Kill the Messenger
Public Reaction to Rep. McKinney’s Call for 9-11 Investigation Quashes Intended Media Massacre
by Michael Davidson, FTW Staff Writer
Hopefully, a fate similar to Galileo's will not befall Cynthia McKinney.
On March 25
Two-and-a-half weeks later on April 12, an article appeared in the Washington
- The warnings from several foreign governments to the highest levels of the
- The huge profits made in sophisticated stock transactions involving several airlines, brokerages and insurance firms whose stock prices were affected dramatically by 9-11;
- The relationship between the oil company Unocal and the Taliban rulers of
- The relationship between the administration and the Carlyle Group, an
investment firm with ma
- The requests by both the president and vice president that any congressional investigations into 9-11 not be particularly intense or lengthy;
- The huge profits persons close to the administration will make thanks to increased defense spending.
Let the games begin
Almost immediately after the Washington Post article, the administration, the
mainstream media and its pundits shifted into overdrive, floored the pedal, and
wound the smear engine right to the redline. Interestingly, no one has
challenged the accuracy of a single word
In the original Washington Post article, Bush spokesman Scott McLellan was quoted as saying "The American people know the facts, and they dismiss such ludicrous, baseless views." Carlyle Group spokesman Chris Ullman posed the question "Did she say these things while standing on a grassy knoll in Roswell, New Mexico?"
That same day, April 12, "Representative Awful" was posted on National Review Online by Jonah Goldberg, son of Lucianne Goldberg -- literary agent, Linda Tripp crony, and former Nixon dirty trickster. National Review was founded by William F. Buckley, whose family fortune was made in the oil business. Goldberg dismissed McKinney's suggestion for an investigation, saying "I am not aware of any evidence that Ms. McKinney has murdered several children or that she personally profited from sleeping with the entire defensive squad of the Atlanta Falcons." He then goes on to say that the congresswoman is suffering "paranoid, America-hating, crypto-Marxist conspiratorial delusions."
Anyone who remembers the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings will remember Anita Hill was described as "a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty." Apparently, Goldberg has learned some big words to repeat the easy smear used against any black woman to the left of Condoleezza Rice. Keep in mind that in an Oct. 29 attack piece on McKinney Goldberg wrote, "Taking black politicians seriously pays them a compliment."
Next, McKinney's hometown newspaper took up the charge. An April 13 Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) article by staff writer Melanie Eversley reported that Democratic Georgia Sen. Zell Miller issued a "bristling" statement saying her on-air comments were "dangerous and irresponsible." Not being content to dismiss the legitimate, American ideas of dissent and question, Miller made a sarcastic comment about McKinney attempting to get kissed by President Bush. Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer, is quoted: "All I can tell you is the congresswoman must be running for the hall of fame of the Grassy Knoll Society." Interesting that the "grassy knoll" allusion was made twice by people connected to the administration, yet they will not dispute her facts.
The AJC article also quotes Emory University political scientist Merle Black: "It reinforces the view among serious people in her district that she's a very ineffective representative if this is how she chooses to spend her political capital." Apparently there are very few "serious" people Black will be able to "reinforce" with his totally "unscientific" opinion, as McKinney has won five elections in a row, with her lowest margin of victory being 58 percent.
Along with Eversley's article, AJC put up a poll on its website asking the question, "Are you satisfied the Bush administration had no advance warning of the Sept. 11 attacks?" A visitor could vote "Yes," "No, I think officials knew it was coming" or "I'm not sure. Congress should investigate."
Within hours, the "No, I think officials knew it was coming" vote led the "Yes" vote 51 percent to 47 percent, with two percent "Not sure." The ultra-conservative website FreeRepublic.com alerted its viewers and encouraged them to vote against McKinney, to no avail. The vote seesawed back and forth across the 50 percent mark, each side holding a slim lead at various points throughout the day. By mid-afternoon 23,145 people had voted. "Yes" (anti-McKinney) had 52 percent, "No" (pro-McKinney) had 46 percent, and "Not sure" had one percent. Forty-seven percent of voters do not believe the story the world has been told by the Bush Administration.
Then, the poll vanished. Gone. Disappeared. Not there. People signed on to vote, but there was no poll to vote at. The article was there, but the poll was gone. There was no explanation.
On April 21, AJC columnist Mike King explained what happened. "The responses broke down the tabulator we use to keep track of the votes." So can we assume, then, when Mr. King gets a flat tire he throws the entire car away and abandons his trip?
King goes on at great length to inform the reader that even if the poll had
not been taken down due to "mechanical problems," the poll was
meaningless anyway because "groups and people who believe there is evidence
of a conspiracy in the attacks urged friends to vote on a
Another online poll has been running regarding McKinney's call for a thorough
investigation. This one is at truthout.com, an online digest of articles being
published in the mainstream media. While truthout readers are undoubtedly more
open to McKinney's ideas than the general public, at press time, the poll shows
5,616 supporting the congresswoman versus 80 opposing her. Truthout also reports
McKinney's call for a 9-11 investigation is supported by two additional members
of the House -- Democrats Loretta Sanchez of California and Ma
Interestingly, while truthout is a non-profit organization entirely dependent
on donations, it has had no problems keeping its poll functioning, while the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a ma
WHERE ARE THE CLOWNS?
With the AJC poll having turned into a debacle, the forces arrayed against McKinney became desperate, and the smear became vicious. On April 16, the Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) released a report claiming 21 percent of McKinney's 1999-2000 campaign contributions of over $101 came from Arab or Middle-Eastern-connected individuals and organizations. The report states among the organizations donating to McKinney's campaign are "the American-Muslim Council and the Council on American/Islamic Relations, both of which maintain ties or have expressed support for terrorist organizations."
Phil Kent, SLF president, is quoted in the report: "If we are to give any credence to her baseless claims, the American people deserve to know that McKinney's financial 'relationships' -- her campaign contributors -- are heavily represented by Arab and Middle Eastern-connected individuals, as well as organizations which have expressed sympathy for terrorist organizations." Here we have examples of how McKinney's call for an investigation morphs into "claims," and how an investigation into her is acceptable, while one into the Bush Administration is not. The SLF report flew around the Internet, and was posted on several conservative websites. It was generally headlined to the effect, "McKinney Supported by Terrorists."
SLF was founded in 1976 and has received ma
SLF describes itself as "an Atlanta-based public interest law firm which advocates limited government, individual economic freedom, and the free enterprise system in the courts of law and public opinion." SLF's website includes links to other reactionary groups including the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, Federalist Society, and the Conservative Caucus Foundation. Along with links to expected conservative media outlets such as WorldNetDaily, Drudge, and the Conservative News Service, SLF links itself to Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Matthew Glavin was SLF president and chief executive from 1994 to 2000, and
devoted a tremendous amount of energy, and Scaife's money, trying to get Bill
Clinton disbarred in Arkansas for his alleged per
On April 22 SLF sent a letter to House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt
demanding McKinney be removed fro
Also on April 22, an article was posted on the website of Human Events, the
National Conservative Weekly. Written by David Freddoso, it's headlined
"Feds Searched Offices of Seven McKinney Donors." Many Arab names are
listed as well as several organizations, some of which have names with Arab or
Islamic references. Going into excruciating detail, Freddoso lists names of
individuals, organizations, dollar amounts, dates of search warrants,
Britain’s The Guardian reported March 25 on a recent FBI raid. The Republican Party was accepting sizeable donations to a political action committee called The Islamic Institute from an alleged terrorist support group, the Safa Trust. It seems that the Safa Trust had been sending money to both the Republican Party and to terrorist groups at the same time. This reported direct linkage between terrorist funding and the Republican Party was conveniently ignored, while McKinney was attacked with much weaker allegations. These backfired too.
SLF's report, AARLC's letter, and Freddoso's article all specifically discuss
donations to McKinney from Abdurahman Alamoudi, founder and executive director
of the American Muslim Council (AMC). According to an April 24 article at online
Despite Alamoudi's Republican connections, his donation to McKinney is used
as the "smoking gun" in the April 22 column by nationally syndicated
columnist Kathleen Parker. Parker has been one of the most prolific members of
the "get McKinney" team,
In her April 22 column, Parker reiterates her lie as to what McKinney
actually said. She goes on: "She's black, which means people give her a
pass lest they be perceived racist." Parker quotes an unnamed
"e-mailer" who quotes a friend in Ramallah: "If you see 'Cynth,'
kindly tell her that Arab TV networks appreciate her comments for they now have
the needed 'proof' that their paranoia is rational." Parker closes:
"None of which is to suggest that Cynthia McKinney is a terrorist, or a
terrorist sympathizer, or even a socialist rabble-rouser who despises her own
country. On the other hand, using McKinney's own talent for inferential
Despite finding nice ways to call McKinney a terrorist and traitor, Parker
strenuously defends her independence and complete lack of bias. In her April 24
column, which is about so-called "conspiracy theories," Parker wrote,
"I'm told, for instance, that I'm paid by the right-wing propaganda
machine, given my support of most Bush policies in the wake of 9-11 and my re
The story about McKinney's comments on the Flashpoints radio show traveled
around the media for about 12 days, then
On April 17 ABCNews.com ran a piece by Dean Schabner headed, "What Consensus? Conspiracy Theorist Immune to the Widespread Support For War on Terror." First line: "When the government said evidence pointed to Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, other voices wondered why investigators weren't looking in other directions." The article, about three pages, lays out many of the beliefs that, apparently, a lot of people have, and discusses them in a calm, measured manner. While Schabner does eventually get around to dismissing everything but the official story as "conspiracy theories," his words and the words of the "experts" he quotes don't have the wild-eyed hatred and anger that the stories about McKinney generally do. Schabner comes close to giving the "non-believers" a degree of respect.
The acceptability of alternate explanations for 9-11 may be growing for a very simple reason. According to a poll taken in late-April by Scott Rasmussen Public Opinion Research, 36 percent of Americans believe Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election. Over a third of America's citizens believe the man occupying the White House to be a fraud! With such a large portion of the country believing George W. Bush is not really the president, it's not hard to understand why almost half of the voters in the AJC poll indicated they do not believe the Bush Administration's story about 9-11, and support McKinney's call for a full investigation.
Whenever Bush allies try to impose new police-state tactics on Americans,
such as warrantless searches, random drug tests, racial profiling, or
stop-and-frisk laws, they always say, "If you have nothing to hide, you
have nothing to worry about. It's