ZDF - one of Germany's largest state-sponsored public media networks - came out with an article promoting a documentary on September 11 conspiracy theories - just in time for the sixth anniversary of the terror attacks. Next to the article is an unscientific poll asking readers to vote on who really "pulled the strings" on September 11, 2001. The poll provides several interesting choices (which themselves say quite a lot about ZDF) and recorded the following numbers:
Above: Who is behind the attacks? ("Rüstungslobby" = arms lobby, "US-Behörden" = US authorities, "Ich weiß nicht" = I don't know)
The results (with over 6,000 votes registered) indicate that 65% - or nearly two-thirds - of ZDF participants blame either George W. Bush (26%), US authorities (24%) or the nebulous and ever sinister arms lobby (15%) for 9/11. By comparison, only 27% selected Osama Bin Laden as the culprit and 9% said they didn't know. The article itself promotes a documentary which claims to shed on 9/11 and provide "research" that "solidifies" an "allegation against authorities." A translation of the summary can be read here - and the banner and headline can be viewed below:
Above: "Myth and Truth: Documentation: 11 September 2001 - what really happened: ZDF Research hardens allegations against authorities"
This article and poll - published by a major German television network six years to the day after 9/11 - bear further witness to the outrageous and warped views that cloud the minds of so many in Germany and around the world. Some, including German pacifist activist Angelika Claussen, chose to portray the attacks as "accidents" while others pretend to live in a world where the attacks simply did not take place or are to be collectively repressed. Genuine anger with the true culprits - the fanatical Al-Qaeda terrorists who plague the world with their murderous activity - is nowhere to be found.
Others, including the conspiracy nuts who have gained notoriety and a sizable following, twist the facts in an effort to create a narrative to suit their own primitive anti-American tendencies. They thrive on a culture that blames America for virtually everything. They seek to wash away their own historic guilt at the altar of the sacrificial world-scapegoat - the hated 800 pound gorilla and source of all the world's ills - The United States of America. These "useful idiots" are - sadly enough - all too useful to Al-Qaeda and other anti-American fanatics in their propaganda war against the United States - as Osama bin Laden's recent reference to Noam Chomsky demonstrates.
Let there be no mistake: The only reason ZDF and other German media promote this sort of material over and over again is because so many Germans want to buy and believe it. Deep down - far more Germans than anyone is willing to admit are convinced that American leaders destroyed their own buildings and thousands of their fellow citizens to justify a campaign to invade the Middle East for oil. They believe that George W. Bush - together with a sinister cabal of government authorities and arms merchants (i.e. the dreaded military-industrial complex that haunts the fantasies of much of the Angry Left) essentially murdered thousands of innocents - and managed to keep the entire operation secret - without so much as a leak. (This despite the fact that it is also universally accepted among members of the Angry Left that Bush is a complete idiot incapable of forming a coherent sentence...)
Sadly - this article is symptomatic of a wider mental illness that affects a disproportionate number of Germans and is to be found throughout the world wherever angry America-haters (and American self-haters) brood.
This can only be described as one of those moments - with state-sponsored media offering a public stage for these outrageous conspiracy theories - that one feels sincerely ashamed to be a German citizen...
UPDATE: Several readers point out that the documentary (which had not yet aired at the time of this posting) reviews numerous conspiracy theories - only to debunk or contradict them at the very end. It is true that the documentary reaches this conclusion - and we are happy about that - but the entire program is presented and advertised in a manner that hypes and promotes the madness - and offers the conspiracy theorists a platform to spread their lies. Further - had a ZDF documentary concluded that 9/11 was an inside job - the media reaction certainly would not have limited itself to this blog. But the cavalier and disrespectful manner in which the network handles the topic with its article and poll is disturbing - and has more to do with ratings than with a responsible handling of the subject. The poll - which offers outrageous choices (only "space aliens", "Israel", and "free masons" were missing) is a clear indicator that ZDF is anything but dedicated to dispelling the many myths that surround 9/11.
Watch and decide for yourself:
UPDATE #2: The media reaction to ZDF's 9/11 internet debacle is no longer limited to this blog. Henryk Broder published this piece today on SPIEGEL ONLINE that characterizes ZDF's presentation as a "disinformation offensive." (We will post the English translation as soon as it becomes available.) Unfortunately - SPIEGEL ONLINE is hardly an innocent bystander when it comes to flagrant abuse of 9/11 and its victims.
Translation of ZDF article:
Myth and Reality
Current: Myth & Reality from 09/11/2007
Documentation: 11 September 2001 - what really happened
ZDF Research hardens allegation against authorities
The plan was insidious. The dimension of terror incomprehensible. Commercial airplanes became flying bombs and shook the last superpower to its foundations. The perpetrators of September 11, 2001, were quickly made out, the men behind the attack are considered to be known: 19 young Muslims on a mission for the Saudi terror lord Osama bin Laden his organization Al-Qaeda. But from the beginning there were doubts.
Increasing numbers of people suspect other powers behind the attack of September 11. For them it is obvious that the Pentagon was not hit by an airplane, but instead by a missile: How else is the small impact hole to be explained? And why did the powerful US Air Force not simply intercept the slow passenger airliners? How could it be that hours after the impacts on the World Trade Center in New York a third building collapses that was not hit by the airplanes? Is this all a conspiracy of the American intelligence agencies to open the door for the Bush government to wage the decisive war for oil?
In the meantime there are over 50 such conspiracy theories about the act of terror. The circulate in books, newspaper articles, on the internet and in films. Hollywood will soon bring the first conspiracy blockbuster to theaters.
The documentary "September 11, 2001 - Myth and Reality" follows the trail of several startling theories. The film's authors spoke with well-known skeptics, with experts and with eye-witnesses of the attacks of September 11. The attempted to separate fact from fiction.
With partially new or never before published documents and film, they answer some of the controversial questions. The documentary explains, among other things, why there is hardly any wreckage to be seen on the photos of the crash site at Shanksville - and what really happened at the Pentagon.
Files under Lock and Key
Several eye-witnesses and participants speak for the first time on camera and raise serious charges. They believe the attacks could have been prevented. Members of the investigative committee report why in New York not only the two twin tours collapsed.
There are still many files under lock and key and many in positions of responsibility at the time unpleasantly avoid questions. It is for that reason as well that so many legends circulate around September 11, 2001. What is myth, what is reality?
By Michael Renz
Instead of dispelling the myths and paranoia - ZDF choses to fuel them with this piece. Sad but true.
(Hattip: Niko K.)