By Craig McKee
It’s the damndest thing. Two media watchdogs from opposite sides of the fence are attacking Fox News, my most hated news organization, and I’m on Fox’s side.
To a point.
The liberal “media watchdog” Media Matters for America has attacked Fox News host Geraldo Rivera and Judge Andrew Napolitano for considering the possibility that we haven’t been told the whole story about how World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001 (http://mediamatters.org/blog/201011290030). A similar attack has come from Newsbusters, a conservative “media watchdog.”
The idea that the government has lied to the world about 9/11 has always been ridiculed at Fox – and Rivera was one of those doing the ridiculing. But the campaign called Building What? (which ran TV ads in November questioning the official explanation about Building 7) has made an impression. Besides being seen by millions of New Yorkers, the campaign has persuaded Rivera to rethink his long-held belief that Truthers were a fanatical fringe element.
Last month, he had two representatives from Building What? on his show to discuss the campaign. Rivera was obviously impressed by the educated and reasoned approach of his guests. He later admitted that he was now more open-minded about the claims of 9/11 Truthers concerning Building 7.
Napolitano interviewed Rivera on his show a few days later. Both Rivera and Napolitano wondered openly whether Building 7 was taken down in a controlled demolition, both calling the official account unlikely.
““It’s hard for me to believe that it came down by itself…I am gratified to see that people across the board are interested. I think twenty years from now, people will look at 9/11 the way we look at the assassination of JFK today. It couldn’t possibly have been done the way the government told us,” Napolitano said.
Media Matters for America countered on Nov. 29 with a reprehensibly biased article entitled, “9-11 victim families criticize Napolitano comments.” In the article, writer Joe Strupp relies on the ludicrous “debunking” article in Popular Mechanics, which utterly fails to debunk anything – except perhaps the idea that Popular Mechanics is a reputable publication.
He writes that the 2005 article (which is nicely carved into pieces by David Ray Griffin in Debunking 9/11 Debunking), is just one of the “expert” pieces of 9/11 analysis that lays waste to doubts about the official story. Sorry buddy, but it does no such thing. This is the article that talks about the hole in the Pentagon being 75 feet across before the wall collapsed. In fact it was less than 20.
Strupp quotes a grand total of four family members of 9/11 victims who are upset at what Napolitano said. No effort is made to speak to anyone who might have a different view. A media watchdog produces a totally one-sided article. Let the reader beware.
Strupp was hired by Media Matters in March as an “investigative reporter.” Apparently his idea of investigation is to pick four people who support his view and then make them representative of an entire category of people.
Family members of 9/11 victims from the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYCCAN), the group co-sponsoring Building What?, are demanding an apology from Media Matters (http://norcaltruth.org/2010/12/03/911-families-demand-apology-from-media-matters/#more-6458).
In a statement, they said: “We who lost loved ones on that day cannot stand idly by as our honest search for the truth about their death is trampled upon. We demand that Media Matters apologize for its unfair, irresponsible and injurious coverage of this deeply sensitive issue.”
It won’t happen, but it should.
In his article on the subject, NewsBusters writer Lachlan Markay gets even more biased and thick headed than Strupp (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/lachlan-markay/2010/11/30/judge-andrew-napolitano-another-911-truther-foxs-staff). He writes:
“Both Napolitano and Rivera have, er, raised questions about the “official” (read: commonsensical) explanation for the collapse of the WTC7 building on September 11, 2001. This conspiracy theory has been thoroughly debunked a number of times. Apparently Geraldo and the Judge are not convinced.”
You like the “er” in the middle? A common tactic. Smugly ridicule so you don’t have to deal with facts. Markay called Napolitano’s comments “morally repugnant.” Again, he ignores the substance, and instead suggests that if you don’t agree with him you’re immoral. And apparently if you say something’s been debunked enough times, it’s supposed to become fact.
Markay concludes: “Just so Fox is clear about the people whom they’ve given soapboxes, Geraldo and the Judge are apparently unconvinced by physics, common sense, and the simple human decency of their elected officials. Let’s hope they don’t actually believe this tripe.”
What physics, what common sense, and what human decency is he talking about? Once again he attacks anything but the facts. Because he can’t.
But Truthers shouldn’t get too giddy about this sudden mainstream turnaround. Both Rivera and Napolitano have said some very unpleasant and dumb things to go along with a bit of reason.
Rivera said: “Up until now, only those considered nut jobs have questioned the conclusion that office fires caused by the nearby catastrophe of the towers collapsing brought down Building number 7.”
On Napolitano’s show, Rivera says the “loathsome” 9/11 protestors have gained some credibility because of the involvement of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth with the ad campaign. Charming. So he thinks that for the past nine years it has been “nut jobs” and now a group of architects and engineers have suddenly raised the prestige of the movement. That says more about his own biases.
But, his willingness to consider that Building 7 was brought down with explosives doesn’t mean he’s pointing the figure at the U.S. government.
“I think it’s highly unlikely our government would do anything nefarious on a scale of this epic nature.”
Napolitano echoes this, suggesting, “Maybe that the government didn’t cause it, didn’t know about it, but wouldn’t tell us about it.”
Oh well, it’s a start. Rivera opened the door a crack, and Napolitano pushed it open a bit more. The question is, where is the next push going to come from.