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Popular Mechanics' Assault on 911

Popular Mechanics' Assault on 911

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Published by QuickSpin
People often point to the Popular Mechanics article as proof tha 9/11 was investigated and the mysteries have been resolved. But this posted document is proof that Popular Mechanics lies too.
People often point to the Popular Mechanics article as proof tha 9/11 was investigated and the mysteries have been resolved. But this posted document is proof that Popular Mechanics lies too.

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Published by: QuickSpin on Mar 13, 2007
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01/01/2013

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The eye-catching headline on the issue'scover is "9/11 LIES", with "DEBUNKING"and "Conspiracy Theorists" being muchsmaller. Is this a subconscious appeal topeoples' suspicions that the official story isa lie?
9 - 1 1 R e s e a r c h
essays
NOTE: This critique served as a mockup for an print article that appeared in Issue 10 of
Global Outlook 
magazine.It examines the feature article in the March 2005 issue of
Popular Mechanics 
: '
DEBUNKING 9/11 LIES
'. The
Global Outlook 
article based on this is more detailed than this early version. See these related documents:
Popular Mechanics 
Attacks Its "9/11 LIES" Straw Man
: The original critique of the
Popular Mechanics 
article, firstpublished on 911Research on February 7, 2005. The current critique grew out of this much shorter critiqe.
Popular Mechanics 
' Deceptive Smear Against 9/11 Truth
: A more detailed critique of the article, including the entiretext of the original.
Popular Mechanics 
' Assault on 9/11 Truth
: Sharing the same name as this critique, this longer version served as thefinal prototype ofr the
Global Outlook 
article.
Popular Mechanics' Assault on 9/11 Truth
by Jim Hoffman
created 4/12/05; published 6/15/05
The Hearst-owned
Popular Mechanics
targeted the 9/11 TruthMovement (without ever acknowledging it by that name) with a coverstory in its March 2005 edition.
[1]
Sandwiched between ads and featuresfor monster trucks, NASCAR paraphernalia, and off-road racing aretwelve dense and brilliantly designed pages purporting to debunk themyths of 9/11.The article's approach is to identify and attack a series of claims whichit asserts represent the whole of 9/11 skepticism. It gives the falseimpression that these claims, several of which are clearly absurd,represent the breadth of challenges to the official account of the flights,the World Trade Center attack, and the Pentagon attack. Thus it purportsto debunk 
conspiracy theorists' 
physical-evidence-based claims, withouteven acknowledging that there are other grounds on which to questionthe official story. Indeed many 9/11 researchers don't even address thephysical evidence, preferring instead to focus on who had the the means,motive, and opportunity to carry out the attack. I summarize some of this evidence at the end of this article.While ignoring these and many other facts belying the official story,
PM 
attacks a mere 16 claims of its choosing, which it asserts are the
most prevalent 
among
conspiracytheorists
.
PM 
groups these claims into four topics, each of which is given a richly illustrated two- or four-page spread. Since nearly all the physical-evidence-based challenges to the official story fall within one oranother of these topics, the article gives the impression that it addresses the breadth of these challenges.However, for each topic, the article presents specious claims to divert the reader from understanding the 
 
James Meigs, appointed editorof
Popular Mechanics 
in May2004, trashes skeptics of theofficial story of 9/11/01 asirresponsible disgracers of thememories of victims, apart from"we as a society."
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
 
[2]
 The article brackets its distortion of the issues highlighted by 9/11 skeptics with smears against theskeptics themselves, whom it dehumanizes and accuses of 
disgracing the memories
of the victims, andrepeatedly accuses of harassing individuals who responded to the attack. More important, it misrepresentsskeptics' views by implying that the skeptics' community is an undifferentiated
army
that wholly embracesthe article's sixteen
 poisonous claims
, which it asserts are
at the root of virtually every 9/11 alternativescenario
. In fact much of the 9/11 truth community has been working to expose many of these claims asdisinformation.
The Lies Are Out There
This article has a page of Editor's Notes,
The Lies Are Out There
, written byJames Meigs, whoseprevious columns havepraised militarytechnology (such as theUAVs used in Fallujah).Meigs places outside of society anyone whoquestions the officialversion of events of 9/11/01:
We as a society accept the basic premise that agroup of Islamist terrorists hijacked four airplanes and turned theminto weapons against us. ... Sadly, the noblesearch for truth is now being hijacked by agrowing army of conspiracy theorists.
Meigs throws a series of insults at the
conspiracytheorists
, saying they ignore the facts and engage in
elaborate, shadowy theorizing
, and concludes hisdiatribe by saying:
Those who peddle fantasies that this countryencouraged, permitted or actually carried out theattacks are libeling the truth -- and disgracing thememories of the thousands who died that day.
Besides trashing the skeptics, and conflating
thiscountry
with its corrupt leaders, Meig's attempts tolegitimate
PM 
's
investigation
, saying:
We assembled a team of reporters and researchers, including professional fact checkersand the editors of PM, and methodically analyzed all 16 conspiracy claims. We interviewed scoresof engineers, aviation experts, military officials,eyewitnesses and members of the investigativeteams who have held the wreckage of the attacksin their own hands. We pored over photography,maps, blueprints, aviation logs and transcripts. Inevery 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 noevidence to back up these claims. It provides nofootnotes to source its many assertions, and despitethe scores of 
experts
listed in its final section thearticle cites only a handful of them, and mostly torefute its straw-man claims.Moreover, bold unsubstantiated claims in the article-- such as
PM 
's assertion that there was only asingle 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 FEMA's
World Trade Center  Building Performance Study
and the
9/11Commission Report 
. It provides no evidence
PM 
investigated the attack -- only evidence that itinvestigated the 9/11 Truth movement in order todetermine how best to discredit it throughmisrepresentation.
 
 9/11: DEBUNKING the MYTHS
PM 
devotes an entire page to this dramatic photograph byRob Howard showing Flight 175 approaching the SouthTower. Unsupported claims that the plane was not a jetlinerhave been the staple of efforts to discredit the 9/11 Truthmovement for over a year. The selection of this as thecenterpiece image is one of an array of techniques
Popular Mechanics 
uses to falsely identify the 9/11 Truth movementwith a campaign cleverly used to discredit it throughassociating it with claims for which there is no evidence,such as the claim that this plane carried a missile-firingpod.
The main article consists of an introduction and foursections, each devoted to a topic, spanning six two-page spreads. The topics contain a total of sixteen
 poisonous claims
, which
PM 
purports to refutewhile it identifies them as the beliefs of all in the
growing army
of 
conspiracy theorists
. The foursections are:
THE PLANES
, in which
PM 
uses nonsensicalclaims about the jet that crashed into the SouthTower to bury the incredible lack of militaryresponse to the attack.
THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
, in which
PM 
pretends to debunk the controlled demolition of theSuperficially, the four topics appear to address themajor physical evidence issues brought up by theskeptics (while ignoring the mountains of evidenceof foreknowledge, motive, and unique meanspossessed by insiders). However, the sixteen
most  prevalent claims made by conspiracy theorists
which it attacks are mostly specious claims, manyof which were probably invented to discreditskepticism of the official story in the first place. Thearticle debunks the more specious claims, and usesdistortion and falsehoods to counter serious claims.Thus the approach of the article is to set up andattack a straw man of claims that it pretendsrepresent the entirety of the skeptics' movement.The list includes many of the same claims that weredebunked in 2004 by the websites
911review.com
,
oilempire.us
, and
questionsquestions.net
.
PM 
provides no evidence for its assertion that theclaims it attacks are representative of the
army of conspiracy theorists
. It cites at least one website foreach of its claims, but the websites are notrepresentative of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Itmakes no mention of 
911Research.wtc7.net
, thehighest-ranking 9/11 Truth website returned by aGoogle search using "9/11". Several references areanonymous posts to sites that don't exercise editorialcontrol. To my mind, the 17 websites
PM 
mentionsfall into four categories:Sites with a high profile in the 9/11 TruthMovement that maintain a high standard of factualaccuracy: emperors-clothes.com, OilEmpire.us, andStandDown.net.Sites with a high profile in the 9/11 TruthMovement that post a wide range of articles orendorse positions without carefully vetting theiraccuracy: Prisonplanet.com, Rense.com,WhatReallyHappened.com, reopen911.org, andAttackOnAmerica.net.Sites that I've never heard of or don't focus on 

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