As is all the rage in on the Internet, Bill Maher sent some hecklers from the 9/11 Truth Movement packing. I can’t construct a complete narrative of situation, but one key point seems to be the 9/14/07 show. His first show after the 9/11 anniversary where he highlights the failure to do anything at the site and also dismisses the 9/11 Truth Movement as conspiracy theorists and in need of medication. I don’t know how members of the 9/11 Truth Movement were attempting to raise the topic, but I imagine it was for the online overtime segment where they take questions “from the Internet for the Internet.”
I happen to wholly disagree with the 9/11 Truth Movement and basically share Maher’s view on what caused the towers to collapse. I watched “Zeitgeist” (no, I won’t link to it but it is the top hit on google when you search for zeitgeist.) I’ve also watched parts of “Loose Change.” So, I do feel like I’ve given the 9/11 Truth Movement the benefit of the doubt, however I remain unconvinced. Believing the 9/11 Truth Movement means watching the towers fall, and believing it is a controlled demolition. A controlled demolition that starts right below where the planes impacted. Believing the government is so competent that it orchestrate a complicated attack on its own citizenry, however when the attack comes, the leader of that government sits stone-faced with “My Pet Goat” in his lap.
What do I believe? I believe what I saw. Two planes struck the towers and after an intense blaze burned for approximately two hours, fell. This is supported by testimony of fire experts and consistent with the video record. One can watch interviews with the engineers of the building. They designed it to withstand the impact of an airplane. However, in their analysis, they didn’t consider the effect the fire would have. I believe the Bush administration could have done a better job of acting on the intelligence information that they had in their possession. If they had notified the TSA that terrorist might be hijacking planes, then extra significance might have been placed on four of the hijackers who were stopped by airport screeners. Would it have been enough? I don’t think anyone can truly know, but I think it demonstrates that the government could have done a better job with the same exact resources and powers at its disposal.
So, how does this lead into freedom of speech? In order for freedom of speech to mean anything, one has to defend the people they disagree with. I don’t believe members of the 9/11 Truth Movement should be thrown in jail or be threatened, or have violence advocated or performed against their person for their views. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t consider them, for lack of a better term, crackpots.
Nevertheless, I have to question the methods and the targets of the 9/11 Truth Movement. One, Bill Maher is a host for a T.V. show on HBO. I mean really, Bill Maher? HBO is arguably the best premium cable channel, but it is still a premium cable channel. Its reach is small, can’t you target CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS or PBS? I’m sure Bill O’Reilly would love to hear from you, I can literally envision some of things he will say right now (holocaust deniers, loony left, etc.). Second, wouldn’t it be better to target politicians? I mean, they have the power, and unlike Maher, are directly accountable to the public.
Ultimately, I think forcibly escorting the protesters out was the right thing. Especially since protesters in that situation seem incapable of listening. Although, some of Maher’s comments during the fiasco, I feel were uncalled for. Particularly, he shouldn’t have called for security to rough the protester up, because that is a violation of someone’s freedom of speech or at least the principle that it is supposed to embody in our society. No, he is not an actor of the government, but there are limits and inciting violence is one of those limits.