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The Truth about 9/11 Isn't Black or White - It's Time our Media Reflected This


Note to readers: This article does not advocate 9/11 conspiracy theories. No where in the article does the author state "9/11 was an inside job," or even imply as much.

All that said, to properly understand the context of this article, readers should know that dozens of high-ranking government officials have called for a new investigation, and over 220+ senior Military, Intelligence Service, Law Enforcement, and Government Officials have also criticized the official story. This includes 41 U.S. Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Agency Veterans*. Hopefully this makes clear that criticizing the 9/11 commission does not imply inside job or conspiracy. Rather, there is a wide degree of middle ground which is the focus of this article.

With the 11th anniversary of September 11th, 2001 just around the corner, we can expect America and our media to look back once again on this turning point in our nation's history. 

But like every year before it, we will look back with our eyes half open, not wanting to look at the full complexity of this enormously influential event, preferring to remember and reflect on a simplified caricature of our history instead. It's the story that our government and nation's media settled on quickly in the days and months following the attack, and despite all the new information that has come to light, it is the story that sticks with us today.

It's a story of a great nation taken by surprise, of a country built by a love of freedom attacked by those who hate it. It's a simple story. You know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are immediately. Our government may have been neglectful or incompetent, but it was essentially innocent - a victim of a tragic act as much as the people who died that day. The 9/11 Commission confirmed this, placing the blame nowhere in particular but on Osama Bin Laden and the hijackers that aided him. And a comic book for kids further iconified our story for a whole new generation to help come to grips with this event.

What's most sad, to me, is that this story is a fiction. Not because it doesn't contain some truth, but because it doesn't contain all of it. To do this story justice, you have to tell the whole story, so far as we know it, and it's fair to say that story has never been told.

But to tell the whole story of 9/11 is impossible in our current cultural climate. To criticize this story at all will have you quickly branded a "conspiracy theorist." Because when it comes to 9/11, there is no room for gray area, no room for nuance or complexity (or a deep memory of history for that matter). Those reading this may even be holding their breath for that regrettable moment when I declare that "9/11 was an inside job" simply because this article didn't begin with the implicit acknowledgment of the official story.

And that's the terrible position that most journalists and citizens find themselves boxed into: Either you implicitly acknowledge the official story or you get lumped into the other extreme as a "9/11 truther" - a label which could be associated with the most respectable beliefs among the movement or the most ludicrous and absurd, depending on what media exposure has shaped your opinion of what the label implies. Either Osama did it and our government is blameless or Osama had nothing to do with it and our government staged the whole thing. Really? Is the truth really found in one of these extremes?

I think it's time this black and white thinking is challenged. America deserves a grown-up telling of this story and journalists have a professional responsibility to provide it.

It's true, there is a lot of misinformation on the subject, from official sources and from activist voices. That is why it is the journalist's job to impartially look at all the available evidence, sift out the unsubstantiated claims (no matter the source) and report on the facts as best as they can be discerned. Will this evidence disprove some official claims? Yes it will. Will it disprove some 9/11 truth movement claims? Yes it will. The responsibility of journalists is to weave complex narratives that deal in nuance and gray area.

To say this story can be summed up in a black and white fashion, making our government out to be blameless or the only blame, is a disservice to reality. So that is the tough job Films For Action has embarked on. It is the job all journalists should aspire to, despite that being largely an exception to the rule.

The sad, hard truth of the matter is that, to tell the whole truth, you're going to have to piss off a lot of people.

The government would prefer a black and white conclusion because the "you're either with us or against us" rhetoric makes it easier to promote aggressive foreign and domestic policy without dissent.

The media prefers it because it makes writing stories easier and they don't have to stick their necks out or risk getting fired, as Dan Rather did for a story critical of then-president Bush.

The 9/11 truth movement, while dealing in grey area more than most, can jump to conclusions too quickly, suffers from one-sidedness, and can overestimate their case in an effort to counteract the imbalance of the current debate.

People in general would prefer to think in terms of black and white, because no one would rationally want to consider that their government is anything but universally a force of good.

No matter which way you cut it, it's hard to deal with complexities. And you can't sum that up in a slogan or a soundbite.

Of course, all these words are meaningless unless it can be proved that a critical view of the official story is a credible and principled position to take. And to demonstrate this, this author would point you to one compilation of news stories.

Although widely under-reported by even 9/11 justice advocates, the mainstream media itself has verified and reported on enough contradictory news stories to justify the movement's basic call for a new investigation.*1

Taken together, this 25 page timeline of 9/11 may be one of the best, highly nuanced, full accounts of this story that has been compiled so far. And all of it has been sourced by mainstream news outlets.

The fact that this information has actually been reported on by established, credible news organizations with rigorous fact-checking departments may come as a shock to many. After all, we're led to believe that all the good, honest reporting on the subject unanimously supports the clear-cut 9/11 commission's findings, and that anything critical of this story was put together by amateur alternative media which can easily be debunked. But of course, such stereotypes are false as well.

This is one of the more incredible stories behind the story of how the media has reported on 9/11. The mainstream media has, in the course of hundreds of news stories, written a powerful "unofficial" history of 9/11. It is exactly the story that must be told, and it is anything but black or white.

In fact, it severely undercuts the official story. Some might say it completely "destroys it." But you cannot sum it up with any slogan or simple conclusion. To say "9/11 was an inside job" is as much a disservice to the truth as saying "they hate us for our freedoms." To get the full truth, so much as we know it today, you simply have to read it yourself.

*1 -- It's also worth noting that "the movement" is not the only direction this demand is coming from. Dozens of high-ranking government officials, many even personally involved in the 9/11 Commission, are calling for a new investigation - making this legitimate, high-profile story one of the most under-reported and ignored news stories in recent memory.

For more on Films For Action official position on 9/11, see our F.A.Q.

Original Source


overplayedhistory 1 year, 7 months ago

Is it any more complicated than what the NYT article reported? Bush was arrogant and full of hubris, and did not want to listen, because of the information was not coming from hand picked neo-con cronies. I mean how much deeper is it than, the intelligence community knew and could not get Bush to listen? Big surprise! I certainly don't think the man who could not construct a sentence, could construct a plan, that would turn into public support for an Iraq Invasion. I don't think his handlers would be able to handle him through a conspiracy. Don't a lot of us already accept it is a little more complicated than "they hate us for our freedom"? So which side of this fence, your so desperately straddling to gain validity, are you tepidly touching the grass on? Their hate is more complicated or it was an inside job?

Their hate is a little more complicated is a conversation to have. Bush really was that negligent is a good thing to know. Is there anything else?


Andini 1 year, 7 months ago

I thought everything that's posted on the internet was true?


tange 1 year, 7 months ago

"The Truth about 9/11 Isn't Black or White...."

So, what color is the t-shirt? Is it all cotton, and will I need an extra large?


Flap Doodle 1 year, 7 months ago

LJW has, in effect, invited us to a conversation in their living room. If you don't follow their rules, they can ask you to leave. No First Amendment issues at all. BTW, it looks as if the hardliners in Egypt have discovered that our current President is Jimmy Carter Lite.


The_Original_Bob 1 year, 7 months ago

"Because the LJWorld values the principles of free speech on a community forum Andini. But hey, way to cherish those American values. Censorship. "

These type of comments always crack me up. The LJW can remove anything they see fit. It is their sandbox.


tribalzendancer 1 year, 7 months ago

You guys would appreciate Ari Fleischer's attack on yesterdays NYT's article. This was his response to an extremely conservative critique of the Bush admin: "Disgusting op-ed in NYT by a truther implying Bush knew of 9-11/let it happen. NYT decries lack of civility, then adds to it. — @AriFleischer via Twitter for iPad

"Nothing in Eichenwald's op-ed indicates that he is a "Truther." And no reviewer of Eichenwald's book, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, makes such an argument. The claim is just another Fleischer smear, just one more attempt to discredit the administration's critics."

You guys should be proud! Ari Fleischer uses the same illegitimate confabulations as you all are so fond of. :)


75x55 1 year, 7 months ago

I've ceased to be amazed at the gullibility of people to fall for the "cabal" theory of existence - that there must be some secret cabal of conspirators that guide all events to the detriment of humanity and their growth of their personal power.

It's a flaw in the human psyche that has existed for millenia - Jews, Templars, Bildaberger banking classes. The root is not the alleged conspirators, but the mental and emotional flaws of the individuals insisting that there is a singular human entity in charge.

Here's the dirty secret - listen up.

Humans ARE NOT capable of keeping a secret or performing effectively in any human activity for any extended length of time. The idea that any group of humans could keep a massive conspiracy afloat and secret for more than an hour, much less years/decades/centuries is ridiculous.

Such as the ridiculous hate-based fantasies that sitting American presidents would kill their fellow citizens for some nefarious gain - and no one really noticed and or seemed too bent about it.

Someone needs to get back on their meds, or take up gardening, or some productive activity like picking up trash alongside the road. The benefits of that would far exceed anything that's being gained by this conspiracy idiocy.


RoeDapple 1 year, 7 months ago

Yup . . . Bigfoot. Big dude, kinda smelled bad. Throwin' rocks in the lake. Never figured out what that was all about . . . .


Flap Doodle 1 year, 7 months ago

Every little mud show needs a geek to draw in the rubes and get more page views. HWMNBN used to fill that role. Since he got disappeareded, others have stepped up to fill that vital place.


classclown 1 year, 7 months ago

Reading this blog I am reminded of the classic line I learned as a result of the last idiot blog about this subject. I'll paraphrase to make it a better fit.

" Reading this blog is like being bukakked with stupid."

Oh and tribalwhatever, about this comment you made, "Because the LJWorld values the principles of free speech on a community forum Andini"

That is not true. LJW censors us all the time. Free speech does not apply here. Ironic being that this is the press, but that's how it is.


classclown 1 year, 7 months ago

John F Kennedy was responsible for it.


tribalzendancer 1 year, 7 months ago

As for the Dan Rather story, that story isn't a black and white, closed case either. A deeper investigation (beyond what's been claimed as a politically-motivated smear campaign), has shown that Dan got it right and top executives forced Dan and 3 others out for fear of facing political retribution from the Bush admin. See this:


Andini 1 year, 7 months ago

Why does the journal world let stories like this be posted on their web site?


Flap Doodle 1 year, 7 months ago

Bring out your dead (horses)! Bring out your dead (horses)!


Agnostick 1 year, 7 months ago

Tim, the most recent link you offer up is at least 10, maybe 12 months old. Why is this thing so slow to start? Are these folks afraid to gather in the same room?


Fossick 1 year, 7 months ago

The part about "rigorous fact-checking departments" cracked me up, and not only because it's the media's own lack of fact checking (aka contradictory accounts) that proves impetus for the above call. Dan Rather was not fired for a story critical of Bush, but for getting caught passing off fraudulent evidence in a way that embarrassed his employer. And their fact-checking department.


GUMnNUTS 1 year, 7 months ago

Anybody up for a Snipe hunt?


tribalzendancer 1 year, 7 months ago

Readers of this website may also be interested in this article: Eight Senior Republican Appointees Challenge Official Account of 9/11 - "Not Possible", "a Whitewash", "False"


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