Even the respected and dauntless filmmaker Spike Lee could not overcome the awesome wrath of the mainstream media that comes down upon any person of influence who dares challenge the official story of 9/11.
In a span of three days, from August 23rd to 26th, Lee went from staunchly defending his decision to include so-called “9/11 conspiracy theorists” in his eight-hour HBO docuseries, NYC Epicenters 9/11 → 2021½, to removing the entire 30 minutes he had devoted to questioning how the Twin Towers and Building 7 fell. The half-hour was part of the final two-hour episode set to air on the night of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Unbeknownst to most people — because only members of the media got to view the episode and declare it unfit for the public to see — the 30 minutes of excised material included far more than just interviews with so-called “fringe architects.” (Actually, there were upwards of 10 architects and engineers, ranging from a San Francisco high-rise architect to a fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.) There were also interviews with 9/11 family members who believe they have not been told the truth about the murder of their loved ones and with first responders and survivors who witnessed explosions. Along with all those interviews was a wealth of archival footage and radio dispatches from that morning, in which rescuer after rescuer can be heard reporting explosions. (Full disclosure: I was also interviewed for the film.)
Instead of painting a full and accurate picture of the now-excised section, the media seized upon the inclusion of “conspiracy group” Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and our founder Richard Gage — who, in the words of Slate editor Jeremy Stahl, “is responsible for peddling some of the most pernicious and long-running lies about the 9/11 attacks.”
Stahl’s choice of words was clearly intended to imply, falsely, that Gage does not actually believe the view he is presenting but is, rather, knowingly perpetuating a lie for some nefarious purpose. Any person practicing real journalism who has interviewed Gage “multiple times” could not plausibly claim that Gage is lying. What Stahl was practicing was propaganda, the express goal of which was to stop millions of viewers from seeing the half-hour of documentary film that Lee made.
The death blow to Lee’s attempt to shine a light on the Twin Towers’ and Building 7’s controlled demolition appears to have been Stahl’s reporting of statements that Gage made in the past year in which he called the coronavirus pandemic a “hoax” and aired other related views about vaccines and Bill Gates. Stahl also loosely accused Gage of being anti-Semitic — or of condoning anti-Semitism — for having tolerated suggestions, made by an audience member in 2012 and by a podcast host more recently, that Israel’s Mossad was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Less than 24 hours after Stahl’s Slate article was published, news broke that Lee was “back in the editing room” reexamining the final chapter of the series. One day later, HBO announced that the entire half-hour had been cut.
If Lee had any say in the decision, I suspect he did what he did because he felt he could not defend keeping Gage, nor did he care to, and he didn’t have time for the massive edit that would have been required to remove Gage, who was central to the section. It may be that all of the other attacks did not faze him at all. However, the current narrative is that Lee capitulated to the totality of the media’s condemnation over featuring so-called “conspiracy theorists.”
At the height of the controversy and since, countless articles have been published referring to the controlled demolition theory as “debunked.” These articles either have no links to any sources, or they have links to Popular Mechanics articles from 10 years ago or more, or they have links to the very reports and FAQs issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that are disputed by thousands of architects, engineers, and scientists. (By the way, Lee and others make the point that fire isn’t hot enough to melt steel because there was molten metal at Ground Zero, not because the steel needed to melt for the buildings to collapse. This fact, as with all of the evidence of controlled demolition, has not been debunked.)