It is the tragedy of the world that no one knows what he doesn’t know – and the less a man knows, the more sure he is that he knows everything. – Joyce Cary, English author (1888-1957)
Alongside all our knowing must be the equal and honest “knowing that I do not know.” – Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest (b. 1943)
The rising power of the United States in world affairs, and particularly of the American President, requires, not a more compliant press, but a relentless barrage of facts and criticism, as noisy but also as accurate as artillery fire. – James Reston, U.S. journalist (1909-1995)
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The “mainstream media” gets plenty of blame for shielding the public, to the extent that it can, from the ugly truth that the official accounts of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are full of impossibilities, inconsistencies and scores of outright lies. A couple of distinctions need to be made, however.
First, in the weeks and months after that horrific crime of the century, much invaluable reporting was done and relayed to the public in newspapers and on TV and radio. Independent researchers have used this as well as their own digging to nail down the falsity of the Executive Branch narrative.
Secondly, plenty of reporters would love to be unleashed to continue to track down the truth for the public that depends on a free press in a democracy. Apparently, owners and managers and the advertisers and “underwriters” on which those businesses survive won’t stand for it.
Below is a small example, taken from a book to be reviewed in this blog — three paragraphs of a report in a February 2002 issue of the New York Times by James Glanz and Eric Lipton, under the headline “A Search for Clues in Towers Collapse: Engineers Volunteer to Examine Steel Debris Taken to Shipyards”:
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“From the moment the two towers collapsed on Sept. 11, engineers and other experts have been struggling to answer the monumental questions of exactly why and how the buildings, designed to sustain a jet impact, completely collapsed. But despite promises of a broad federal investigation, and after weeks and calls from victims’ families and others to halt the destruction of the steel that could hold all sorts of clues, the half-heroic, half-comic scenes at the Jersey City scrapyard continue to play out.
“Small teams of engineers plan slightly mad dashes, like mountain goats, into mounds of steel to claim pieces of tower columns. The engineers time their forays to avoid being crushed … Through it all, [they] profess optimism that they are catching and saving what is most useful. But they concede that there is no way of saying for sure; an unknown number of steel columns has been sent off to mills as far away as Asia without ever having been examined or saved.
“‘What they’re doing is extremely noble, ambitious and wonderful and I’m glad somebody is doing that,’ said Dr. James G. Quintiere, a professor in fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland. But, he added, ‘the steel, to me, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that it’s gone.'”
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— Mark Channing Miller