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No Conspiracy Theories in the Heartland

Reported by Chrish - August 6, 2006 -


Watching Heartland can be a wild ride that’s full of surprises. Just when you think that reason is prevailing, you are suddenly thrust back onto a roller coaster of intense insanity. Last night’s show was a classic example of a Heartland adrenalin surge.

Bill McCuddy reviewed the upcoming 9-11 movie starring Nicholas Cage and directed by (the not so popular with the right wing) Oliver Stone. McCuddy said that is was a powerful and moving tribute to those who risked their lives to rescue those trapped in the rubble of the Trade Towers. He noted that, as it was based on real life individuals, “any conspiracies are left on the cutting room floor” – a very calm and reasoned segment – but get ready, fasten your seatbelts, because you’re in for a rough ride!

Kasich then introduced his next segment by saying, with more than a little agitation, “speaking of conspiracies, with the 5th anniversary of the September 11th attack approaching, so are a sea of overblown conspiracy theories, some going as far as saying our own government was responsible.” He introduced his two “point/counterpoint” guests: James Fetzer, head of 9-11 Scholars for Truth, and histrionic Fox fave, “former CIA operative, Wayne Simmons (who, unlike many Fox faves, has not written a book about being scared of terrorists)

(Comment: Kasich did not mention that Professor Fetzer, who has a Ph.D., is a “Distinguised McKnight University Professor at Minnesota, Duluth – right there in the Heartland!)

Kasich lead off with a hardball (whoops, wrong show!) question about Fetzer having said that Bush’s brother Marvin and cousin Wirt D. Walker III placed bombs at the Trade Center. Kasich added “are you serious?” Fetzer calmly replied to Kasich that “you didn’t get it straight” and explained how he felt that it wasn’t possible for the buildings, which were built to withstand an airliner impact, to collapse in the way that they did. Kasich, already highly agitated, interrupted Dr. Fetzer’s explanation of the mechanics of the explosions by stating that “we don’t have all night, you said that a bomb was placed by Bush’s brother and cousin.” (Comment: no he didn’t, weren’t you listening, John?)

Fetzer tried one more time to explain that the buildings came down from the top, in free fall, and that is a characteristic of explosives. He then said that Marvin Bush and Walker III were involved with a security company (Comment: now defunct) that was connected to the Trade Towers. Fetzer said that his research debunked the Popular Mechanics article that asserted that the jet fuel got into the elevator shafts and caused the explosions. Kasich kept interrupting and shouting, “You are not arguing that the bombs were placed by Bush and his cousin?”

Kasich then went to Simmons who said, “wow, engineering 9-11, I understand how to blow things up. The fuel went down the elevator shaft and combusted.”

Kasich asserted “everyone has an opinion about 9-11; but is it appropriate to teach this in a college classroom” to which Fetzer responded “only if you care about teaching the truth that proves that the official account was false.” Kasich- loudly – “no you haven’t, no you haven’t.” Kasich then said “you think it’s constructive to teach this” to which Fetzer replied “maybe you know more than the FBI who, two months ago, said that there was no evidence of a connection between Osama and 9-11.” Fetzer then noted that the report was cited on the Muckraker website. As Fetzer was speaking, Simmons was yelling in the background.

Kasich ended the segment by stating that “I’m bothered by how you can go into a classroom, I believe in academic freedom but this crosses the line.”

Comment: I suspect that the growing plethora of conspiracy theories about 9-11 is troubling to Fox News as it shows a growing cynicism (even in the Heartland) about the Bush administration. As with the Kennedy assassination, 9-11 conspiracies will be a popular source of speculation. Conspiracies are a way to make sense of the incomprehensible and point the finger of blame on a government that is clearly not trusted. As the Bush administration could not effectively deal with Katrina, personally I doubt that it could have organized something as complex as 9-11. But it provided an iconographic narrative for the Bush administration, a way to suppress civil liberties, and a platform for re-election. Again, personally, I do find it curious that the French book about the lack of a plane at the Pentagon was kept out of this country for several years.

But the greater issue here is the total disregard for academic freedom on the part of John Kasich (and Fox). If the governing board at the University of Minnesota finds Dr. Fetzer’s course appropriate, then it is none of Kasich’s business. Like David Horowitz, Kasich seems to think that academia should reflect only what is considered appropriate by the conservative republican right wing and that underscores the desire, by the conservative republican right wing, to limit academic freedom. Kasich’s constant loud interruptions were also very inappropriate and journalistically unprofessional – but Fox is neither journalism nor professional!!


Please keep comments ON TOPIC and civil, or they (and replies to them) will be deleted. ~ Chrish