of the 20 most impactful moments, click below:

  • Josh

    #11 on their list is Whitney Houston’s death. Seriously?

  • Brian

    This seems to be a very American poll. What about the Pacific Tsunami that killed over 100 000 people? That was up there with 9/11, challenger and columbine.

  • Dude

    Britney shaving her head on CNN. It sparked the media blitz that followed..

  • Zzzz

    Wonder why The Beatles on Ed Sullivan isn’t on the list? That seems like something every baby-boomer watched and still references. Would be nice if a light-hearted entry was on there as well.