[Imc-uk-features] 9/11 protests feature

atw againstthewar at totalserve.co.uk
Fri Sep 15 09:31:35 PDT 2006

As one of the co-writers of the 911 feature article I have only just
joined the debate due to PC problems the past few days.

I am disturbed by the controversy this proposal has met with since it
appears to me that the basis for this is purely people's personal
prejudices or ideologies. Surely when deciding whether to put a
feature up one's own personal beliefs should not come into it. The
only basis must be is whether the article in question adheres to the
IMC guidelines or not. That is the only way to be fair to users and
especially contributors of the site. Any other way makes a mockery of
the guidelines.

The only guideline that seems relevent here it the one about accuracy.
Yossarian says that "David Ray Griffin was comprehensively destroyed"
on Democracy Now. Well I've checked through that article and I really
don't see it as that clear cut. I think such a viewpoint is largely
informed by one's pre existing beliefs. If it were so black and white
there wouldn't be any debate. Besides the proposed feature is NOT
about David Ray Griffin. Also it's worth bearing in mind that
Democracy Now, and even the BBC, are now taking the time to cover the
alternative perspectives on 911 - and yet Indymedia cannot???
Something very wrong there.

There are highly qualified academics and lots of people on both sides
of the 911 debate - just like every subject that Indymedia covers - so
trying to decide which conspiracy fits BEFORE reporting suggests that
us at Indymedia are somehow more intelligent than the general public
and we have to vet everything first before allowing the dumb masses to
see it. Such would be a hierarchy just like any other news outlet
which is the opposite of what Indymedia is about. It's precisely
because the world of current affairs and politics isn't so black and
white that Indymedia exists in the first place.

Tony says that: "if we do want a feature and we are a 'wide church' i
would limit it to the first few paragraphs about the issue and the
idea of how the media treats it". I have to say I'm not in favour of
attempting to write only articles that will please our audience. Again
that is the way of corporate media and is one of it's limitatons.
Besides I suspect the 9/11 feature will be widely read - whether
people agree or not is up to them not us. For those that don't like it
well, all the other articles will still be there to read.

Tony also says: "If people really want a feature on this then fine but
lets be sceptical as well and not have it written as if we are pushing
these views". Since anyone anywhere can submit a feature as well as a
newswire article I don't think that we're supposed to agree with
everything that is on Indymedia or even the feature column. Again this
sounds like the mentality of the corporate media or even the SWP where
only that which fits with their point view is permitted.

If this article gets a massive long list of comments then so what?
It's controversial. Do we want a new guideline stipulating that
articles submitted must not be too controversial. Some journalists see
controversy as a good thing and as a sign that they're doing something
right. And big controversies could bring new users to the site too -
from both sides of the 911 debate.

Finally with 911 its worth bearing in mind that there is no proven
account of what happened. There are only theories and speculation on
both sides. If we have to limit ourselves only to stories which are
proven then we may find we can't report very much at all and may never
be able to report on 911. Peak Oil is a theory that not all experts
agree on. Would a feature on Peak Oil be disallowed by UK Indymedia?
If not then what's the difference?

So I would appeal to people to drop their prejudices about this
subject and re read the article purely in reference to the IMC
guidelines. If the article does not contravene these then it is only
fair to the authors and all future writers to put it up.


steve (Sheffield IMC)

PS For those who feel strongly about this why not write another
feature supporting the Bush account of what happened on 911 and
answering the sceptics claims? This would be very interesting as there
is very little of this around compared to the sceptics case.

Independent grassroots news: www.sheffield.indymedia.org.uk

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