Why is CBS Philly Giving Uncritical Coverage to 9/11 Truthers?

Today is Sept. 11—a dozen years have passed since the terror attacks that killed so many people in New York, Washington, and here in Pennsylvania. Some media coverage of the anniversary is expected, but maybe nothing so bizarre as CBS Philly’s decision to do a completely uncritical story about 9/11 “truthers”:

“Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth” focuses primarily on Building 7 of the World Trade Center. Not many people know that a third building fell on 9-11. Tony Szambotti is a mechanical engineer from Blackwood, New Jersey. He says the 47 story skyscraper was not hit by a plane…yet collapsed into its own footprint at 5:20 in the afternoon.

Szambotti and some 2,000 other of his colleagues contend that it was not scientifically possible for an office fire to be hot enough to melt steel girders and columns. Which brings these highly educated, white-collar professionals to a disturbing conclusion.

“We believe there were pre-planted charges in the building.”

The reporter, Paul Kurtz, never bothers to offer any counterarguments or criticism to this “truther” view of the world. An honest report might’ve referenced Popular Mechanics’ comprehensive debunking of 9/11 conspiracy theories, first printed in 2005. Or it might’ve mentioned the overview of Building 7 theories at Rational Wiki. It might’ve done a million things besides offer 9/11 truthers an unchallenged platform.

It’s one thing to raise questions: That’s the job of journalists. When there are people who offer different, credible answers on those questions, it’s also the job of journalists to present those. The CBS Philly story basically endorses the truthers. It’s a bad look.