I recorded this interview in San Francisco at the Marine’s Memorial Club and Hotel on February 19, 2010. The occasion was the Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth press conference announcing the group had surpassed 1000 signatures from licensed building professionals calling for a new investigation into the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings. Griffin was a keynote speaker.
Shawn Hamilton (SH): “How do you account for the apparent psychological resistance even among members of the alternative media—who should know better—to even looking at the evidence?”
David Ray Griffin (DRG): “In one sense it’s obviously a big mystery because these are people who’ve been on the forefront of exposing American complicity—you know, if we talk about Howard Zinn, [Noam] Chomsky; we’re talking a long, long time here, so I never criticize these gentlemen because they’re heroes; they’ve done what they’ve done; we wouldn’t be here without them and so on. Some of the younger guys? I don’t know. Some of it is, I think, fear. I’m not talking about fear for their lives although I’ve heard of people who’ve said, ‘yeah, I’m afraid for my life,’ but I don’t think that’s the main thing. It’s more a fear of, well, job loss. That’s a big one for reporters. I talked to a reporter who had done one nine eleven story and so I said, ‘Well, are we going to get another one out of this lecture,” and he said, ‘I don’t think so. I don’t think my job would survive one more story.’”
“Then, more generally, loss of reputation. The effectiveness of this term ‘conspiracy theory,’ ‘conspiracy theorist’ and that no member of the press can be a conspiracy theorist because they’re supposed to be objective, even if objective means parroting everything the government says. In our day that’s what counts for objective.
But if you parrot what somebody says who’s espousing what is defined as a conspiracy theory, which in the definition that I gave earlier means a theory that contradicts a theory the government has already spoken on, then that a conspiracy theory in the negative sense and very few reporters could survive in their jobs if they explicitly said that.”
SH: “I understand that for the mainstream media, but what about the alternative media? There’s a split even at KPFA. They don’t want to touch this. They don’t even want to look at it. I’m not saying believe it, just look at the evidence.”
DRG: “That’s the next step down. They’ve been so effective with this scare tactic that even to give an open microphone to a conspiracy theorist means give them credibility and that means there’s something wrong with you. So, Shawn, I’m not sure that you’re going to fit in here in our future plans. So, you know how it works; everybody in the media knows how it works: nobody has to be explicitly threatened; they just know the rules. Maybe they tried one story once and they said, ‘Whew,’ that story wouldn’t go, certainly no story about nine eleven is going to go, so they learn not to do it.”
“A third factor is, and some have explicitly said this, ‘we in the left-leaning press spent years building up our credibility, and now you crazy nine eleven conspiracy theorists are destroying our credibility. Well, first of all, a big majority of the 9-11 movement is not on the left; they’re on the right. They’re libertarians and Republicans. Both Steven Jones and Richard Gage were lifelong Republicans, but this is the answer they give. I don’t think that’s just an excuse; I think they really do believe that [we threaten] things they’ve worked for.”
“So from their point of view, it doesn’t matter whether what we’re saying is true or false; it’s not expedient. It’s not helpful to what they consider the larger cause of exposing other high crimes and misdemeanors. So they say, well, we lose our credibility here, then we can’t do all this other good work, overlooking the fact—I would say as a rabid member of the nine eleven truth movement, ‘Look, this is the big story. This outstrips anything you could possibly be exposing from the last ten years or in the next ten—probably unless we have another one, and if we do have another one it will be partly your fault because you didn’t help expose this one.”
“So I just think that’s a very poor answer, and for some people to say—and I regret that Howard Zinn, who showed great courage opposing [Noam] Chomsky on this who would not read my book even though they’re both good friends of Richard Falk. Richard Falk wrote to Chomsky and he said, ‘I think you should read this manuscript. My friend David Griffin has been a great admirer of yours; he’s built on your work. He would love to have a blurb from you. Chomsky wrote back and said Dick, ‘No, I will not read your friend Griffin’s book.’ Howard Zinn read it. He wrote a blurb, and many people said, ‘I never would have read your book except for the blurb by Howard Zinn despite the fact that he got flack from many friends on the left for writing that very innocuous blurb—he was not endorsing my ideas, he was just saying this is a serious book. Even though he got a lot of flack for that, he came back and endorsed a second book, so I praise Howard Zinn for the courage he showed even though—and I regret the fact that towards the end of his life he said, ‘Well, nine eleven isn’t too important. It doesn’t matter too much what the truth is. I just think he made a terrible misjudgment in that.”
“Over 1000 architects and engineers have signed petition to reinvestigate 9-11 destruction” (Associated with story #14 in Project Censored’s currrent list/book, Censored 2011)