Conspiracy Theories and Media Ignorance

The problem with the media doesn't end with bias. You can also throw in pure ignorance.

Unless they specialize in a particular topic, journalists tend to be completely uninformed on technical issues, to the point where they often miss how those issues tie in with the stories they're working on. It's as if somebody writing about a street accident wasn't quite certain of what a 'red light' was and couldn't be bothered to find out. This factor is not ideological, and can be found on both sides of the fence, though, as with most such failings, it seems more widespread on the left.

This can be seen on the large scale in stories about HIV, global warming, and the environment. It's also particularly true of military topics. Most journalists hold the military in contempt and aren't interested in learning anything about it. During the Air National Guard hoax, for instance, it was never mentioned that George W. Bush's aircraft, the F—102 Dagger, was a murderous airplane — a full quarter of the production run of 1,000 crashed, killing many pilots. Therefore, it would seem to follow that a man too chicken to go to Vietnam would not choose to hide out in an F—102 squadron.

Something similar has come up concerning the Scholars for 9/11 Truth, an organization that insists it has 'scientific proof' that the 9/11 attacks were in fact a conspiracy cooked up by Cheney, Rove, and presumably Kayser Sose.  One item of this 'proof' that caught my attention appeared in an interview   with co—founder Prof. James Fetzer by Katherine Kersten of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Asked what struck the Pentagon, Fetzer replied,

"Hit by a missile from an A—3 Skywarrior, most likely."

Most likely. Now, as any aircraft buff can tell you, the A—3 (which entered the story when someone claimed to have spotted its 'outline' in the DoD footage of the attack — though you could fool me.) was a Navy jet bomber designed for long—range operations from carriers. It started squadron service in 1956. It was a decent enough airplane, a little too big for shipboard use, and not especially popular with pilots due to a lack of ejection seats. After Vietnam, it was slowly phased out until only a handful of electronics and weather versions were still around to be decommissioned in 1991, ten years before 9/11. Raytheon uses a couple as experimental testbeds out in California. Other than that, they're gone.

So the question arises — where did Karl Rove come up with an A—3?

There's no point asking the Scholars — they think the A—3 is still flying for the Navy. They also think that the A—3, nicknamed the 'Whale', nearly 80 feet long and with over 70 feet of wingspan, the largest aircraft ever deployed from a carrier and fully equivalent to a mid—size domestic airliner, was a 'small plane.'  (By the way, it was never fitted to fire missiles either.)

So where did it come from? Where, exactly, do you go to find a fifty—year—old, out—of—service military aircraft that's in flying condition? And, in a country with thousands of active military planes available, why would anybody bother?

How do you fly such an aircraft over a city full of military personnel without anyone noticing? And why on earth do you paint it black, probably the most distinctive single thing that could be done to call attention to it? 

What East Coast airport was this odd—looking plane operating from? How is it nobody ever caught sight of it in the air or on the ground?  Who modified it for the mission? Who serviced it? Who painted it?

Challenged with all this, I'm certain that Fetzer and crew will come up with perfectly logical and utterly unbelievable explanations. It makes no difference. There was a woman at Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963 who was standing right beside JFK's car when the shots rang out. She saw everything. The gunmen on the grassy knoll. The gunmen behind the fence, the gunmen up the street. The problem was, she also saw a little white dog in Jackie Kennedy's lap that jumped out and ran off when the shooting started. A little white dog that nobody else saw, for the very good reason that it didn't exist. 
Fetzer's A—3 is the 9/11 conspiracy's little white dog.

The problem of the media remains. This is not directed at Katherine Kersten, a good writer who does yeoman work in raising the banner of sanity in the People's Republic of Minneapolis. Plenty of other papers, web sites, and magazines have mentioned the mystery A—3 over the past few weeks, and not a single one has blown the whistle. Every last individual who has written about the subject has thrown away an opportunity to carry out a valuable public service by blasting a hole in this crackpot theory.

Reporters who would travel beyond the wide world's end to track down the source of Dick Cheney's shotgun shells can't see their way to looking into it. They have no idea there's anything to look into. And people wonder why the legacy media are sliding into irrelevance?

J.R. Dunn is a frequent contirbutor to American Thinker.