Editor’s Note: At the end of this article are two appendices containing 169 video clips of news coverage from the day of 9/11. An immense debt of gratitude is owed to AE911Truth Operations Manager Andy Steele for the time and care he put into preparing these video clips.
A PDF of the article with video links is available here.
This article is the second installment of a two-part research project we began in July 2020 with the article “How 36 Reporters Brought Us the Twin Towers’ Explosive Demolition on 9/11.”
In that article, our goal was to determine the prevalence, among television reporters on 9/11, of the hypothesis that explosions had brought down the Twin Towers. Through careful review of approximately 70 hours of news coverage on 11 different channels, we found that the explosion hypothesis was not only common among reporters but was, in fact, the dominant hypothesis.
Our second question, which we set aside for the present article, was to determine how, despite its prevalence, the explosion hypothesis was supplanted by the hypothesis of fire-induced collapse.
In this article, we shall concentrate not on reporters in the field, as in Part 1, but on the news anchors and their guests who were tasked with discovering and making sense of what was happening. As we trace the supplanting of the explosion hypothesis with the fire-induced collapse hypothesis, we witness the great shift toward what quickly became the Official Narrative.
We do not see our task as trying to discover whether the Official Narrative of 9/11 is true or false. In the 21 years since the attacks took place, it has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt, we believe, that the Official Narrative is false.
While we support and participate in the further accumulation of evidence for this position, as well as the presentation of this evidence to the public, we believe it is also important to look into how the triumph of the Official Narrative was accomplished. If we are able to discover this, we will greatly advance our understanding of the psychological operation conducted on September 11, 2001 — and, thus, our understanding of how other psychological operations are perpetrated on the public.
Our argument is that two strategies were employed to accomplish the triumph of the Official Narrative:
(a) Where news anchors were sincerely dedicated to discovering the facts of the situation, Strategy One was employed. This strategy involved directly confronting the news anchor of the relevant network with an “expert” who would explain that the destruction of the Twin Towers was caused by structural failure induced by the airplane impact and the ensuing fires. This would allay concerns about reports of explosions in the towers and would domesticate the news anchor so that he or she would stop raising problematic questions. Of course, as we can see clearly today, these experts could not possibly have known what they so confidently proclaimed. In fact, we can now see that their explanations were simply wrong. But their interviews seem to have accomplished their goals on 9/11. To illustrate this strategy, we shall choose as our chief examples CNBC and CNN, whose anchors showed the most interest in the explosion hypothesis, and we will also look at CBS and NBC.
(b) Strategy Two was used on all networks, regardless of the stance of the news anchors. This strategy involved developing two related narratives — two engaging, emotionally charged stories — that appeared to explain the day’s horrors and offered viewers a set of active responses. They were not scientific hypotheses and were not directly related to the destruction of the Twin Towers, but indirectly they appeared to favor the fire-induced collapse hypothesis more than the explosion hypothesis. By the end of the day, they had silenced the explosion hypothesis.
The first of these two stories is what we shall call the War on Terror narrative. This grand narrative, resonant with older storied events, explained how the righteous, the civilized, the United States had been subjected to an act of war from the evil, the uncivilized, the terrorists supported by nations in the Middle East and Central Asia; and how American leaders must respond to this aggression with an initiative that was warlike on many levels. This narrative was articulated early (before noon on 9/11) and was repeated throughout the day. It established the foundations of the Global War on Terror.
The second story is the Bin Laden narrative, which nested within the wider War on Terror narrative and was used to transform myth into plausible history. According to this narrative, an evil Saudi national based in Afghanistan had masterminded the attacks.
It is extremely important to grasp the relationship between these two narratives and what may seem as detailed — even esoteric — facts about the destruction of the Twin Towers. If the buildings were destroyed by pre-planted explosives — as we believe has been demonstrated through years of research — the two narratives, however rational and moral they appeared to be to many television viewers, are profoundly misleading in their political analysis and profoundly immoral in their prescriptions.
To understand how the explosion hypothesis was supplanted by the fire-induced collapse hypothesis, it is first important to establish whether, and to what degree, the explosion hypothesis was considered by news anchors, their guests, and others at the television networks.
As we showed in Part 1, the great majority of reporters who witnessed the destruction of the Twin Towers either perceived an explosion or perceived the towers as exploding. This hypothesis of how the Twin Towers were destroyed then continued to be prevalent among reporters on the ground, who essentially viewed the destruction of the towers as an explosion-based attack subsequent to the airplane strikes.
Given what the reporters were communicating to the rest of the world, how did their colleagues in the studios absorb this information and make sense of what had happened for the viewing public?
As in Part 1, to answer this question, we reviewed approximately 70 hours of continuous news coverage from 11 different networks, cable news channels, and local network affiliates.
Table 1 below shows the news coverage we compiled and reviewed. (For further description of our data collection, see Part 1 of the series.) Table 2 lists the mentions of the explosion hypothesis by network. Table 3 lists the mentions of the explosion hypothesis by the time they occurred.
Videos and transcripts of every mention of the explosion hypothesis are shown in Appendix A.
In total, when we include seven ambiguous mentions of the explosion hypothesis — which we defined as an anchor describing the occurrence of an explosion in conjunction with the collapse of either tower but not implying that the explosion necessarily caused the collapse — we found that the explosion hypothesis was mentioned 70 times across all 11 channels.
To our great interest, we found that news anchors or guest experts on every channel, with the exception of Fox News, at some point in the day believed, considered, or at least articulated the possibility that explosions had caused the Twin Towers’ destruction. In addition, several channels, including Fox News, displayed banners or captions or crawls in their lower thirds stating that explosions had caused the Twin Towers’ destruction.
The explosion hypothesis was first mentioned by several anchors on several different channels within minutes of the South Tower’s destruction at 9:59 AM and — within our pool of television coverage — was mentioned for the final time by NBC’s Tom Brokaw at 4:48 PM. It is noteworthy that more than half of the mentions of the explosion hypothesis occurred in the first 31 minutes after the South Tower’s destruction. As we shall discuss below, on some channels the explosion hypothesis was eventually explicitly discarded while on other channels it simply stopped being mentioned.
In some cases, discussion of the explosion hypothesis was driven by the anchors’ own observation and intuition while in other cases it was driven by information provided by reporters on the ground (and, in some cases, both). In a few cases, especially in the lower third captions, mention of the explosion hypothesis appears to have been driven by information circulated on the newswire.
Altogether, the data reflect that the explosion hypothesis was broadly, though in most cases fleetingly, considered by news anchors, their guests, and others at the networks.
The one notable exception was on Fox News, where the anchor, Jon Scott, assertively pushed the fire-induced collapse hypothesis while fabricating the War on Terror and Bin Laden narratives before our eyes. All the while, he seemed uniquely unsurprised and unbothered by the events, as compared to other anchors who exhibited varying degrees of shock, disbelief, and horror. Although Fox News reporters on the ground, like those of other networks, were describing explosions, Scott went out of his way to correct their impressions of what they had witnessed and make the fire-induced collapse hypothesis seem credible to viewers. Because of Scott, no experts were needed to establish the Official Narrative on Fox News. There was only one hypothesis in the foreground, and this hypothesis was so quickly solidified that by noon on 9/11, all of the major elements of the coming Global War on Terror had been set forth.
However, for the anchors who were sincerely dedicated to discovering the facts, Strategy One was employed.
In discussing Strategy One we shall use CNBC and CNN as our chief examples and also look briefly at CBS and NBC.
CNBC saw, perhaps, the most notable rise and fall of the explosion hypothesis.
CNBC’s consideration of the explosion hypothesis started at 10:01 AM with news anchor Mark Haines hearing from witnesses on the street that a third airplane had crashed into the South Tower. He surmised that this third airplane impact was responsible for the South Tower’s total destruction.
In a discussion with CNBC reporter Maria Bartiromo, who was on the ground at the New York Stock Exchange, Haines’ suspicion of a third airplane causing the South Tower’s destruction was reinforced by Bartiromo’s repeated reference to “the explosion,” which Bartiromo deduced was “just the actual collapse of the building” but that Haines suggested was a third airplane impact.
After about 15 minutes, Haines was informed that the Associated Press was reporting only two airplane strikes. As Haines began to accept that there was no third airplane strike, he and another anchor (we were unable to determine this person’s name) agreed that some sort of explosion must have caused the South Tower’s destruction. At around 10:21 AM, Haines looked closely at footage of the South Tower’s destruction and began to analyze it with an accuracy and clarity that was unique among news anchors:
Minutes later, Haines reacted in horror as he watched the destruction of the North Tower in real time, exclaiming:
Haines then went on to analyze the destruction as he had done before with the following series of comments:
In response to Haines’ comments, his co-anchor, Bill Griffeth, acknowledged the possibility of what Haines was suggesting, stating:
Haines responded with his opinion that the destruction of both towers could not have been accidental:
A few minutes later, at around 10:34 AM, Haines left the studio, apparently in shock, and did not return for the day. We can only wonder how aggressively Haines might have continued to pursue the explosion hypothesis had he remained in the newsroom. (Sadly, Haines died of congestive heart failure in 2011.)
At 11:07 AM, co-anchor Griffeth brought structural engineer Eric Gass into the studio for an interview, asking him “whether it would be necessary for a further attack upon the buildings before they would collapse.” Gass happened to be working on the construction of a nearby building for CNBC at the time.
Over the course of his interview, Gass extinguished any remaining suspicion Griffeth and others may have had, making a number of unfounded assertions about the inability of the buildings to withstand the airplane impacts and fires.
Hours later, at around 2:25 PM, Griffeth repeated Gass’s unfounded assertions.
To summarize, engineer Eric Gass, the “expert,” was able to put a stop to the legitimate questioning of Mark Haines and Bill Griffeth. Although we know now that Gass’s hypothesis is false, it would have seemed plausible at the time both to news anchors and the viewing public.
Shortly after 9:59 AM, news anchor Aaron Brown was standing on a roof in New York City about 30 blocks from the World Trade Center. He was looking directly at the South Tower as it was destroyed. He was, therefore, not just a journalist and not just a news anchor: He was an eyewitness.
He immediately interrupted a journalist who was reporting live on the Pentagon:
Having reported honestly what he saw with his own eyes, Brown next did exactly what he should have done as a responsible news anchor. He let his audience know that, while he did not know what had happened, it was clear that there were two hypotheses in play, the explosion hypothesis and the fire-induced collapse hypothesis. And then he went to his reporters on the scene, as well as to authorities, to try and sort out which hypothesis was correct.
Here are examples of his setting forth — after the first building was destroyed and again after the second was destroyed — the rival hypotheses:
Brown’s honest reporting of his perceptions was balanced repeatedly by his caution. Here is an example:
His next move, having set forth the two hypotheses, was to ask his reporters on the scene, who were choking on pulverized debris and witnessing gruesome scenes, what they perceived.
Reporter Brian Palmer said honestly that he was not in a position to resolve the issue.
Brown at 10:41 AM: “Was there...Brian, did it sound like there was an explosion before the second collapse, or was the noise the collapse itself?”
Palmer: “Well, from our distance...I was not able to distinguish between an explosion and the collapse. We were several hundred yards away. But we clearly saw the building come down. I heard your report of a fourth explosion: I can’t confirm that. But we heard some ‘boom’ and then the building fold in on itself.”
Two other reporters were more definite about what they perceived.
Brown at 10:29 AM: “Rose, whadya got?”
Rose Arce: “I’m about a block away. And there were several people that were hanging out the windows right below where the plane crashed, when suddenly you saw the top of the building start to shake, and people began leaping from the windows in the north side of the building. You saw two people at first plummet and then a third one, and then the entire top of the building just blew up...”
Brown at 10:57 AM: “Who do we have on the phone, guys? Just help me out here. Patty, are you there?”
Patty Sabga: “Yes, I am here.”
Brown: “Whaddya got?”
Sabga: “About an hour ago I was on the corner of Broadway and Park Place — that’s about a thousand yards from the World Trade Center — when the first tower collapsed. It was a massive explosion. At the time the police were trying desperately to evacuate people from the area. When that explosion occurred, it was like a scene out of a horror film.”
Clearly, the explosion hypothesis was flourishing on CNN. In what is striking to read today, even the news caption at the bottom of the screen at 10:03 AM, shortly after the destruction of the South Tower, was dramatically articulating the explosion hypothesis:
“THIRD EXPLOSION SHATTERS WORLD TRADE CENTER IN NEW YORK”
After checking with his reporters, Brown continued to explore his two hypotheses, this time by consulting authorities.
First Brown consulted a political authority. He got the mayor of New York City on the line.
Later in the afternoon, Giuliani had more confidence in his script. At a press conference that aired on nearly every channel, he ruled out the explosion hypothesis when a reporter asked him, “Do you know anything about the cause of the explosions that brought down the two buildings yet?”
Finally, at 4:20 PM, Brown was visited by an engineer, Jim DeStefano, who we were told was with the National Council of Structural Engineers (the actual name of DeStefano’s organization is the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations). His brief comments put an end to Brown’s explosion hypothesis and rendered CNN’s news coverage safe for public consumption.
DeStefano, surely, had a right to make a guess, but he had no right to claim that he knew what had happened. He did not say, “Here is one hypothesis.” He said, in effect, “This is what happened.” But there had been no photographic or video analysis of the buildings’ destruction, no analysis of the physical remains, no cataloguing of eyewitnesses, no examination of seismic or thermal evidence, and so on. He was shooting in the dark, and he was silencing a journalist who was sincerely trying to discover the truth.
As we have discovered since that day, DeStefano's confidence was misplaced and his hypothesis was wrong. But his explanation appears to have succeeded in ending Aaron Brown’s interest in the explosion hypothesis.
The deployment of Strategy One was not unique to CNBC and CNN. Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw, the evening news anchors for CBS, ABC and NBC, respectively, all considered the explosion hypothesis at various points during the course of the day. Two of them, Rather and Jennings, were met with experts who apparently put an end to their curiosity.
In Rather’s case, he was visited by a government official named Jerome Hauer. On 9/11, Hauer was director of the federal Office of Public Health Preparedness and was senior advisor to the Secretary for National Security and Emergency Management. In January 2001, Hauer had been hired to run a new crisis management group at Kroll Associates, the security consulting firm that had designed the security system for the World Trade Center complex in response to the 1993 bombing. And before that, from 1996 to 2000, he was director of the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), where he was chiefly — and controversially — responsible for installing the OEM’s Emergency Operations Center on the 23rd floor of World Trade Center Building 7, which would also collapse later that day.
A little after 12:00 PM on 9/11, Rather and Hauer had this exchange:
One would expect a national security official, especially one working for a company responsible for security at the World Trade Center, to be pursuing all possibilities. Indeed, we know that officials at the FDNY, the NYPD, and the FBI suspected that explosives had brought down the towers. Hauer’s confidence that explosives had nothing to do with the towers’ destruction, less than two hours after it had happened, is at best grossly irresponsible.
In the case of Jennings, he interviewed a structural engineer by the name of Jon Magnusson, who on 9/11 was a partner at the structural engineering firm that had designed the Twin Towers. Magnusson would go on to be a member of the FEMA Building Performance Study, the first official investigation into the Twin Towers’ and Building 7’s destruction.
Earlier that morning, upon learning that the South Tower had completely collapsed, Jennings remarked:
“We have no idea what caused this. If you wish to bring — anybody who’s ever watched a building being demolished on purpose knows that if you’re going to do this you have to get at the under infrastructure of a building and bring it down.”
Twenty minutes later, apparently having trouble accepting NBC reporter Don Dahler’s interpretation that the building had simply collapsed from the airplane impact and fires, Jennings said:
“I’m still desperately confused, John, about what may have caused the building to collapse.”
To our knowledge, Jennings did not articulate the explosion hypothesis after that point. Nevertheless, later in the day, Magnusson was brought on to explain to Jennings and millions of viewers why the buildings had collapsed. Magnusson’s interview on ABC was preceded by a pre-recorded piece that put forth the fire-induced collapse hypothesis, basing its claims on advice from engineers at Magnusson’s firm. Once the piece ended, Jennings began his interview with Magnusson.
Magnusson was somewhat more cautious in his explanation than Gass, DeStefano and Hauer. At the same time, he was arguably the most equipped to recognize that the towers had possibly been destroyed with explosives, yet he advocated solely for the fire-induced collapse hypothesis. As a partner at the very firm that had designed the Twin Towers, his early endorsement of the fire-induced collapse hypothesis was essential in supplanting the explosion hypothesis.
Was it chance that led a series of “experts” to disarm these independent-minded news anchors with one false hypothesis after another? We think that is unlikely.
Consider that many building professionals and technical experts are known to have immediately suspected that explosives were responsible for the Twin Towers’ destruction. Notable examples of experts who first suspected explosives but then quickly changed their position include Van Romero, an explosives expert from New Mexico Tech, and Ronald Hamburger, a structural engineer who went on to work on the FEMA Building Performance Study and later on the NIST World Trade Center investigation. On 9/11, Romero told the Albuquerque Journal:
“The collapse of the buildings was ‘too methodical’ to be the chance result of airplanes colliding with the structures.... ‘My opinion is, based on the videotapes, that after the airplanes hit the World Trade Center there were some explosive devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse.’”
On September 19, 2001, Hamburger told the Wall Street Journal:
“‘It appeared to me that charges had been placed in the building,’...Upon learning that no bombs had been detonated, ‘I was very surprised.’”
Much like these experts, Dr. Leroy Hulsey, a professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who conducted a four-year computer modeling of Building 7’s collapse, has said that he told his students the week after 9/11 that the Twin Towers could not have collapsed in the way they did due to the airplane impacts and ensuing fires. Similarly, Dr. Fadil Al-Kazily, a civil engineering professor from Sacramento State, once commented to this author (Ted Walter) that he was not aware of a single colleague of his who believed the fire-induced collapse hypothesis.
So, how is it that every “expert” who appeared on national television that day advocated the fire-induced collapse hypothesis when there were so many who favored the explosion hypothesis?
Although it cannot be proven, we suspect that intentionality, coordination, and deception are on display in these interviews. We shall see even more of this in the deployment of Strategy Two.
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live, or to justify taking lives...tell ourselves stories that save us and stories that are the quicksand in which we thrash and the well in which we drown.” — Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
On 9/11, the power of narrative to evoke horror, anger and a call-to-arms was drawn on by one prominent television guest after another. Genuine evidence, such as was produced early in the day by eyewitnesses, was pushed aside by the two narratives outlined below — the quasi-metaphysical War on Terror narrative and the Bin Laden narrative, which nested within the wider War on Terror narrative.
To the extent that these narratives were convincingly conveyed to viewers, no further argument against the explosion hypothesis was necessary. The foreign evildoers had crashed airplanes into the buildings and the buildings had come down, and that was all one needed to know.
The process of sowing these two narratives relied in part on a propaganda technique visible throughout the day’s coverage. It may be called “normalizing the abnormal.”
A good example of this technique can be seen later in the day. Both before and after World Trade Center Building 7 came down, the television audience was led to believe that such an event was normal. After all, the building was on fire, so of course it might come down! This was exemplified by the captions that began running on CNN around 4:10 PM — “BUILDING 7 AT WORLD TRADE CTR. ON FIRE, MAY COLLAPSE” — and on Fox News around 4:13 PM — “TRADE CENTER BLDG 7 ON FIRE, MAY COLLAPSE” — both more than an hour before the building came down. Of course, no such building had ever come down from fire in a way remotely similar to Building 7. Nevertheless, the television networks portrayed this event as perfectly normal, to the point of being utterly predictable.
In the case of the War on Terror and Bin Laden narratives that were imposed on the attacks as a whole, viewers received a large dose of “normalizing the abnormal.” This massive, complex operation was almost immediately blamed on a relatively small and poorly funded non-state organization based far away in one of the poorest countries of the world. It would have been far more “normal” for the operation to have been carried out by a well-funded military-intelligence apparatus. To exclude this more normal scenario in favor of a much more abnormal scenario required quickly setting forth the non-state terrorism hypothesis, almost immediately offering Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect, and choreographing the repetition of these ideas by various authorities.
As documented below, many claims were made about Osama bin Laden by the prominent television guests. On 9/11, these would have been seen by many as plausible, much like the statements by the building professionals brought on as experts. Many of us expected at the time that the claims made by these guests would soon be supported by actual, usable evidence. But this did not happen.
As this author (MacQueen) wrote in The 2001 Anthrax Deception (p. 31) of the period when the U.S. was making preparations for the invasion of Afghanistan:
“Secretary of State Colin Powell stated that the U.S. would soon be preparing, for the edification of the world, a document detailing evidence of Bin Laden’s guilt. When no such document was produced, the government of the United Kingdom stepped forward. The British document of October 4  was, however, astonishingly weak. The preamble noted that, ‘this document does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama Bin Laden in the court of law’ even as it was purporting to provide something of much greater import: a casus belli. Indeed, the document consisted mainly of unverifiable claims from intelligence agencies, the evidence seldom rising to the level of circumstantial. Anthony Scrivener, Q.C., noted in The Times that, ‘it is a sobering thought that better evidence is required to prosecute a shoplifter than is needed to commence a world war [the War on Terror].’”
When the 9/11 Commission later produced its report in 2004, it was unable to support its central narrative with solid evidence and resorted repeatedly to using statements obtained under torture.
In other words, on 9/11, actual evidence usable in a court of law (eyewitness evidence of explosions) was defeated by claims that, however dramatically appealing, would not be admissible in a court of law.
The story of the War on Terror, as publicly set forth on television on 9/11, is a story of evil and aggression, a story that extends into the future as the righteous take up the sword of justice and vengeance. This very broad narrative, of mythical dimensions, includes the following eight elements. (Not all speakers include all eight elements, but by the end of the day all eight had been articulated.)
Although Bush administration officials gave voice to these principles in various public speeches and policy statements over a period of time after 9/11, the principles were articulated publicly on television on the day of 9/11 itself and in some cases before noon.
Presented below are three examples of the development of this narrative on 9/11: one on Fox News (by Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives), one on BBC (by Ehud Barak, the former prime minister of Israel), and one on CNN (by Richard Holbrooke, a former U.S. diplomat and assistant secretary of state).
Other speakers — whose words can be found in Appendix B, which contains statements setting forth the Bin Laden narrative — also articulated the elements of the War on Terror narrative.
Note: Although elsewhere in this study we have not used BBC footage, by a stroke of fortune Ehud Barak was in London on 9/11 and was able to spend time in the BBC studio. We include his remarks as useful expressions of this narrative by a very prominent political player.
Videos of the Newt Gingrich and Richard Holbrooke interviews are presented below along with their transcripts. Videos of Ehud Barak appearing on BBC can be found in the Internet Archive’s “Understanding 9/11” archive.
Once again, at 1:29 PM, Gingrich has joined anchor Jon Scott. Gingrich says it’s way too early to have sorted out responsibility for the attacks. Then he says:
Immediately after the broadcast of a statement by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, at 11:28 AM Eastern, the anchor for BBC introduces Ehud Barak:
The above Barak interview is later repeated in full at least twice. At 12:10 PM Eastern, the anchor tells viewers he had Barak on earlier and that Barak thought this was “an attack on civilization.” We then get a replay of the entirety of the earlier Barak interview. At 1:28 PM Eastern, the same anchor again tells us of his interview with Barak, and he then replays the entire interview again.
At 4:12 PM Eastern, a different newscaster is hosting. He says:
At 4:20 PM Eastern, the anchor asks Rosemary Hollis if she agrees with Barak’s position and the equally bellicose positions of others being interviewed. She says:
Richard Holbrooke at 1:23 PM:
Holbrooke then appears again on CNN at 7:48 PM, about six hours later:
In this narrative, the War on Terror narrative is personified in an evil individual, the Saudi and former U.S. ally Osama bin Laden. Less mythical and more political, this narrative is supported with reasoning and with what appears at first blush to be evidence.
In our view, the simple identification of the perpetrator, which happens early in the day, is key to this propaganda method. Equally simple, and equally important, is the constant repetition of the name of this designated perpetrator — a means of crowding out other possibilities.
Bin Laden's name was repeated on television so many times during the day that we have not attempted to make a list of each mention. We have, however, listed the most important mentions of Bin Laden during the day on two networks, Fox News and CNN. Altogether, our list totals 56 mentions on Fox New between 9:03 AM and 4:32 PM and 69 mentions on CNN between 9:55 AM and 10:50 PM. These are given chronologically, in the order in which they occurred on 9/11, in Appendix B.
Journalists play an important role in keeping the designated perpetrator in front of the public, so we have listed their names below. But the weight of respectability is achieved through dignitaries and experts, so we list them first. The dignitaries and experts who appeared on television on these two networks to lend weight to the Bin Laden narrative are given with their main titles or qualifications as of September 2001.
In total, we counted 13 promoters of the Bin Laden narrative on Fox News and 18 promoters of the Bin Laden narrative on CNN. All of them made strikingly similar claims, none of which could ever be substantiated with evidence capable of being presented in a courtroom.
General, U.S. Army; U.S. Secretary of State; U.S. White House Chief of Staff
U.S. Representative; Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. National Security Advisor
Captain, U.S. Navy; Assistant Secretary of Defense; Member, Council on Foreign Relations ; Co-author, “Integrated Power: A National Security Strategy for the 21st Century”
Secretary of State
Professor Barry Levin
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army; Fox News military analyst
Journalist and News Anchor, Fox News
Journalist, Fox News
Journalist, Fox News
Journalist, Fox News
Journalist and Co-anchor, Fox News
Journalist, Fox News (later White House press secretary)
General, U.S. Army (retired, 2000); Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO (1997-2000)
U.S. Senator, Utah
U.S. Diplomat; Assistant Secretary of State (twice)
U.S. Representative; U.S. Senator; Secretary of Defense (1997-2001)
Secretary of State
Naval Officer; U.S. Senator
L. Paul Bremer
Foreign Service; Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism (appointed 1999)
White House Chief of Staff (twice); Secretary of the Treasury; Secretary of State
U.S. Representative; U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Secretary of Energy
Military analyst, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, specializing in bin Laden and the Taliban
Journalist and News Anchor, CNN
Journalist, CNN (senior White House correspondent)
Journalist, CNN (national security correspondent)
Journalist and Co-anchor, CNN
Journalist and Co-anchor, CNN
Journalist and Co-anchor, CNN
Journalist and Terrorism Analyst, CNN
Journalist and Senior analyst, CNN; Former Speechwriter for Senator Robert F. Kennedy
As the two stories were spun on television throughout the day of 9/11, both the testimony of eyewitnesses and the explosion hypothesis based on their testimony gradually faded into the void.
The story of the evil attackers appeared to assume, even though this was seldom directly stated, that the buildings were simply knocked down by the airplanes. Precisely how these airplane impacts could have destroyed these buildings in the way witnessed was not explained, beyond the vague and erroneous statements by a few engineers. Essentially, the viewing public was encouraged to feel that it must have happened this way, and they were not encouraged to inquire deeply into the “how” of it. This process was greatly aided both by the emotions encouraged by the stories and by a well-known logical fallacy, the post hoc fallacy.
The post hoc fallacy involves the erroneous conclusion that because x comes after y, y must have caused x. In the present case, the fallacy took the form: Planes crashed into buildings and afterwards the buildings came down; therefore, the plane crashes caused the buildings to come down.
The viewing public, it was assumed, would be easily captured by the gripping stories, and in their infantile mental state would never notice the flawed reasoning or inquire into the details of the matter.
The stories promoted on television on 9/11 fit the American pysche like a glove. One of the most prevalent and deeply cultivated political and moral stories of the 20th century for U.S. citizens is the story of aggression. Germany was found guilty of aggression after both WWI and WWII. Japan was accused of an “unprovoked attack” in the Pearl Harbor event that was used to bring the U.S. into WWII. Since Nuremberg, “Communist aggression” became a widely used phrase and a pillar of the Cold War. The Gulf of Tonkin incident, for example, was in this way made into a pretext for massive U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.
It is not our intention to review each of these events. We believe the aggression claims in the above incidents range from fully justified through weak to fabricated. What matters here is that the U.S. national psyche was programmed to believe readily in external aggression against the U.S. and its allies, whereas aggression issuing from the U.S. or its allies was impossible to conceive, was simply outside the national narrative.
Had a proper investigation been initiated on 9/11, based on the experience and reasoning presented on television that day, every one of the journalists who directly witnessed explosions at the time of the Twin Towers’ destruction would have been able to offer courtroom-worthy evidence. They would have been able to recount what they themselves had perceived with their senses.
By contrast, not one of the journalists or prominent persons on Fox News and CNN promoting the War on Terror and Bin Laden narratives would have been able to offer comparable evidence. They would have fared badly in a courtroom, having nothing to offer but speculation and hearsay.
However gripping their stories, story is not evidence.
We may summarize our findings on the 9/11 psychological operation by listing nine of the major propaganda elements at play that day.
First, however, let us remember a central fact lying beneath and behind the nine elements — namely, that on 9/11 television was used to evoke shock and confusion in U.S. citizens, and in citizens around the world, by transmitting the horrific images of the day. No words, no analysis, can compete with the images of the airplane strikes, the disintegrating towers, and the shocked reactions of people on the scene.
Such shock ensures that critical thinking will be at a low ebb, while old loyalties and a desire to pull together in the face of violence will be very powerful. We have not studied this aspect of the operation in this article, but all nine elements below must be understood in this context.
To study the day’s events as they unfolded on television is to experience in a shockingly direct way how a well-oiled propaganda system — of which television is a central component — can spin grand and lethal yarns that silence the citizens who experience, who witness, who suffer, and who constitute the epistemic backbone of democracy.
The ability of this propaganda system to achieve the triumph of the Official Narrative in a matter of hours suggests to us that while good science is necessary for dispelling the Official Narrative, alone it may not be sufficient.
Oftentimes, researchers (engineers, scientists, academics, etc.) carry on their research as if they were merely studying the natural world — a world that has no interest in the researchers and does not look back at them. But in cases such as 9/11, researchers are working within an intellectual context shaped by an intelligent opponent. This opponent is neither inert nor disinterested, but looks back at the researcher. It has intentionally laid down sets of false claims and dead-end trails and can be expected to continue to do so.
This does not mean that researchers and activists should give up their focus on good science. Rather, it means that those who are dedicated to revealing the truth about 9/11 must think deeply about how to carry out good science and good communication within the specific context of a still-ongoing psychological operation.
Evidence could not stop the Official Narrative from triumphing on 9/11, and evidence alone will not defeat the Official Narrative now.back to the TOP