NPR's Neal Conan, Talk of the Nation, censors talks we should have

During Thursday’s final broadcast of NPR’s Talk of the Nation, outgoing host Neal Conan hung up on a caller from Florida Photo: Building 7 / NPR Neal Conan

WASHINGTON – June 28, 2013 – During Thursday’s final broadcast of NPR’s Talk of the Nation, outgoing host Neal Conan hung up on a caller from Florida who questioned the U.S. Government’s official explanation for the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on September 11, 2001.

Conan retired yesterday after 36 years with NPR after dismissing a caller’s concerns as “scientific nonsense”. But was he really saying that we can’t discuss 9/11 any further? 

The on-air confrontation transpired during a segment of the program called “What’s The Talk Of Your Nation”, during which callers are invited to share what they are talking about during everyday life in America.

“We’re talking about what you’re talking about, around your dinner table, in the car with the kids, as you stand in line at the grocery story or check in on Twitter.  You may not realize it, but you’ve always helped set our agenda every day when we fill up our planning board with the topics we’ll cover at 2:00pm Eastern Time.  Your voices ring in our ears.  So tell us, one more time, what’s the talk of the nation?”  - Neal Conan, “Talk of the Nation” June 27, 2013.

The first caller, a listener named Bob from Gainesville, FL, apparently strayed off the NPR agenda reservation when he voiced concern that NSA surveillance of innocent Americans is not actually about security.

Bob suggested that the September 11, 2001 tragedy, which officials use to justify NSA surveillance, was a “false flag attack”, citing an analysis of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 by an activist group of architects and engineers who concluded the building failed due to controlled demolition.

The official NPR transcript of the program replaced the words “false flag attack” with “falsified attack”. 

“Do you think building seven is not a very telling incident sir?” asks the caller.  

Conan conceded that he knows little about the failure of WTC Building 7:  “I think it fell for different reasons, and the scientific community agrees with me. Well, more to the point, I agree with them. What do I know about Building Seven?” 

As the caller started to provide listeners with the name of the organization Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Conan cut of the caller’s audio, explaining “I’m hanging up on you now”. 

According to a 2009 Slate article, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE 9/11 Truth), “point to the physics of the towers’ collapse—its “free fall” pace, the “lateral ejection” of steel, the “mid-air pulverization of concrete”—as evidence that they could not have fallen exclusively because of the planes’ impact.” 

Many Americans do not realize that a third building, the 47 story World Trade Center Building 7, was not hit by an aircraft, yet collapsed on the afternoon of September 11.

The article profiles  a segment of firefighters, airline pilots, and other professionals who all question the official findings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, commonly referred to as the 9/11 Commission.

World Trade Center Building 7, a 47 story building which was not struck by aircraft, failed at 5:21 pm on September 11, 2001. Before the building collapsed, the buildings penthouse is said to have crumbled first.

Richard Gage, founder of AE 9/11 Truth,  provided a statement to Communuities@WashingtonTimes.com after reviewing the audio from NPR’s “Talk of the Nation”.

“Neal Conan was quite quick to shut down the caller who was quoting 1900 architects and engineers for 9/11 truth who are demanding a new investigation of the freefall symmetrical destruction of WTC Building 7 in just 7 seconds” stated Gage. 

“Officials blame “normal office fires” for the third worst structural failure in modern history, but office fires have never brought down a skyscraper, ever, either before or after 9/11, and this building’s destruction looked exactly like a controlled demolition.” 

A documentary produced by the group, which has ironically been broadcast by several PBS TV channels, features a number of experts who conclude that building 7 failed due to controlled demolition. 

That finding is contrary to the government’s explanation.

And shouldn’t that be a part of the national conversation, not censored by talk radio hosts? 

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “heat from the uncontrolled fires caused steel floor beams and girders to thermally expand, leading to a chain of events that caused a key structural column to fail. The failure of this structural column then initiated a fire-induced progressive collapse of the entire building.”

Gage also objected to NPR’s use of the term “truther”, stating  “Conan quickly labeled him a “truther”, a term used to degrade those who are trying to call attention to this building’s catastrophic structural failure, for which the official explanation by the US government cannot possible be true.

While the NPR incident is probably not the first time a caller to a talk-radio program has been admonished for broaching alternate theories about what transpired on September 11, 2001, it serves as a reminder that the discussion is still considered taboo among many media circles in the United States. 

New whistle-blower allegations of an NTSB and FBI cover up of cause of the 1996 crash of TWA flight 800, made by six former members of the official investigation team, suggest that the conclusions of official government investigation can be challenged, even decades later. 

Why Building No. 7 collapsed remains a mystery.  That is not what is at question.

What is at question is NPR’s refusual to have a conversation that sounds like the talk of the nation, and is worthy of spirited debate.


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Alan Jones

Alan Jones is an investigative journalist covering a wide range of areas.  He has worked in the financial industry and has lived overseas.

 

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