Below is an excerpt from an academic paper (the second entry in the search results) by COPAS (Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies:
The eerie attraction of the footage might be due to the quality of the sublime incorporated into the aesthetics of the images. Immanuel Kant described the Sublime as a feeling that upsurges when human beings are witness to a catastrophe from afar, without being in actual danger. This sublime emotion is eventually prompted by the human ability to abstract the witnessed danger from ones immediate realm, thus to ascertain, by resorting to reason that, although the catastrophe is real, it does not directly endanger ones life (144-45). I do not suggest that on September 11, 2001 American television viewers were constantly under the spell of the sublime aesthetics of the footage. The realization of the actual violence behind the images and the inclusion of eyewitness accounts ran contrary to the sublime aesthetics. However, the relative absence of carnage in the footage of the attacks may have lured American spectators into watching the endless repetitions of the sequences (the planes flying into the towers and the subsequent collapse of the buildings).
In retrospect, those repetitions were quite a bold move....
The first entry is a short film by Michael Koskowski, which features some cinematic references to 9/11. crowds, people looking up, explosions, but a few more prescient shots as well. Interestingly, Michal Koskowski has a 2011 release, a quasi-documentary titled: Zero Killed, about murder fantasies.
http://www.michalkosakowski.net/films/? ... e_movies_2
The next article of interest was published in The Nation: 9/11 in a Movie-Made World by Tom Engelhardt, archived here:
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/118775/ ... made_world
This article begins with the claim that the seeds for viewers' fertile imaginations were planted in 1945 with the nuclear events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is full of references to the movies taken from other articles. (Tangent: For some reason this prompted a search for "The Pentagon", which Wikipedia prefaces with, "On September 11, 2001, the 60th anniversary of The Pentagon's groundbreaking..." and I thought about why anyone would start a major construction project on a weirdly symbolic monument to the military in the middle of a World War, but I digress. Oh, and it cost 83 million dollars...)
Bob Bacon, FDNY Firefighter: "...unless you were there, you wouldn't really believe it."
full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc6Zm9682hQ
Chad Creevy, a "survivor" from a 2011 interview:
full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g1KeOhGV0M
Cheesy Towering Inferno reference:
full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkISxVGKSRw
Local Fox affiliate:
full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_QFpaCPnMY
full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpo9Res6VIU
This post only scratches the surface of such comments and clips. Of course there is the infamous Evan Fairbanks reference among others, not included due to familiarity. There were endless repetitions of the clips of the impacts and collapses, but the talking point "It was just like a movie" was stressed with equal intensity. Except it WAS a movie. Perhaps the intention was for the idea to be planted that it was a movie, the sub-conscious would ignore the "just like", but cognitive dissonance would be inflicted by the acceptance of media personalities as authorities on matters of truth.