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Mainstream Press Attacks

The American news media has functioned to perpetuate the 9/11 cover-up in two main respects: it has promoted unquestioning acceptance of the official attack myth, and it has attacked skepticism of that myth. The attacks on skeptics have consistently used deception to misrepresent the 9/11 Truth Movement, pejoratively labeling all skeptics as "conspiracy theorists" and disingenuously implying that they embrace only the most absurd theories. Judging from the number of attack pieces that appeared in 2004 and 2005, this effort appears to be influenced by the success of the 9/11 Truth Movement in gaining visibility.

Here we examine themes of the attacks in the mainstream press year after year starting in 2004, the first year in which the existence of the 9/11 Truth Movement was acknowledged in the mainstrea press.

2004 Attacks

In 2004 the 9/11 Truth Movement achieved a new level of visibility. Organizers held a series of three conferences -- The International Inquiry Into 9/11, Phases I to III. The success of Phase I in San Francisco apparently prompted a new commitment of resources to the marketing of disinformation masquerading as 9/11 truth exposure. The slickly produced and widely distributed In Plane Site trumpeted a series of unscientific and easily debunked claims. Interestingly, of the material in In Plane Site it is the Pentagon no-jetliner theory, rather than patently baseless theories of pod-equipped missile-firing tanker planes hitting the towers, that has been the staple of press attacks.

e x c e r p t
title: The Pentagon No-757-Crash Theory: Booby Trap for 9/11 Skeptics
authors: Jim Hoffman

An Opening For Attackers

Before 2004, the mainstream and alternative media were virtually free of any mention of the existence of a community of skeptics challenging the core tenets of official story of '9/11'. While there were numerous reports of warnings of the attacks, there was only minimal coverage of the spectacular failures of the air defense network, and there was virtually no mention of the physical evidence of the demolition of Building 7 and the Twin Towers. That changed on May 26, 2004, when Amy Goodman interviewed David Ray Griffin on Democracy Now about his book The New Pearl Harbor on the show The New Pearl Harbor: A Debate On A New Book That Alleges The Bush Administration Was Behind The 9/11 Attacks . Although Griffin mentions an array of compelling evidence that the attack was an inside job, the majority of the interview revolves around the issue of what hit the Pentagon, as Chip Berlet, whom Goodman invited on the program to debate Griffin, zeroes in on the weakest part of The New Pearl Harbor. As a result, almost no time is spent discussing the much stronger parts of Griffin's argument.

On September 13, The Nation magazine published Executive Secrecy: Conspiracy or Failure? by CIA agent Robert Baer. Baer ridicules "conspiracy theories" that 9/11/01 was an inside job, suggesting that this "monstrous proposition" and Griffin's choice to "recycle some of the wilder conspiracy theories" is driven by the evasions and lies of the Bush administration. First on Baer's list of these wilder theories is "that the Pentagon was hit by a missile rather than by American Airlines Flight 77."

On October 7, The Washington Post published Conspiracy Theories Flourish on the Internet , which describes Pentagon Strike and its popularization in some detail, and then uses it to deride 9/11 "conspiracy theories." The article makes no mention of other areas of research by skeptics of the official story. Instead, it implies that the idea that "something other than a commercial airliner hit the Pentagon" is the only proposition advanced by skeptics to challenge the official story.

On November 8, The New York Times published A Hidden Story Behind Sept. 11? One Man's Ad Campaign Says So , to describe the campaign of millionaire Jimmy Walter to publicize skepticism about the official story of '9/11'. The second sentence of the article introduces Walter's suggestion that "no plane flew into the Pentagon," and the third sentence that Building 7 was "detonated from within." While the striking similarity of the implosion of Building 7 to other building implosions produced by controlled demolition is one of the most compelling pieces of physical evidence that the 9/11/01 attack was an inside job, the juxtaposition of the idea that Building 7 was detonated next to the idea that no plane crashed into the Pentagon is an effective tool for discrediting the former. The New York Times article provides no links to the video evidence of the demolition of Building 7, such as that on wtc7.net, but it gives an explanation for the collapse by fire science professor Glenn P. Corbett -- an explanation that people who have not seen the videos are likely to accept.

On November 10, Air America broadcast a segment featuring David Von Kleist, producer of In Plane Site, which promoted the two central memes of his video: the Pentagon no-757-crash idea and the South Tower pod-plane idea. Because the no-757-crash idea is taken seriously by a substantial portion of serious 9/11 researchers -- an acceptance not shared by the pod-plane idea -- disinformationists can use the Pentagon no-jetliner idea to leverage the more ridiculous WTC crash theories, such as pod-planes, missile attacks, holograms, etc.

With these and other articles and broadcasts, millions of people are being introduced to the idea that the attack was an inside job via theories that have no support in evidence, sound ludicrous, and are easily discredited. Unfortunately, first impressions are difficult to reverse.

2005 Attacks

In early 2005 Popular Mechanics launched a high-profile attack on 9/11 "conspiracy theorists", and was followed by Scientific American. Comparing the 2005 to the 2004 pieces reveals some trends:

  • The new articles abandoned the almost exclusive focus on the Pentagon no-plane theory in favor of a more inclusive treatment of alternative theories.
  • The new articles targeted a broader demographic, such as NASCAR fans who read Popular Mechanics.

Popular Mechanics

In early 2005 Popular Mechanics magazine opened up a new front in the information war to maintain the cover-up of the 9/11/01 false-flag attack. We provide a detailed review of the article in Popular Mechanics' Deceptive Smear Against 9/11 Truth .

The review focuses on the content of the article -- 16 claims that PM asserts (without evidence) are the "most prevalent claims made by conspiracy theorists". In fact, most of the claims are either errors, such as those long debunked on the Errors section of this website, or are inconsequential.

Others have pointed out interesting connections between the owners of Popular Mechanics and the intelligence agencies and industries that have most benefited from the 9/11/01 attack.

e x c e r p t
title: 'Popular Mechanics' & Other CIA Front Organizations
authors: Peter Wakefield Sault
'Popular Mechanics' is published by the Hearst Corporation, proprietor (chairman of the board) George R. Hearst, grandson of William Randolph Hearst, sometime would-be builder of large aeroplanes. http://www.business-magazines.com/prd1350.php

The president and CEO of Hearst Corporation is one Victor F. Ganzi, since June 1st, 2002. Mr Ganzi is also an officer/director of the Hearst Foundation. http://www.hearstcorp.com/biographies/media/GANZI_2003_2_BW.jpg
A close look at the titles of the books on the shelf behind Mr Ganzi in the photo (GANZI_2003_2_BW.jpg) reveals that some part of Mr Ganzi's early career was spent working for the owners of the Atlantic City Boardwalk and associated hotels and casinos; sometime friends of a certain Mr Frank Sinatra, as I recall.

Victor F. Ganzi is on the board of directors of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), alongside Columba Bush, wife of Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, brother of George W. Bush, President of the USA and son of George H.W. Bush, former DG of the CIA. http://www.nationalfamilies.org/prevention/casa.html

Victor F. Ganzi is a member of B.E.N.S. - "Business Executives for National Security" http://www.bens.org/what_threats_intel.html#intel - wherein we learn that "When it came time to evaluate In-Q-Tel, the CIA's innovative technology development enterprise, Congress turned to BENS"

In October 2002, B.E.N.S. received a "CIA Agency Seal Medallion" for its work on the In-Q-Tel program. http://www.bens.org/highlights_InQTelMedal.html

In-Q-Tel? It is described as "A new partnership between the CIA and the 'private sector' [my apostrophes].", making it a classic front for traditional fascism and other American-style old-fashioned family values. http://www.in-q-tel.org/

The Scientific American Column

The June 2005 issue of Scientific American devoted a page (the SKEPTICS column) to misportraying and dishonestly ridiculing the 9/11 Truth Movement. Like the Popular Mechanics feature, this column takes aim at the successful efforts of sites like 9-11 Research to expose the demolition of the WTC towers. Both pieces attempt to marginalize the idea of demolition by surrounding it with nonsense ideas and avoiding the valid arguments for demolition.

The Scientific American column, authored by Michael Shermer, is apparently the first mainstream publication to mention 9-11 Research, which it does with the needlessly long URL www.911research.wtc7.net . While other attackers have simply ignored 9-11 Research, the fact that the site was then receiving 3000 visits per day (now grown to more than 6000) apparently prompted a more direct attack strategy. Mentioning a site runs the risk of increasing its profile. However, by embedding its mention within multiple misrepresentations and surrounding it with nonsense, the editors of Scientific American could be confident that any visibility they afforded the site would be far overshadowed by damage to its reputation among readers who would unwittingly trust the column's dishonest portrayal of it. Studies show that few people type in URLs from print articles, and the online edition does not provide a hyperlink to 9-11 Research.

e x c e r p t
title: Scientific American's Dishonest Attack On 911Research
authors: Jim Hoffman

The editors of Scientific American followed in the footsteps of Popular Mechanics in exploiting a trusted brand in order to protect the perpetrators of the mass murder of 9/11/01. The column by Michael Shermer in the June, 2005 issue of Scientific American, titled Fahrenheit 2777, is an attempt to deceive the magazine's readers into dismissing the overwhelming evidence that 9/11 was an inside job without ever looking at that evidence. More specifically, Shermer attempts to inoculate readers against looking at the decidedly scientific refutation of the official story found on our website, 911Research, with a cluster of disinformation techniques including:

  • Mis-attributing to 911Research the erroneous statement that steel's melting point is 2,777F
  • Falsely implying that 911Research embraces a straw-man argument that the official account of the Twin Towers' collapses depends on the fires having melted steel.
  • Contextualizing 911Research as nonsense by surrounding its mention with absurd claims and racist ideas.

2006 Attacks

In early 2006 articles appeared in Maxim and The Village Voice on the 9/11 Truth Movement. Just as there are discernable trends between 2004 and 2005 articles, the 2006 articles have a distinctly different flavor from the ones that preceded them.

  • The new articles acknowledge by 9/11 Truth Movement by that name rather than using only the derisive 'conspiracy theorist' label.
  • The new articles admit that not all theories, such as the no-planes theories, are embraced by all of the skeptics.

Despite the much less insulting tone of the new articles, they still employ basically the same central strategy as Popular Mechanics and Scientific American to dismiss challenges to the official story: marginalizing these challenges as a kind of carnival sideshow not worthy of being taken seriously.

The Village Voice Series

In late February, 2006, The Village Voice featured a set of three articles by Jarrett Murphy:

These articles highlight the more absurd claims of Loose Change and plug hoax-promoting work like 9/11 Eyewitness and In Plane Site, but mention Scholars like David Ray Griffin and Michael Ruppert only in passing, marginalizing their work by associating it with nonsense.

The New York Times Article

In early June, the New York Times published a story in response to the the 911Truth.org -sponsered Chicago conference Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future. The story, entitled 500 Conspiracy Buffs Meet to Seek the Truth of 9/11, is much less heavy-handed than the Village Voice series, but conveys basically the same message.


Newsweek took a swipe at 9/11 truth with the cover story of its August 7 issue, which covered World Trade Center, a new film by Oliver Stone telling the true story of the rescue of John McLoughlin and William Jimero. The cover of the issue reads:

The Controversial Director
Chooses Courage Over Conspiracy in

World Trade Center

Although the headline is literally true, it implies that the idea that the attack was an inside job is cowardly. The message is reinforced in an article within the same issue entitled 'How American Myths Are Made', which states:

Stone's movie will stand as a civil elegy, a statement that the events of 9/11, and the memories of the nearly 3,000 people who died that day, should not be degraded or sullied by politics or the fevered imaginings of people who see tragedy and assume scheming and betrayal.

Newsweek insults independent investigators of the attack with innuendo, implicitly denying that there is any evidence for insider involvement in the attack, when in fact there is a mountain of such evidence. Nonetheless Newsweek's statement is literally true. A recent Vanity Fair article had just elevated the already very popular Loose Change to even greater prominence. The flawed logic and abundance of unsupported claims showcased by the film give traction to descriptions such as Newsweek's.

The Time Article

Just before the fifth anniversary of the attack, Time published its first major article on public skepticism of the official story, Why The 9/11 Conspiracies Won't Go Away. Citing a Scripps-Howard poll, Time acknowleges that the view that government officials either "allowed the attacks to be carried out or carried out the attacks themselves" is a "a mainstream political reality".

The article starts with a refreshingly candid description of the destruction of the Twin Towers:

Your eye will naturally jump to the top of the screen, where huge fountains of dark debris erupt out of the falling towers. But fight your natural instincts. Look farther down, at the stories that haven't collapsed yet.

In almost every clip you'll see little puffs of dust spurting out from the sides of the towers.

It's downhill after that, as Grossman weilds the usual weapons to malign serious challenges to the official story, isolating those questioning the official story as belonging to "World No. 2" whose inhabitants all subscribe to the same beliefs, highlighting the Pentagon no-plane claim as a "tent-pole issue", and psychopathologizing the "conspiracy theorists" as having a need to believe in a comforting world view.

2007 Features

The History Channel Feature

On Saturday, August 26th 2007, the History Channel aired the hour-long "Conspiracy Theories about 9/11, Fact or Fiction?" The show's producers had interviewed Steven Jones, but then cleverly concealed the case for controlled demolition of the Twin Towers and Building 7.

In the following excerpt, with added links, Steven Jones describes his disappointment with the show's many omissions.

e x c e r p t
title: You got shortchanged on this History Channel program...

Yes, James, I saw it. And yes, I EMPHATICALLY told them about the dust — the iron-rich microspheres especially, and the molten metal beneath the rubble of the Towers and flowing out the South Tower just before it collapsed. And the many fine, peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of 9/11 Studies . Somehow all those points were missed by these guys… as they hit on the “ softer ” areas of 9/11 research — flight 93 (shot down..), missile hitting the Pentagon? and so on…

2008 Features

The BBC's The Third Tower

On July 4, 2008, the BBC aired on its program Conspiracy Files the program "9/11 third tower mystery 'solved'", produced by Mike Rudin:

e x c e r p t
title: The BBC's The Third Tower
authors: Jim Hoffman
The approach of The Third Tower certainly contrasts with the blatant use of the straw-man attack typified by Popular Mechanics . The BBC features Richard Gage, and favorably describes his group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and includes portions of interviews physicist Steven Jones. Other than through subtly injecting derision into the appearances of Gage and Jones by prefacing them with the show's conspiracy music and banner, the BBC treats them respectfully. It relies on propaganda methods other than ad-hominems and straw men to take on these articulate critics of the collapse theory. One such method is to answer and evade the arguments for demolition with assertions by a parade of experts, some presented as more authoritative than Gage and Jones. These assertions, although fallacious, are presented as plausible and given no rebuttal. ...

2009 Features

The National Geographic "Documentary"

A 'hit-piece' TV feature to be aired 11 days before the eighth anniversary of the attack on The National Geographic Channel had been in the works for at least a year. Material on the Channel's website posted in advance of the show suggested that it would be more akin to the Popular Mechanics effort than to the BBC's sophisticated propaganda.

The show's producers interviewed Steven Jones and Richard Gage, and communicated with Kevin Ryan, at a time after Ryan, Jones, and their collegues had conclusively shown, including in a peer-reviewed paper in The Open Chemical Physics Journal, the presence of unignited thermitic pyrotechnic materials in the World Trade Center dust. Yet, it appears that the show will avoid or blatantly misrepresent this evidence.

e x c e r p t
title: Finally, an Apology From the National Geographic Channel
authors: Kevin Ryan

Since that time, scientific experiments have shown that extremely high temperatures existed at the WTC. Other peer-reviewed articles demonstrate that the environmental data at Ground Zero indicate the presence of energetic materials, and that residues of such materials are present throughout the WTC dust. [18,19] This strong evidence supports the many witnesses to explosions and the photographic evidence of demolition at the WTC. Furthermore, it has been shown through an extensive peer-reviewed study that unexploded nanothermite is present in the WTC dust. [20] It appears that the nanothermite materials present in the WTC dust are similar to the “explosive aerogels” made by US national laboratories for the past ten to fifteen years. [21]

All of this was explained in detail to the producer of the National Geographic Channel show long before his production ended, so it will be great to see it all communicated honestly. The technical details should not be difficult, considering that the NG Channel produced a show on aerogels before. [22] But what's more, my colleagues and I have communicated directly with Robert Erickson, the producer of the show, and made sure he had all the information he needed on nanothermite and its explosive properties.

Erickson was confused at first, in that he had contacted the folks at Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL), and was forced to conclude that LANL’s only exposure to nanothermite (also called super-thermite) technology was a recent, poorly received commercial venture. He wrote -- "Their work on nano-thermite was patented in 2005 – the theory of nano-thermite was in play by their scientists no earlier than 2004." [23] But the truth is that LANL had its own "Super-Thermite Program" years before 2004, and before 9/11. [24] It must be that the scientists Erickson talked to were way out of the loop, or were lying to him for some reason, because we all trust that "National Geographic" would not engage in deceiving the public.

In any case, it is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) that has been widely reported to be the leader in nanothermite research. Unfortunately, Erickson could not contact LLNL because, as he wrote: "My budget does not provide funds for me to travel to Livermore labs. I just have a small television production to deal with." This was a strange thing to say considering that North Hollywood, CA, where Erickson’s company is located, is much closer to Livermore, CA than it is to Thibodoux, Louisiana, where Erickson traveled to shoot an example, illustrative demolition event. Erickson went on to despair about the subject, stating -- "And apparently – even if I’m willing to look... No nano-thermite is available." [25]


[18] Steven E. Jones, et al, Extremely high temperatures during the World Trade Center destruction, Journal of 9/11 Studies, Volume 19, January 2008, http://www.journalof911studies.com/articles/WTCHighTemp2.pdf
[19] Kevin R. Ryan, et al, Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials, The Environmentalist, Volume 29, Number 1 / March, 2009, http://www.springerlink.com/content/f67q6272583h86n4/
[20] Niels H. Harrit, et al, Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe, The Open Chemical Physics Journal, Vol 2, 2009, doi: 10.2174/1874412500902010007, http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/000000...
[21] Randy Simpson, Nanoscale chemistry yields better explosives, Science and Technology Review 2000, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, https://www.llnl.gov/str/RSimpson.html
[22] Stephen Steiner, Zero_Gravity aerogel formation: Research on the production of aerogel in weightlessness, 2003, National Geographic Channel Segment Part 1, Summary: All about aerogel, how it's made, why it's blue, and making it clear in zero-gravity.
[23] Personal email from Robert Erickson, producer of the new National Geographic Channel special on 9/11
[24] Danen, W.C., Jorgensen, B.S., Busse, J.R., Ferris, M.J. and Smith, B.L. “Los Alamos Nanoenergetic
Metastable Intermolecular Composite (Super Thermite) Program,” 221st ACS National Meeting,
San Diego, CA, 1-5 April 2001.
[25] Personal email from Robert Erickson, producer of the new National Geographic Channel special on 9/11

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The covers of the Popular Mechanics and Newsweek