Journal of 9/11 Studies Letter: Disinformation and Misinformation

Journal of 9/11 Studies Letter: Disinformation and Misinformation

By Arabesque

A new article published in the Journal of 9/11 studies discusses disinformation and misinformation. This article was originally written for 9/11 Blogger.

Abstract:
Disinformation and Misinformation are defined and discussed. Five levels of disinformation as defined by Jim Fetzer, as well as a sixth type of my own are defined and described. It will be argued that the intent involved in the promotion of misleading arguments is irrelevant since misinformation and disinformation equally harm our ability to discern the truth about 9/11. Relevant concepts including the straw-man fallacy, special pleading, ad-hominem, appeals to authority, poisoning the well, non-falsifiable theories, and other fallacies are discussed. This paper argues that disinformation is the “major obstacle” in discovering and disseminating the truth about 9/11. If we are going to discover the truth about 9/11 we have to discover what is not true. The latter is frequently supported by disinformation and misinformation.

Excerpt:

How can we discover the truth about 9/11? Is it possible to be led astray by misleading and incomplete interpretations of evidence? What is disinformation and how does it affect 9/11 research? For those interested in the truth about 9/11, evaluating evidence and explanations are essential considerations.

Disinformation is commonly defined as “deliberately misleading information.” According to Jim Fetzer, “disinformation... should be viewed more or less on a par with acts of lying. Indeed, the parallel with lying appears to be fairly precise.”

A similar concept called misinformation is defined by Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice:
“Misinformation is information that is incorrect but not necessarily an attempt to mislead. Misinformation often arises from poor research, biases, and misinterpretations.”

While disinformation requires motive and intent; misinformation does not. Jim Fetzer explains:
“While ‘misinformation’ can be simply defined as false, mistaken, or misleading information, ‘disinformation’ entails the distribution, assertion, or dissemination of false, mistaken, or misleading information in an intentional, deliberate, or purposeful effort to mislead, deceive, or confuse.”

The result is the same; the truth is obstructed with “misleading” information. How can we tell if someone is intentionally trying to mislead us? Is intent relevant? Not if the truth about 9/11 can be obfuscated by any misleading arguments regardless of intent. We do not need to distinguish intent to show that misinformation and disinformation equally harm our ability to discern the truth. Therefore, we should equally understand and combat both misinformation and disinformation.

[…]

Fifth Type of Disinformation:
“The fifth level of disinformation appears to occur when a source presents information that has been deliberately selected to misrepresent, distort or abuse sources with the intention to mislead. Citing only evidence that is favorable to one side as if no contrary evidence exists is known as SPECIAL PLEADING. The key aspect of fifth degree efforts is creating—usually by writing—entire new works (books and article), because of which it has the character of FABRICATING EVIDENCE.”

Fourth Type of Disinformation:
“The fourth level of disinformation appears to occur, not when a work (a book or an article) is being written from scratch, but in creating a highly biased impression of a study by simply IGNORING its most significant, important, or relevant features to mislead others about the contents of the work, which is another form of SPECIAL PLEADING.”

Third Type of Disinformation:
“The third level of disinformation occurs by abusing the man (AD HOMINEM) in attacking the author or the editor of a work on irrelevant or misleading grounds that have little or nothing to do with the position the author or editor represents.”

Second Type of Disinformation:
“The second level of disinformation occurs when relevant available evidence that ought to make a difference to a conclusion, hypothesis or conjecture under examination is simply dismissed or ignored. EVIDENCE IS RELEVANT when its presence or absence (physical evidence) or its truth or falsity (testimonial) makes a difference to the truth or falsity of the point at issue.”

First Type of Disinformation:
“The first level of disinformation might equally well be characterized as apparent incompetence by someone who assumes the task of offering criticism but for which he is not well-positioned to provide. This may be due to any number of factors, including lack of mental acumen, specific misunderstandings, or lack of familiarity with relevant evidence (simple ignorance).”

Jim Fetzer defined 5 levels of disinformation. I propose a sixth type:
Sixth Type of Disinformation:
The sixth level of disinformation is the promotion of theories that are unable to be tested or proven with available evidence. Such theories are called non-falsifiable:

[…]

Conclusions

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.” Thomas Pynchon, Jr.

Those who care about the truth about 9/11 should also care about disinformation and misinformation. All 9/11 “official story” skeptics agree that the 9/11 commission report consists of substantial disinformation.

9/11 disinformation and misinformation have been used to support the ‘official story’, create misleading accounts for what happened, ‘discredit’ alternative accounts, ‘turn-off’ potential ‘official story’ skeptics through “guilt by association”, create never ending debates, discredit honest and credible researchers, and as Thomas Phychon suggests; to leave us asking the wrong questions in an attempt to distract attention away from getting the important answers.

The truth about 9/11 is of primary importance. If we accept this to be true, then it is also true that all misleading arguments are harmful to this cause. Therefore, the intent involved in promoting misleading arguments is irrelevant. Arguments based on disinformation and misinformation will almost always result in false, incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading conclusions. As Jim Fetzer suggests in relation to JFK, disinformation is the “major obstacle” in discovering and disseminating the truth about 9/11—the key to unraveling the ‘myth of the 21st century.’

Read full article here:
http://www.journalof911studies.com/letters/Disinformation;DefinitionsAndExamples.pdf

Mirror here with links:
http://arabesque911.blogspot.com/2007/05/911-disinformation-and-misinformation.html

About this paper

I originally wrote this for the 9/11 blogger audience. After writing several things on 911blogger, I had the opportunity to publish my writings in the journal of 9/11 studies. I became interested in the subject of disinformation after the breakup at scholars for 9/11 truth. Like many, I had no idea what was going on. I myself have been fooled by disinformation/misinformation and arguments that I now consider to be silly.

The point of this paper is not to simply say: "this is disinfo"--don't believe this. I wrote it as a treatise to understand the TACTICS of disinformation. Every single person has to discover the truth about 9/11 on their own by examining the evidence and evaluating explanations for the evidence. In my opinion, this is the CENTRAL problem of 9/11 truth.

We have the official story and its supposed "evidence" and we are given a conclusion based on this evidence. As I say in my paper:

"When relevant facts are ignored they often result in misleading conclusions. For this reason, 9/11 “official story” skeptics agree that official reports are misleading. David Ray Griffin has argued that the 9/11 commission report8 was an intentional attempt to mislead the public about what really happened on 9/11 by ignoring many relevant facts. Indeed, Griffin calls the 9/11 commission report a “571 page lie.” Revealingly, the 9/11 Family Steering Committee asked 400 questions and got 30% of the answers. Many of their questions remain unanswered to this day. Consequently, this means that many believe that the 9/11 “official story” is disinformation."

How do we evaluate what constitutes legitimate evidence and legitimate conclusions? This question is what my paper attempts to answer.

This pdf file has working links to the sources.

“We're an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality."

Great work Arabesque. It is

Great work Arabesque. It is a instructive tool to put the jargon/syntax in place for critically evaluating ANY information, be it 911 information or the MSM.

Of the five papers ProfJones posted on his blog this was the first one I read.

Well done . . .

It's great to see the points coming from Fetzer himself . . . a subtle yet key implicit message.

Your Straw Man Example is Wrong

Read the definition again. A straw man is when you present a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of someone's position. What you have presented in your example is the real version of events as generally accepted (albeit not around here). If you wanted to present a straw man version of the "official" theory, it would be something like "The buildings fell because the steel melted," because nobody on the official side thinks the steel melted. A straw man version of Jones' position might be "The buildings fell because the firemen planted Thermite charges." As far as I know, Jones has never implicated the firemen in any plot. A straw man version of Wood's position might be, "The buildings fell because a Death Star hidden behind the moon beamed them down." As far as I know, Wood has never actually posited a Death Star (yet). You see? All three bear some relationship to the actual theories proposed, but they are all just absurd enough versions to be simple to defeat in debate.

As I answered elsewhere

this isn't the latest version of my paper, and I fixed this example. In fact the wrong version was published. I'm still waiting for it to be uploaded. If you don't believe me, read the pdf file attached to this blog.

Or you could read it here: http://arabesque911.blogspot.com/2007/05/911-disinformation-and-misinfor...

I hope you don't find anything "useful" from my paper... one hopes! I guess this means we can expect no more straw-man arguments?

"If you wanted to present a straw man version of the "official" theory, it would be something like "The buildings fell because the steel melted."

Ironically this is the position of SOME of the people who SUPPORT the official story. In fact these were the first people to PROPOSE this idea! Those who believe that there was molten metal at ground zero (as indicated by the iron rich spheres found in the dusts, eyewitness testimony and other evidence), and know that jet fuel fires could not have caused them (as NIST admits), know that that there must be another explanation. So in that sense your example would be a straw-man.

“We're an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality."

Let Us Know When It's Final...

And we'll look into debunking it then. Who reviews these things over at JONES that something gets published before it's in final form? This is the second time I've corrected something over there only to have the author tell me, "Oh, that wasn't the final version." IIRC, that was the same excuse we got for the ridiculous elephant plane paper from the first issue.

Not griping at you, Arabesque. My annoyance is at JONES.

Great

So you'll be debunking Arabesque's debunking of Reynolds' debunking of Jones, and Arabesque's support of Jenkins' debunking of Woods? Is Arabesque going to debunk your debunkings?

You clearly have missed the point here

This paper is not a "debunking" attempt. It is an instruction manual or treatise for examining misleading arguments regardless if they support the official story, deny it, create outlandish theories, or even sensible ones. I should hope you find it useful in that regard.

“We're an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality."

Arabesque,

I am interested in talking with you. Would you please send me an email either through my website, www.visibility911.com, or send an email directly to michael and then the "@" sign and then my website, visibility911.com. Thanks.

And you would know.

You're getting free advice from an expert here, Arabesque. I guess that's not all bad.

Seven Types of Propaganda

This might have been mentioned elsewhere previously. But it doesn't hurt to review.

I suggest when talking about disinformation, you need to also talk about propaganda.

In fact, propaganda really should be one of your "Types of Disinformation". (your essay is not complete without it)

"Quickly":

1. Name Calling

Giving people or things a bad label to make us reject and condemn them without examination.

2. Glittering Generality

A sweeping statement that associates people or things with a "virtue word" to make us accept and approve without examining the evidence.

3. Symbol

Using the prestige of one person or a symbol to make us approve of another person or thing. Or using the "bad" name or symbol.

4. Endorsement

Having some respected person endorse a candidate, a product or an idea.

5. Plain Folks

Trying to show that something or someone is good because of close association with "average people".

6. Card Stacking

Selecting or using facts, falsehoods, illustrations, or distractions to give the best (or worst) possible case for people or things. i.e. 25 years of experience, college educated, his opponent only went through the 8th grade.

7. Bandwagon

Attempting to convince us that almost everybody is doing the same thing; therefore, we should do it too.

Someone (I disremember the author at the moment) wrote a book about this in the early mid-20th century. And I believe there have been others who have expanded upon it and such, as well. Directly, indirectly, ancillary, etc.

And there is some other stuff "out there" that should also be considered for possible incorporation.

----
Senior 9/11 Bureau Chief, Analyst, Correspondent

http://www.chico911truth.org/

9/11 — GET rEVENge! (in a peaceful manner, of course)

Thanks Doughnut

These are all good points, and very much relevant and worth keeping in mind.

Name Calling is essentially the 3rd type of disinformation as included in my list. No 2 is related to the straw-man--misrepresenting the facts to support a conclusion. No. 3 is related to poisoning the well, also discussed in my paper. No. 4 is related to "appeal to authority" which I also discussed.

Appeal to emotion is not something I discussed overtly in my paper. But this is an important one.

6. Related again to the third level of disinformation, poisoning the well.

7. A good one. This is another type of "appeal to authority". If these people believe it, we should too.

Most of the concepts you mentioned I did discuss in some form in my paper.

“We're an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality."

And, yet...

No mention of "propaganda" in the final (?) version of your essay on disinformation and misinformation.

Tsk. Tsk.

----
Senior 9/11 Bureau Chief, Analyst, Correspondent, Forensic 9/11ologist

http://www.chico911truth.org/

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny. — Robert Heinlein

To me "propaganda" is another word for Disinformation

To me "propaganda" is another word for Disinformation

They both use the same techniques. In fact, offering opinion as fact without any substantive evidence or facts to back it up is the most extreme form of propaganda.