Malicious nonsense posing as proof
By Gordon Farrer
January 4, 2006
911: IN PLANE SITE (10.30pm, Ten)
Conspiracy theories can make great entertainment. Elvis is alive; the moon
landing was faked; the world is run by communists/masons/Jews/aliens; The
X-Files was a documentary series dressed as fiction . . . Great stuff.
Conspiracy theories are especially effective when they challenge deep
cultural assumptions. The Da Vinci Code was a massive best-seller because it
tapped into suspicions about a major religion - not because it was full of
fun, Italian-style Sudoku puzzles.
But conspiracy theories can also be malicious, even dangerous. 911: In Plane
Site is both.
This cynical attempt to cloud what happened on September 11 uses dubious but
slick techniques to sway gullible viewers. The producers imply that:
- The Pentagon was hit by a missile, not a passenger plane
- The planes that hit the World Trade Centre towers were military, not
- The towers and other buildings were brought down by pre-positioned
demolition charges, not by the planes crashing into them
- The US government and military were behind the attacks of September 11
These are not stated as fact, or even as possibilities - all conclusions are
left to the viewer. Using clever sleight-of-hand, dodgy logic, selective
discussion of "inconsistencies" of evidence and "testimony" of eyewitnesses,
a new and disturbing picture of the events is painted. The gulf between that
picture and reality is the same gulf between a child's dot-to-dot picture of
a farmyard and a Rembrandt.
How presenter Dave von Kleist manages to keep a straight face while dishing
up this rubbish is a mystery. He gives the impression of impeccable logic,
painstaking scrutiny of photos and footage and of inescapable conclusions.
But he asks no experts for explanation of the many "anomalies" he presents
and uses dodgy rhetoric of the "Is it not outside the realm of possibility
that . . . ?" school. Don't be fooled.
The most compelling argument that this program is a load of cobblers is
obvious. It is not being screened as a Four Corners or 60 Minutes special.
It's not being shown as a Sunday feature, or SBS As It Happened documentary.
It's being broadcast on a Wednesday night, at 10.30pm, during TV's silly
season on Channel Ten.