Tuesday, August 21, 2007

9-11 Report: Where's The FAIRNESS In Mainstream News?

I'm an avid viewer of the History Channel and enjoy most of the shows they present. Winston Churchill once said, "if you want to know the future, study the past." So, I study the past. But the show I watched tonight left me frustrated and asking a charged question:

"When, just when, is mainstream news going to do what it purports itself to do and report on a political issue, especially one as emotionally-charged as 9-11, in a fair and unbiased way?"

I'm discouraged with mainstream news. They have such tremendous opportunity to illuminate truth, present compelling ideas, and bring more love, freedom, happiness, and growth to the world tuned in to their network of ideas. When will they live up to this hope?

The reason I post this question is that I watched the 9-11 report on the History Channel this evening and was left thinking "I wonder how many God-loving Americans are going to believe the results and trust this show?" I mean, really! The show was highly biased and unfair to the subject matter and to the victims of 9-11, not to mention people fighting over in Iraq based largely upon the events that occurred on 9-11. Now, to the History Channel, if you guys read this, please allow me to express my gratitude that you published something about 9-11, and the swirling conspiracy theories about 9-11. It's an issue that needs to remain current. But, couldn't you have presented the subject more fairly?

Before you, my readers think I'm just another 9-11 conspiracy theorist, let me state on record that, to date, I've refrained from jumping on this subject despite hundreds of hours of research on the matter and knowing that this subject has high Google hits. In addition, I've not mentioned 9-11 in any post or article on http://www.aspirenow.com/ except in my Demise of the Dot-Bombs article I wrote back in 2001, which did not mention 9-11 from a position of politics as much as financial impact, and in one http://www.AspireNow.com/thought.htm quote where I said we need to go on loving each other, in spite of the fear message being purported by the press and political administrations. So, please, allow me to point out the problems with "fair journalism" on a piece that purported itself to be "fair" to their viewing audience (note: the editors of the show indicated prior to the release of the show on 9/11 that it would be fair and present both sides equally.)

First, the History Channel knew it had a hot-topic, yet is rather obvious in their lack of fairness from one simple statement: "An Internet search for "9/11 conspiracy theories" yields nearly two million hits. Were the attacks on 9/11 perpetrated by the Bush Administration to advance its own interests? Could a government missile have hit the Pentagon? As outrageous as these ideas may sound, many people believe them. Why do these theories arise in the first place? An interview with James Meigs, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics, refutes many of these theories. Watch as experts in the fields of aeronautics, engineering and the military put these theories to the test."

Okay. So, where's the unfairness? Well, try these out:

1. Using the statement "as outrageous as these ideas may sound, many people believe them" is putting journalistic bias and a slant to make the people who believe whatever ideas they are talking about sound stupid or supporting false notions. It is yellow journalism.

2. Their interviews with "experts" claim to "refute" many of the theories. If you are trying to be FAIR to an issue, you do NOT refute NOR support claims. You simply show claims of both sides and let the VIEWER or READER decide. This is not what the History channel does. In addition, you would have an EXPERT for both sides of the argument, not just the counter-theory. There are many experts on both sides, but I didn't see too many real experts quoted in this show, frankly, for either side's case.

3. While not demonstrated from this one paragraph description of the show, it is demonstrated during the show that the History Channel also uses the "claim/expert" method to refute each point systematically throughout their program. Not at any point does the History Channel SUPPORT any of the conspiracy theories, nor at any point does the History Channel make the people supporting these claims sound credible. It is a well-known fact that the person who has the LAST say is always in a more powerful position than the person who talks first. Why? Because they get the last word and are left as the credible voice on the subject. Yet, throughout this show, that's the format: state theory, show conspiracy theorist talking about theory, then show expert rebuttal, expert's diagram, and end with ridicule of theorist. Note that the conspiracy side never showed diagrams, movies, witness statements, or anything else that would present their side as a "fact" and left you feeling it was all conjecture. Why would the show not present this information? A plaintiff in a court case would never go strictly on the word of the attorney, would they? The "expert" side would then have a couple of diagrams or theories backing up the official story, then the debunking expert (usually the Popular Mechanics people) would then slam the theorist or ridicule them. That was the format of every point the show discussed. Does this seem fair to you?

4. Calling one side a "theory" and the other side "expert" when both are OPINION. This is also unfair bias slanting an article towards the latter opinion. The viewer was left with the connect-the-dots notion to believe the expert and disbelieve the theory. Isn't it usually the person with the last say the person who usually wins?

As quoted by George Bernard Shaw, “You have to choose [as a voter] between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.” Now, that would seem like a fair and humorous way to end this article, right? Well, actually, NO, it ISN'T a fair way to end the article. Because this quote uses another person, George Bernard Shaw, as an EXPERT to REFUTE the HONESTY of congresspeople (the shock, the horror), who are not here to defend themselves. I am demonstrating the power of using an expert and speaking last on a subject. If I allowed a congressman to state the importance and fairness of government complicity in our lives (and interfering with our Life Purpose), then I would be giving a fair shake to the honesty of congress, right? Well, the History Channel program didn't give that fair shake to their viewers.

Now, as to the relevance of the content of the show, it seems fair to point out examples of the "debunking" that was pretty much an assault on common sense and not based upon truth.

1. The conspiracy theory is that a jetliner did not hit the pentagon, that it must have been a missile or smaller military aircraft, because the size of the whole was too small, and there was far too little wreckage at the site. The expert rebuttal was that the plane that hit the pentagon was not a missile, it was a disintegrated plane. The theory that a plane disintegrates into nothing as it hits a building was the expert opinion, like the 16 ft. diameter fireball theory. They didn't show examples of this being true in "common physics" experiments nor did they reference any real case history to support the refuting of the conspiracy theory. They did not reconstruct a model of the Pentagon and recreate the situation to either prove or disprove the notion of what hit the Pentagon. In addition, they didn't show the statistics of the conspiracy theorists, nor work on their part to also demonstrate the unlikelihood of such physics for either side. All they did was state opinion and leave you to believe the official story was plausible and the conspiracy theory was bunk. Fair? It would seem that if the official story people want to really debunk the "no 757 could have hit the pentagon" claim, all they'd have to do is release the FBI-seized video of the plane hitting the building, right? But, they haven't done that... so, the conspiracy claims continue to have merit or circulate. The only video I've seen of the pentagon explosion shows an object, much smaller than a 757, hitting the Pentagon. It seems common sense to be left with doubt of the official story, but I don't know if we're ever going to get to the heart of that one.

2. There was a young conspiracy theorist quoted throughout the program to state the conspiracy position (not a strong expert gathering, just mostly one guy from a site called "Loose Change" and then a counter adolescent Popular Mechanics youth, speaking as an "expert" and refuting the theory by stating that the terrorist with over 200 hours in a little Cesna qualified as one able to make one in a thousand commercial airliner maneuvers because "it wasn't that hard - he didn't have to take-off or land." Does this seem to be a fair assessment and comparison to you? The show also didn't demonstrate exactly what IS required to make that turn. Again, the debunking was nothing more than opinion (of a Popular Mechanics employee) making a statement to debunk a theory that merits further investigation. It IS hard to navigate a turn and certainly NOT easy to fly a major airplane in comparison with a Cesna. Why couldn't they have shown that, like an example on Myth Busters or something?

3. Okay, I noticed one other expert rebuttal that just didn't add up. Larry Silverstein, the guy who owned Building 7, which is the most hotly contested item of note in the conspiracy theorists argument, is often quoted as saying "the building was pulled." In the History Channel show, there is the video clip of Larry Silverstein admitting on PBS that he told them to "pull it" (where he goes on to say, "and they did and we watched the building collapse") regarding building 7's collapse subsequent to the twin towers' collapse. We then see the "experts" state what I felt was a lie that "pull it" isn't a demolition term. Then they state that Silverstein later recanted and instead claimed he was referring to the firefighters. Would Silverstein have said pull "it" in referring to pulling firefighters? Would Silverstein have been in charge of firefighting operations that day? Were there even any firefighters in WTC 7 to be pulled out of building 7 or had they, like Elvis, already left the building? Would Silverstein have said "pull it" and immediately followed it by adding "and then we watched the building collapse" if he was referring to anything BUT the building's demolition? Common sense ought to prevail.

In addition, the expert rebuttal mentioned nothing about the fact that major news sources, both in London and in the U.S., had reported that Building 7 had collapsed over 20 minutes BEFORE it actually collapsed! I guess that was a little too tough for the experts to refute. I have yet to see how anyone can explain how the news agencies knew the future! There are so many unanswered questions in this show. They failed to dig into the issue of insider trading, for one. How could people know to short American Airlines, United Airlines, and Morgan Stanley stock shares the day 9-11 occurred? This is one glaring problem that goes beyond Al Qaeda, because stock trades can be researched. How did George W. Bush see the video that nobody saw of a plane hitting building 1 before he went into the classroom to talk about goats? Yet, that's the official story. Those are some of the questions I'd like to see answered. I suppose they could have mentioned sites that do a capable job reporting on the issue, such as http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/, but they chose not to do this.

It seemed that rather than present a "fair" account of the issue and truly "expert" look into the questions of this charged subject, the History Channel instead served up biased sensationalism. Piled upon more sensationalism. I truly wish that they had left me with real answers to the burning questions I've been left when trying to read mainstream media's presentation of "facts" about 9-11. I can tell you that there is a lot of crap on conspiracy theory websites. But I also say there's a lot of crap on mainstream sites and television stations reporting on this subject.

Why does it matter? Because good people died, and continue to die! Take away the terror platform and you take away the last 7 years of political justification for wars on foreign soil, not to mention the endless hassles just FLYING any place. The war on terror seems to be a large reason for the present administration's justification for a war costing billions of American dollars and thousands of American and Iraqi lives. Where is the fairness in journalism? This is what we need on this subject: people who are willing to ask difficult questions and probe deeply enough into the answers to not just take some corporate-sponsored guy's word as expert.

This program was heavily slanted toward acceptance of the 9-11 commission report, a report which did not answer the deepest 9-11 questions, either. I noticed that statements made by theorists are rebuked by those backing the commission report; however, I did not notice an equal opportunity for a reputable EXPERT (not theorist) to respond to the show's rebuttalist and debatable comments.

A familiar quote comes to mind: "History is an agreed upon set of lies." - Napoleon Bonaparte.

All that I'm looking for is FAIR JOURNALISM on the matter! Isn't it what the victims of that horrible event deserved? As a patriotic American, isn't it our RIGHT to want truth, justice, and freedom to prevail? And, for those who get angry about even talking about the subject, last I checked, Freedom of Speech is one of those core freedoms we all fight and stand for, right?

I am grateful for networks taking a look at 9-11, and grateful that the History Channel took a stab at this, but, please, let's get real and report with actual journalism if we are going to publish anything material. Please use CREDIBLE experts, not corporate stooges, as your experts. Please report real facts and dig into the crux of the issue, rather than adding more confusion to the issue. Perhaps being owned by NBC, Inc., The Hearst Corporation, and ABC had an impact, but why can't employees dissent from their employer's opinions? Real journalism ought to confront issues fairly, in spite of whoever is employing the journalist's opinion.

Otherwise, they ought to run the show with a disclaimer "the thoughts and ideas of this show are those of the owners of this corporation, not the ideas of an independent journalist acting responsibly towards his profession."

Now, why does this post relate to Life Purpose, improving our Lifestyle, and building more LOVE in relationships? I'll tell you why: because people's lives are impacted by media. If you're going to read the news, watch television, and read the Internet, you must ask yourself if the people telling you the news, showing you T.V., and sharing stories are looking out for the interest of your HIGHEST GOOD, or are they trying to sway you to do their bidding?

If it is the latter, my feeling is that you will likely need to refocus doubly hard to bring your attention on the truth, getting clear with your soul, and focusing on bringing more love into the world. This is my purpose in writing this: to illustrate that we must be clear on our intentions, clear on our truth, and clear on our integrity if we are to live our live on purpose and truly live the meaning in our own lives. Government, media, and the news may misrepresent and lie to us on very important matters, but it is still OUR decision believe what they say and moreover OUR CHOICE to bring MORE LOVE into the world.

May all of us around the world find ways to LOVE, bring PEACE, and fill our soul's thirst for FREEDOM. And, may journalists start to report in fair and unbiased ways towards those objectives. When will mainstream news live up to this hope? I'm sending out the thought that soon, very soon, major media will report fairly and completely to their viewing audience.

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