Popular Mechanics Attacks Its “9/11 LIES” Straw Man
by Jim Hoffman
Version 1.0, February 7, 2005
The Hearst-owned Popular Mechanics magazine takes aim at the 9/11 Truth Movement with a cover story in its March 2005 edition. Sandwiched between ads and features for monster trucks, Nascar paraphenelia, and off-road racing are twelve dense and brilliantly designed pages purporting to debunk the myths of 9/11.
The article’s approach is to identify the 9/11 skeptics movement with a series of mostly physical-evidence issues, while entirely ignoring vast bodies of evidence that only insiders had the means, motive, and opportunity to carry out the attack.
The article gives no hint of the put options on the targeted airlines, warnings received by government and corporate officials, complicit behavior by top officials, obstruction of justice by a much larger group, or obvious frauds in the official story. Instead it attacks a mere 16 claims of its choosing, which it asserts are the “most prevalent” among “conspiracy theorists.” The claims are grouped into themes which cover some of the subjects central to the analysis of 9-11 Research. However, for each theme, the article presents specious claims to divert the reader from understanding the issue. For example, the three pages devoted to attacking the Twin Towers’ demolition present three red-herring claims and avoid the dozens of points I feature in my presentations, such as the Twin Towers’ Demolition.
The article brackets its distortion of the issues highlighted by 9/11 skeptics with smears against the skeptics themselves, whom it dehumanizes and accuses of “disgracing the memories” of the victims.
More important, it misrepresents skeptics’ views by implying that the skeptics’ community is an undifferentiated “army” that wholly embraces the article’s sixteen “poisonous claims,” which it asserts are “at the root of virtually every 9/11 alternative scenario.” In fact much of the 9/11 truth community has been working to expose many of these claims as disinformation.
Gandhi shrewdly observed four stages of movement progress: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.” By that reckoning and the expense of this devious assault, we have definitely advanced to stage three!
“The Lies Are Out There”
This article has a page of Editor’s Notes, “The Lies Are Out There,” written by James Meigs, whose previous columns have praised military technology (such as the UAVs used in Fallujah). Meigs places outside of society anyone who questions the official version of events of 9/11/01:
We as a society accept the basic premise that a group of Islamist terrorists hijacked four airplanes and turned them into weapons against us. … Sadly, the noble search for truth is now being hijacked by a growing army of conspiracy theorists.
Meigs throws a series of insults at the “conspiracy theorists,” saying they ignore the facts and engage in “elaborate, shadowy theorizing,” and concludes his diatribe by saying:
[T]hose who peddle fantasies that this country encouraged, permitted or actually carried out the attacks are libeling the truth — and disgracing the memories of the thousands who died that day.
Besides trashing the skeptics, and conflating “this country” with its corrupt leaders, Meig’s piece attempts to legitimate PM’s “investigation.” It reads:
We assembled a team of reporters and researchers, including professional fact checkers and the editors of PM, and methodically analyzed all 16 conspiracy claims. We interviewed scores of engineers, aviation experts, military officials, eyewitnesses and members of the investigative teams who have held the wreckage of the attacks in their own hands. We pored over photography, maps, blueprints, aviation logs and transcripts. In every single instance, we found that the facts used by the conspiracy theorists to support their fantasies were mistaken, misunderstood, or deliberately falsified.
This sounds impressive, but the article provides no evidence to back up these claims. It provides no footnotes to source its many assertions, and despite the scores of experts listed in its final section, the article cites only a few “experts,” who would themselves likely be suspects if normal criminal justice procedures were used to investigate the crime.
Moreover, glaring errors in the article — such as the assertion that there was only a single interception in the decade before 9/11/01 — don’t inspire confidence in PM’s “professional fact checkers.” It echoes the discredited assertions of official reports such as the FEMA WTC Building Performance Study and the 9/11 Commission Report, and provides no evidence that it is anything but a well-orchestrated hit piece to perpetuate the 9/11 cover-up.
For the last half of the article, click here: