Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fight Ignorance: Read Widely

"Fight Ignorance: Read Buzzflash"

Or so it says at the bottom of many of the pages at Buzzflash. The motto should read, Fight Ignorance: Be Sure to Read Things Not Allowed Here.

I have doubts whether Buzzflash will print my contribution to their Mailbag, so I reproduce here what I wrote them today.
There are a handful of alternative news compilation sites I've frequented—and supported, financially—over the last several years. Every site has its particular bias or focus, naturally, because there is a human on the other side of a site and we each wear our own spectacles, right?

I have been visiting Buzzflash almost every day for the last few years since the site presents a good cross-section of stories from major and not-so-major news publications around the country. Buzzflash's obvious bias, like many other sites these days, is anti-establishment, and in particular, anti-Republican. Not unlike DailyKos in this regard, Buzz tends to promote Dems while harping on Repubs. Fair enough, the ruling party deserved it.

Another site I've frequented is WhatReallyHappened. Michael Rivero's bias is plain to see—Zionism in its extreme form can be quite ugly, and computer hackers (the bad kind) do deserve to be strung up.

Yet another site I've spent much time perusing is InformationClearinghouse. You'll find some of the more graphic images and videos of the "war on terror" here. The site owner has some pretty strong opinions about neocons and torture and globalism.

I think it is fine if you run a site and make your biases known. But I've run into a problem with Buzzflash in this regard. The site owner has biases he or she keeps hidden. Thus, you think you understand the scope of the content and don't realize the filtering that goes on behind the scenes.

I should have guessed this about Buzzflash, given a recent guest contribution from one Peter Michaelson.

Mr. Michaelson wrote a piece for Buzzflash where he, with true Frist-like audacity, remotely diagnoses everyone associated with what is called the 9/11 Truth Movement. I'll blog about his piece separately. The bottom line is, it was a hit piece disguised as a plea to those folks who dare question the Official Rendition of Events on that "day that changed everything"—a plea to leave their pointless questions behind and join with the true progressives to fight for the issues that really matter. Mr. Michaelson derided and belittled and talked down to and insulted all those who ask questions about what really did happen on 9/11/2001. So, do we assume just because Buzz invites this guest to contribute an article (which was nearly universally repudiated by its own readers) that Buzz itself subscribes to the "you are a nutcase if you disbelieve the government line about 9/11" belief?

Well, I didn't. Until yesterday that is.

Buzzflash offers an alternative .net site that solicits news from users—sort of a toned down Digg. You post something, users "buzz" it or not and if it makes the grade the story is supposed to go on Buzzflash's main page.

So okay, there is a new story this week about someone who uncovered a piece of video aired by the BBC back on 9/11/2001. The video shows a female reporter, standing in front of windows that let on to a view of the World Trade Center complex from a pretty good vantage point, blithely repeating some information she'd been given that the Salomon Brothers building, aka WTC 7, had collapsed. The problem is the building is visible over her shoulder and out the window. She reports the story about 23 minutes before it actually happens.

This is no small bit of news and, at least in my mind, it should raise a few very troubling questions, to wit: Who provided this breaking news to the BBC that had yet to break? And why did her live feed suddenly go black a couple minutes before the building actually fell? Shouldn't we ask some questions of the BBC, this reporter, and possibly the news service that provided that feed? How did someone know ahead of time, for sure, that WTC 7 would collapse?

Shortly after posting the item on, and after it had been 'buzzed' a few times, the posting was removed.

A subsequent posting of a similar story, this one bringing to light the CNN broadcast of Aaron Brown saying that WTC 7 had fallen down, or was falling down (when it obviously wasn't since you could see it in the video behind Aaron) more than an hour before it actually DID crumble, well.. this posting was also duly removed from the pending items. It isn't as if the stories were voted down and rejected. They were simply removed from consideration. I'd wager that the majority of readers never got a shot at viewing and rating the stories.

So what we are left with is the knowledge that Buzz has a hidden bias. Talk about government lies, fine, unless it's lies about 9/11. Talk about corruption and evilness and lack of compassion in Katrina-handling or veterans' health care or Iraq profiteering, but don't mention the possibility of corruption or evilness or lack of compassion regarding the government's handling of 9/11. Talk about National Intelligence Estimates and Government Accountability Office reports and secret Pentagon briefings, but don't talk about the 9/11 Commission Report. Whatever you do, don't post a newly unearthed video of a live news broadcast from 9/11/2001 that indicates foreknowledge of at least part of the tragedy that day.

I'm more than a little disappointed that the Buzz folks, whoever they are, have a phobia about this topic. I'm also quite sure that I won't purchase anything from the Buzz store or financially support this site anymore.

You may well be behind the curve, Buzz. There is a growing understanding that the Official Rendition of Events simply doesn't add up. This is not a wild-eyed kook-generated conspiracy. The perpetrators left too many loose ends, and we the People want to know the truth. I wish you were there with us, but either you are a left gatekeeper or simply too afraid of being accused of wearing a tin foil hat. Either way, you'll never earn a place in your own hall of fame for courage in the face of adversity.

Maybe one day you'll be honest with your readers that you are scared to death about 9/11 questions. At least that way progressives like me won't waste a few years and a few hundred dollars on your site, thinking that we are hearing about all the important issues of the day. Or maybe you'll catch on and catch up. But first you'll have to pull your head out of the sand and join the people who care not only about the Iraq War but about the event that "changed everything" that got us in there in the first place.


Lee Franklin