In this post on FaceBook a few days ago, you addressed "folks on the Right", saying "your rights are just as important as mine, and ... I would die to defend them." When I read that, I couldn't help but contrast it with the response you gave to me in a private conversation we had recently, in which I tried to point out the possibility of flagrant, criminal violations of our citizens' most important right (the right to life), and you wrote:
Sorry, Chris. It's a busy semester, and honestly, I just don't have time, given everything on my plate, to respond just now.1The main issue we discussed in that conversation was the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It might not be immediately obvious that this bears on the issue of "defending the rights" of your fellow citizens, but it does.
No one doubts, of course, that these attacks took place, nor that they were heinous crimes, but there is considerable debate about who the perpetrators were, and whether or not justice has been served. And if justice has not been served, it is in large part because great numbers of journalists who should have had the fortitude and wherewithal to question the official story, and put their careers (and perhaps even their lives) on the line, instead chose the easy way.
In your Facebook post, you expressed the sentiment that we (liberals and conservatives) are not enemies -- that we should not be enemies -- and I wholeheartedly agree! I myself recently posted this quote from Lincoln, from his inaugural address before the start of the civil war:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory will swell when again touched as surely they will be by the better angels of our nature.Now, however, it seems clear to me that there is a deep, nearly irreconcilable difference between the two sides: we disagree about who the real enemy is. These days, liberals, neoconservatives, and the mainstream media seem to be depicting Trump and his supporters as the enemy, plain and simple. Conservatives (the old-fashioned kind), on the other hand, are, by-and-large, extremely concerned with Federal government overreach. A sizable percentage view the government itself as the enemy.
In your post, you wrote, as if it were beyond dispute, that "There are no FEMA camps waiting for anyone". But did you know that some recent surveys indicate that 36% of Americans now think that 9/11 was an inside job? And, that the percentage who think that there was at least some cover-up is a whopping 84%! (That's 84% of Americans, not of conservatives). Now, if you became convinced that 9/11 were an inside job, do you think you'd be able to assert so blithely that there are no FEMA camps waiting for us? If 9/11 was an inside job, then we need to take a step back and re-examine everything.
In fact, I've witnessed time and time again that it's these implications themselves that are a major stumbling block for people. They simply won't consider the possibility, because the implications are too fantastic. But that attitude is puts the cart before the horse -- we must first try to drive out all preconceived notions, and objectively consider the evidence, and only then can we make informed judgements about the case.
For almost 15 years, I never considered it either. But over the past few months, I've become aware that the official explanations for the attacks have a number of major flaws that warrant further investigation. Also, that these flaws in the official story are very credible, and have been known for years, pointed out by members of the "9/11 truth movement", often as early as a few weeks or months after the attacks. Furthermore, that the reporting of these discrepancies in the mainstream media, when it has existed at all, has been overwhelmingly biased in favor of the official story.
The main question I have is: Why has the mainstream media been so quiet about these? Not only quiet, but in many cases, actively campaigned against, threatened, and smeared the few journalists who did dare to report on some of these questions in pubic forums?
At best, they have abdicated their self-proclaimed commitment to report the news (quoting from the NYT Ethics and Standards page) "as impartially as possible — without fear or favor". At worst, these organizations, and many top-level editors and commentators, are implicated as criminal accessories in the largest mass murder in American history.
Mark, let me be clear about what I am asserting, and how it relates to "defending our rights".
It is not necessary, for the purposes of this letter, that the 9/11 truth movement be able to prove conclusively the attacks were "an inside job". It's sufficient for there to have been just one credible report of a significant anamoly in the official story, and for that report to have been neglected or covered up by the investigators and the mainstream media. If that's the case, then those media organizations are (at best) negligent, as described above.
And, any journalist who hears of these credible reports and their cover-up is obligated to pursue them, if that journalist subscribes to the "Journalist's Creed", which includes:
I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
And finally, I challenge you, on the basis of your statement that you would "die to defend" our rights, to educate yourself on this issue, which dwarfs in importance anything else on the front page right now. This goes way beyond liberal vs. conservative (remember, of course, that the president at that time was GW Bush), but at the same time, I believe, goes right to the heart of the ideological divide that our country currently faces.
In summary, these facts are extremely simple and incontrovertible:
- There are discrepancies in the official story (not just one, but tens if not hundreds of them), and
- Reporting of those discrepancies has been systematically suppressed by the mainstream media.
These facts have nothing to do with your, or anyone else's, subjective opinion about how likely it is that 9/11 was an inside job. It's important to shelve those opinions and start from a place of impartiality.
This is not a trivial matter. As Nelson Mandela said, "a critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy". This is why I cannot let it go, and why I keep badgering you. I know my passion strains, but I'm hoping it hasn't broken our bonds of affection.
1 With your permission, I would post the entire thread here, in case anyone would like to read this quote in context.