IT’S over for another year. The annual commemoration of 9/11 and the al-Qaeda attack on America is such a recurring fixture in the global media calendar that producers and commissioners will already be locked in conversations about next year, and what new angles can revitalise an already well told story.

The impressive Netflix special ­Turning Point: 9/11 And The War on Terror stood out as a landmark five-hour story that ­unpicked America’s retaliatory wars abroad, right up until the ignominious ­retreat from Afghanistan only a few short weeks ago.

What the series expertly exposed was not simply a failure of US intelligence and foreign policy but a failure of journalism to scrutinise the overall picture. It showed that newspapers and cable TV shows turned cheerleaders as the government and intelligence services embarked on a flawed prospectus to avenge American deaths.

In an article on journalistic failure that coincided with the 9/11 ­anniversary, Professor Eileen McNamara of ­Boston’s Brandies University accompanied the ­series with a damning indictment of American media failures. “It is easy to forget two decades on how much a ­compliant press corps contributed to the patriotic fervour,” McNamara argues, ­saying that it was “uncritical thinking that helped launch the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”.

READ MORE: David Pratt: Reflecting on 9/11 and the war on terror

Much the same report-card could be handed to Britain’s traditional ­media where Tony Blair’s compliant Labour Government joined the war on ­terror, bewitched by a so-called “special ­relationship” with America.

The concept of journalistic failure is, of course, a deliberate ­generalisation. In all the major stories of our time, there are ­always individual writers or ­commentators that bring unique ­perspectives, that ­challenge orthodox or bravely expose wrong-doings. The term is not about the exceptions it refers ­principally to the rule and to the vast tracts of unmemorable reporting that go on every single day.

Time moves on and so it is now easy to forget how a generation of journalists equated the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein with the messianic mission of Osama bin Laden, thus connecting two largely unconnected storylines, and ­failing to identify the much more credible connections between the 9/11 bombers and Saudi Arabia.

Failures are all around. The BBC have admitted that their much lauded ­impartiality led to a systematic failure to alert viewers to the urgency of the climate change emergency. In that case journalism was compromised by institutional process.

The aftermath of 9/11 was replete with failures. At least two cable news stations effectively banned the use of imagery of the civilian dead in Afghanistan and when images were shown they were ­required to be accompanied with the tally of Americans who died on 9/11 because it “seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan”, in the context of American suffering, the ­ stations reasoned.

In another example the famous radio shock-jock Howard Stern claimed without evidence that an al-Qaeda cell on a rooftop in New Jersey “jumped for joy” in celebration of the collapse of the Twin Towers. It was a ­story that seeped through numerous news sources and the bogus claim was repeated by conspiracy-monger-in-chief, Donald Trump at an electoral rally in ­Birmingham, Alabama from where it was referenced on ABC’s This Week by George Stephanopoulos.

It remains an inconvertible fact, ­that many more Americans died in military misadventures avenging 9/11 than died in the original tragedy ­itself. Some 2977 people were killed in the attacks on lower Manhattan, compared with the death of 7000 American soldiers whose died in combat Iraq and a further 2977 killed in Afghanistan.

That is a deadening truth that even ­today America struggles to face up to. Journalism has failed to tell the story of the aftermath as well as its has told the spectacular attack itself.

The failure to tell stories well, ­increases exponentially when the story is ­complicated. Al-Qaeda had ­redefined what war looked like, by being an ­ideological franchise system when most people saw war as an event between ­nations.

Brexit was an immeasurably complex economic story simplified to the point of absurdity by slogans on the side of a bus, and led to a peak of resentment by ­tabloid populism which began with the Sun’s despicable “Up Yours Delors” and ended with the humiliation of parts of Kent ­being turned into a lorry park.

Most of the complexities of Brexit were foreseeable, most of all the border issues in Ireland, and food shortages in supermarkets, but popular journalism failed to report them in any serious way, preferring to amplify the opinions of bar-room bores like Nigel Farage and exaggerate nebulous British exceptionalism, which we were assured could ride out any storm.

SYSTEMATIC failures of journalism cannot be explained away as oversights. This is something more than mistakes or easily corrected errors with an apology of page 15, it is when the profession of journalism, fails to live up to its favoured mantra of ‘holding power to account’.

Coverage of the Royal Family in the UK is a widespread disgrace and has been for most of my life. Television and newspaper bosses, cowered by Palace protocol, seem to steer away from any deep investigation into the finances of the Windsors, their corrupt influence on the political process, and most recently their protectiveness of the repellent Prince Andrew.

Only last week we learnt from ­salivating headlines that Prince Andrew has ­retained top Hollywood attorney Andrew Brettler to represent him in the sexual abuse case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Brettler is an attorney at Lavely & Singer – founded by celebrity powerhouse attorney Marty Singer who the magazine LA Confidential describes as a man who “makes a career out of un-caging celebrity song-birds”.

Andrew’s new lawyer’s most recent high profile case was defending the actor Armie Hammer from accusations that he had engaged in rape and cannibalism fantasies with a string of girlfriends. Yep that’s the ­latest ­humiliating chapter in the Fall of the House of Windsor.

I cannot be alone in nodding along when the Alba Party voted to scrap the monarchy in the event of Scottish independence.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon pays tribute to the victims of September 11 terror attacks

You do not have to be Woodward and Bernstein to guess that Prince Andrew’s legal team does not come cheap and yet there seems to be little journalistic investigation into who will pay Prince Andrew’s bills. If history is anything to go by, it will be a public cost, borne by tax payers and camouflaged in some unrecorded meeting between the Palace and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. A meeting that the Queen won’t even bother to attend.

ONE reason that systematic failures in journalism happen is that news ­gatherers often become consumed by the daily ­minutiae rather than a bigger picture. Both Brexit and the Scottish independence feferendum fell afoul of what is colloquially known as “horse-race journalism” – who’s winning the race, who is losing, and who has dropped so far behind they cannot catch up.

Another root of failure is that most media titles have a vested interest in the maintenance of the status quo. They regularly criticise governments and political systems but often fall far short of seeking to dismantle them. For established titles and their salaried staff, turning their fire on the agents of change in our society, is much easier than exposing those that hold power and authority.

One of the biggest failures of journalism in Scotland hinges not on grumbling about Holyrood, but on re-imagining what holding power to account really means. The easy bit is finding fault with the shortcomings of the SNP and devolutionary government, what is much harder is unravelling where power really resides in tax havens, in distant governments and the machinations of international capital in an increasingly globalised world.