9/11 Truth Goes Primetime By Sheila Casey / RCFP / March 22
9/11 Truth Goes Primetime
By Sheila Casey / RCFP
In recent weeks, 9/11 truth has burst into the mainstream media in a way not seen in the nine years since the attacks. Although much of the coverage has been in the form of dismissive hit pieces, the fact that the controversy about 9/11 is being covered at all has the effect of legitimizing challenges to the official story.
In our media-saturated culture, pundits and publishers define the boundaries of many people’s worlds. If it wasn’t covered by their favorite news outlet, many people assume, it must not have happened – or if it did happen, it’s simply not important. Then, when the average news consumers talk to their co-workers or neighbors, who also get their news from the same sources, each has their limited view of the world reinforced. They exist in an echo chamber, where certain ideas are repeated endlessly and others die a quiet death from neglect.
Few people are aware of how concentrated the ownership of mainstream US media is. With just five mega-corporations controlling virtually the entire media world, it is likely that many Americans can go an entire week and not encounter a book, magazine, newspaper, song, movie, greeting card, video game, radio program or TV show that did not issue from one of those five corporations. It is possible for people to believe they have been exposed to a broad range of ideas, since they read, watch and listen to what seems to be a wide variety of sources. They may never notice the ideas that are missing — the topics which will never appear in a movie at the multiplex, or in a major daily newspaper. There is the appearance of diversity masking actual uniformity.
Without the cooperation of the mainstream media, the myth of 9/11 would never have been possible. It’s not just that legitimate questions about the official story have been ignored and ridiculed. The myth itself — the one about 19-college age Muslims overcoming all the defenses of the entire US military-intelligence complex — has been reinforced in thousands of ways. Despite the absurdity of the myth, it is still believed by most Americans, partly due to sheer repetition, partly due to a child-like faith in the integrity of their leaders.
A reason frequently given by those who still believe the myth is: “If there were anything to it (i.e., the claims of the 9/11 Truth movement) I would’ve seen it on CNN. Or Fox News. Or Democracy Now. Journalists would jump at the chance to be the first with that story. That they haven’t done that tells me that there must be nothing to these wild conspiracy theories about 9/11.”
Within this environment, the recent spate of coverage given to the 9/11 Truth movement in mainstream outlets represents a significant chink in the seemingly impenetrable armor of the official 9/11 myth.
On February 15, 2010, Elizabeth Woodward published a 9,000 word article on globalresearch.ca titled “The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9/11 Truth Movement,” in which she analyzed the shift in tone about 9/11 since the publication in April 2009 of a peer-reviewed article in the Open Chemical Physics Journal stating that military grade explosives were found in the dust from the World Trade Center. But even in the month since her article was published, the coverage of 9/11 Truth by the mainstream media has accelerated.
Recent flurry of stories about 9/11 in the mainstream media:
February 22: The right-wing Washington Times published a 344-word article about Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth reaching the milestone of over 1100 architects and engineers signing a petition calling for a new investigation into 9/11, due to overwhelming evidence of controlled demolition at the three WTC buildings. Although absurdly phrased as a “lingering technical question,” the article was respectful.
March 4: John Patrick Bedell allegedly opens fire at the Pentagon, wounding three police officers. Although Bedell was completely unknown to the 9/11 Truth community, much is made in the mainstream media of his alleged belief that 9/11 was an inside job. The New York Times unabashedly demonizes Bedell, describing him as “unmarried, a regular marijuana smoker and living with his parents, [who] seemed to slide into a deep paranoia in the past couple of years.” If Bedell had any positive qualities, they were ignored by the hundreds of news articles eviscerating him.
March 6: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad states that 9/11 was a “big lie” and his words are covered by The New York Times, Yahoo News, CNN, BBC and the Globe & Mail in Canada. The article on CNN collects 4,500 comments, while the home page of the New York Times website carried a link to the article from a title containing the phrase “9/11 was a big fabrication,” exposing millions to a tiny nugget of truth.
March 8: The Washington Post carries an editorial criticizing Japanese politician Yukihisa Fujita for his challenges to the official 9/11 story. Despite the harsh and belittling tone — Fujita’s ideas are described as “too bizarre, half-baked and intellectually bogus to merit serious discussion,” the editorial does serve the purpose of informing the Post’s readers that a highly placed politician has serious reservations about the official 9/11 story.
March 8: ABC’s “Nightline” does a segment about truth seekers at the “Treason in America” conference in Valley Forge, PA. The reporters ask leading questions and try to trap interviewees into making claims which ABC clearly expects their audience to find ridiculous. ABC avoids interviewing anyone who would be clearly sympathetic, such as Bob McIlvaine, who lost his son, or Manny Badillo, who lost his uncle on 9/11. The news hook for the ABC story is the Pentagon gunman, and the idea that he is “not alone” in his suspicions about the government.
Despite all this, ABC does include the statement that the 9/11 Truth movement disavows the use of violence. And, at the very least, viewers can’t help but notice that 9/11 Truth has become a substantial social movement, which may prompt them to do their own research.
March 8: Jesse Ventura’s new book American Conspiracies, is published and quickly rises to the 18th most popular book in any category on Amazon. Jesse makes the rounds of a number of major outlets to promote his book, including the daytime women’s chatfest “The View”.
It is a maxim of the public relations industry that, if you are an unknown, there is no such thing as bad publicity. (Obviously for McDonald’s or Coke there could be.) So, despite the harsh tone of many of these news pieces, they do more good than harm to the Truth movement, as they put the issue into minds that may have simply never considered that the story they were told about 9/11 was a lie.
Sheila Casey is a DC based journalist and staff writer for the RCFP. Her work has appeared in The Denver Post, Reuters, Chicago Sun-Times, Dissident Voice and Common Dreams.