Outraged truth community demands answers from Guy Smith, immediate retractions and apologies urged, savage agenda driven yellow journalism an insult to the truth
Paul Joseph Watson
Monday, February 19, 2007
[mp3-jplayer tracks=”https://web.archive.org/web/20070221080408/http://prisonplanet.tv/audio/190207smith.mp3″ title=”Paul Joseph Watson & Dylan Avery Debate Guy Smith”]
The BBC’s Conspiracy Files documentary about 9/11 was a tissue of lies, bias and emotional manipulation from beginning to end. Producer Guy Smith should be ashamed of himself for inflicting this travesty of yellow journalism upon the 9/11 truth movement and he is assured to encounter a vociferous and outraged response in its aftermath.
Separated into two categories below are a number of questions intended to highlight Guy Smith’s production for what it was – a deliberate hit piece on the 9/11 truth movement structured around fallacy, lying by omission and overwhelming bias. We invite Mr. Smith to respond to these questions and the hundreds of others that are already being asked by furious and informed community of people who were made sick to their stomachs by Smith’s yellow journalism hatchet job.
GROSS FACTUAL INACCURACIES AND YELLOW JOURNALISM
1) Why did the BBC use a thoroughly debunked graphic animation from PBS’ Nova show to illustrate the collapse of the twin towers? This graphic portrays the tower collapsing at a rate of ten floors every six seconds. For this to be accurate, the tower’s 110 floors would have taken 66 seconds to completely collapse. In reality, the towers collapsed in just 14-16 seconds at the extreme end of the estimation. The graphic also erroneously depicts the floors collapsing without resistance, which could not have happened if the building’s collapse came as a result of fire damage alone. Furthermore, the thoroughly debunked “pancake theory” holds that the core column remained upright and static as the animation shows when in reality the entirety of the towers, including the concrete support structures, were pulverized into small pieces and dust. A video explanation of the erroneous Nova animation is included below. Does producer Guy Smith consider using an animation that portrays a tower collapsing in 66 seconds an accurate reflection of how the twin towers collapsed? Will producer Guy Smith retract this error before his show is aired again? Will the BBC announce a retraction of this error as is common practice for proven factual inaccuracies carried in BBC programming?
2) Why did the program claim that debris from Flight 93 having been found 8 miles from the crash scene was a factual error on behalf of 9/11 skeptics? Both the FBI and the NTSB admitted that mail the plane was carrying had been found 8 miles from the crash scene. Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Crash debris found 8 miles away.
3) Why did the program claim that the collapse of Building 7 resulted in no casualties without mentioning the statements of both an eyewitness at the scene and Congressman Otter who both publicly stated that Secret Service Agent Craig Miller died as a result of the collapse?
4) Why was footage filmed at ground zero on 9/11 of a firefighter discussing the damage to Building 7’s sprinkler system used to support the notion that fires caused the building to collapse while footage and testimony attesting to the notion that Building 7 was deliberately brought down, that firefighters had been warned in advance that it was going to be brought down, and that bombs had brought the building down, uniformly ignored? Why was the testimony of Craig Bartmer, a former NYPD official who states he heard bombs tear down Building 7 as it collapsed , omitted from the final edit? Why were the dozens and dozens of references to bombs exploding at all levels of the twin towers including the basement areas made by ground zero rescue workers and firefighters, caught both on camera and tape recorded from the firefighter’s communication radios, omitted from the final edit? Why was there no effort made to include the testimony of William Rodruigez, who was a witness to underground explosions in the basement levels?
5) Why during brief coverage of the Building 7 issue were the words of Larry Silverstein, the owner of the WTC complex who told a September 2002 PBS documentary that he and firefighting chiefs decided to “pull” the building, not even mentioned? Why were the hundreds of millions of dollars Silverstein made from the collapse of this building alone not mentioned as a plausible motive for its demolition?
6) Why was coverage of the collapse of the twin towers and Building 7 narrowed into a mere debunking of the “squib” issue and testimony from the dozens at the scene who both saw and heard explosions completely omitted. In debunking the squib issue, why did the documentary fail to point out the fact that such emissions could be seen exiting the towers many floors below the collapse point?
7) Why were the numerous unprecedented wargames that were conducted on 9/11 dismissed as “routine” when they were anything but? Though the show admitted that such wargames slowed down the response to the hijacked airliners, they refused to ask who was in control of the wargames and refused to mention the fact that some of these wargames involved planes crashing into high profile buildings and the huge improbability of such a coincidence occurring.
MANIPULATIVE AND BIASED EDITING AND PRODUCTION
1) If the documentary was intended to be a balanced piece, why were only three individuals who represented the 9/11 truth movement included in the final edit compared to at least thirteen individuals who advocated the official story or the incompetence whitewash? Why were individuals who represented the 9/11 truth movement and were interviewed by the BBC for this program, such as former NYPD official Craig Bartmer and Jim Marrs not included in the final edit? Does Guy Smith consider a more than four to one ratio of debunkers to 9/11 skeptics a balanced appraisal?
2) How can Guy Smith justify using the strong implication on numerous occasions throughout the documentary that questioning the official story of 9/11 is insulting and hurtful to the victims? How can he justify such a blatant and cynical attempt to emotionally sway the viewer when Bill Doyle, representative of the largest group of 9/11 families, is on the record as stating that half of the victims he represents are asking the same questions as 9/11 skeptics? How can Smith justify using such virulent and propagandistic techniques to bury allegations of a 9/11 cover-up in the face of the fact that it was an admitted government cover-up in the very hours after 9/11, the EPA toxic dust scandal, that is now responsible for the debilitating illnesses that are killing off 20% of the first responders, firefighters and other 9/11 heroes? Is Smith’s outright attempt to pardon the government of a 9/11 cover-up not itself an insult to the victims in those circumstances?
3) Does producer Guy Smith consider it ethical on the part of a so-called journalist to laugh off and dismiss the claims made by 9/11 skeptics before filming for his documentary has even finished or editing even begun? Can Smith be trusted to produce a balanced documentary when he has already announced his personal bias months before the program is completed or aired?
4) Why did producer Guy Smith decide to devote an inordinate amount of time to theories that are not even embraced by the majority of the 9/11 truth movement, such as the Jewish conspiracy angle, the C-130 Pentagon angle and the Shanksville “no plane” angle? Were such topics given dominant coverage even over core issues such as controlled demolition, Building 7, wargames and the stand down, which are uniformly embraced as the most hardcore evidence by the vast majority of the 9/11 truth movement? Does such a focus on nebulous issues prove the charge leveled at the BBC that Smith’s production was nothing more than a strawman hit piece that sought to distort and debunk fringe elements that are not even embraced by the majority of the 9/11 truth movement?
As the Angirfan blog states,
“Imagine a historian trying to prove that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or that George Bush was a good president. The bad historian would select only the parts of the evidence which suited his bad theory; and the bad historian would give lots of time to the spooky sources, and very little time to the honest sources. It was the BBC that led the way in telling us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Now the BBC is trying to support the Bush version of 9-11.”
5) Why were 9/11 skeptics afforded only brief, insubstantial and fleeting air time whereas debunkers were given the chance to speak uninterrupted at length? Why were the statements of debunkers subsequently supported in the narrative with documentation yet the statements of 9/11 skeptics were not, even though we know the producer was presented with such documentation. For example, when Alex Jones discussed a desire on the part of the Neo-Cons to have a 9/11 style event in order to launch a pre-planned war, the Project for a New American Century documents which clearly outline an agenda were not shown on screen or even mentioned. Furthermore, Alex Jones was told directly by the producers that any discussion of Operation Northwoods, which is a cornerstone bedrock of the 9/11 truth community, would not be included in the final edit.
6) Why was Dylan Avery filmed listening to the interviewer’s question about the coroner’s statements while looking nervous? This was a blatant attempt to portray Avery as dishonest and was not mirrored during any of the interviews with the debunkers.
7) Why were the debunkers referred to in sympathetic and sober terms whereas the personalities of the 9/11 skeptics were attacked? For example, Popular Mechanics were called a “no nonsense, nuts and bolts” publication (when in reality it is owned by the original progenitors of yellow journalism, Hearst Publishing) whereas Alex Jones was called an “evangelist” and Dylan Avery a “self-confessed dropout.” Surely if this documentary was intended to have been a balanced piece, it would be left to the viewer to make up their mind about the character of the individuals featured in the program and not have it dictated to them by the sardonic female narrator.
8) Why were the 9/11 skeptics filmed and portrayed in an unflattering light whereas the debunkers were lent credence and authority as a result of the style and location of their filming? For example, debunkers were filmed at ground zero, Washington DC and inside military fighters, whereas 9/11 skeptics were filmed in untidy offices and, in the case of Alex Jones, a conference hall that was portrayed as an evangelic religious cult gathering. Why was Jim Fetzer positioned so close to the camera so as to make his gestures and facial expressions seem wild and overexerted? As another blog points out,
When Fetzer and Avery were shown talking to the camera, they were overwhelmingly depicted as single-minded and emotional, with a forcible attitude of ‘you’re either with us or against us’, which was intended to subliminally turn the viewer off them – and thus discredit their points. It was almost half an hour before we got to see Alex Jones, who was introduced when he was yelling to an audience about the New World Order. The BBC said he was like an ‘evangelist’ — this was another underhanded technique where the BBC tried to associate alternative thought with religious fundamentalism.
9) Why were scientists who represented the debunkers interviewed and yet scientists who represented the 9/11 skeptics, such as Professor Steven Jones or Kevin Ryan, omitted from the documentary? Why
did Smith seek to interview former government officials who represented the debunking side and yet omitted any testimony from former government officials representing the 9/11 skeptics side, such as Andreas von Buelow or David Shayler?
10) How can Guy Smith have confidence in his conclusion that Osama bin Laden ordered the attacks when even the world’s leading expert on Bin Laden now says that the alleged “confession tape” is a fraud and the individual seen in the video is not Bin Laden?
I will now quote at length the excellent observations made by the ‘Debunking the BBC’ blog. This is just a sampling of the extensive rebuttal that is fully sourced and supported at the blog website.
There was a strong ‘anti-conspiracy’ theme throughout the programme. The proponents on the official story were given much more time to discuss their ideas and their opinions, and there was no camerawork or editing to make them appear less than respectable. There were only three truth-seeker proponents and yet they were vastly outnumbered by the proponents
of the official story.
Popular-Mechanics was introduced as a ‘no-nonsense’ magazine, despite having it’s article disputed and debunked.
The programme began with the narrator saying the theories were offensive to those families affected by 9-11 – a logical fallacy called an ‘appeal to emotion’.
The programme shows us bent WTC steel columns and damaged vehicles in a warehouse, then proceeds onto the official story, whilst showing the alleged hijackers on CCTV at an unnamed airport. Then casualties were discussed, videos of shocked people were shown, and emotional phone calls were aired. This is all emotional manipulation, and it is not related to pure theory, as it does not prove or disprove anything. This did not dissuade the BBC however.
There were scientists used to support the official story, but no counter-scientists shown, such as Professor Steven Jones, David Ray Griffin PhD and others . It was continually stated that blaming the government was scapegoating, yet it is precisely that act which was carried out by the mainstream media and the authorities when blaming Bin Laden.
When Fetzer and Avery were shown talking to the camera, they were overwhelmingly depicted as single-minded and emotional, with a forcible attitude of ‘you’re either with us or against us’, which was intended to subliminally turn the viewer off them – and thus discredit their points.
Before Avery began talking, they called him a college ‘dropout’, and said he made his money selling Loose Change. Avery is shown saying he does not care what the debunkers say – we believe this clip to be out of context, and that Avery was disagreeing with something else.
Fetzer was always pictured close-up when talking, to make the viewer uncomfortable and to ensure his gestures were exaggerated beyond what was reasonable – a technique that could be used to subliminally turn the viewers off him. There was no explanation made of Fetzer’s conflicts with other prominent members of the truth movement regarding his more unusual theories.
Avery and Fetzer were used the most. Alex Jones was not, despite the fact that Alex Jones is one of the more eloquent, respected, and knowledgeable people on these matters.
It was almost half an hour before we got to see Alex Jones, who was introduced when he was yelling to an audience about the New World Order. The BBC said he was like an ‘evangelist’ — this was another underhanded technique where the BBC tried to associate alternative thought with religious fundamentalism.
There were several baseless phrases delivered throughout the show, like: “secrecy breeds conspiracies”, it is as if they tried to compare the spread of conspiracies to the spread of bacteria. The X-Files guy said that debunking articles aren’t liked by some as they take away those people’s ‘security blanket’, and he said conspiracies are present because we’ve been lied to before, and that ‘cynicism and hopelessness still infects us’. He also said ‘we’re all storytellers’, compares conspiracy theory to ‘myth’, says conspiracists simplify things, and that conspiracies are pleasing to certain people with a political agenda.
The BBC tried to say that believing President Bush was a murderous madman was ‘acceptable’ to conspiracists, but there was no mention of how widespread that view truly was across society. There was also an attempt to smear conspiracy theory as merely ‘Chinese whispers’ on the internet which quickly grew to ridiculous proportions.There was a camera shot of a worker outside the Pentagon; he said: ‘flawed people need to make a name for themselves’, regarding the Pentagon theories. This appeared to smear all truth-seekers, regardless of whether they accepted the Pentagon theory or not, it also wrongly suggested that truth-seekers wanted fame alone.
The BBC allowed scientists to do a 3D simulation of the Pentagon crash to support the official story, but a truth-seeker’s simulation was not used for the WTC collapse. Apparently the scientists who did the Pentagon crash simulation received hate mail from ‘conspiracy theorists’, who were overly ’emotional’ and accused them of being government assets. This was clearly an attempt to paint truth-seekers as unstable and dishonest.
There was focus on a supposed internet rumour that said the X-Files team tried to warn people of 9-11 though the Lone Gunmen WTC episode. It is acknowledged on the internet that this show ‘predicted’ 9-11, but only in response to official claims that the 9-11 scenario had not been envisioned previously, but not that the X-Files team possessed special information.
The programme finished with the narrator saying the theories were offensive to those families affected by 9-11 – a logical fallacy called an ‘appeal to emotion’.
The 9-11 victim’s families are themselves asking for an investigation into 9-11, so it appears the BBC used some victims to support it’s hit piece whilst ignoring others.  Furthermore the 9-11 first responders were made ill by the New York air which they were told was safe to breathe.  Many of the emergency service’s dogs also suffered fatal illness for the same reasons. The BBC failed to mention this too.
Amidst the myriad of attacks upon its credibility, the BBC failed to mention that Loose Change is being revised to filter out mistakes made and concentrate on infallible evidence. Will Guy Smith release a version 2 of his documentary? Will his propagandistic and manipulative tissue of lies be corrected? Will Smith answer any of the questions listed above? Or will what has become for many the Blair Broadcasting Corporation continue to excel in shoddy research, outright factual fallacy and bias emotional manipulation, while taxing the British public for the courtesy of having to put up with it?
MAKE A COMPLAINT (BE POLITE)
Related: Years later, the BBC’s 9/11 coverage comes out in UK court