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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

The Official Story

The Attack According to the New York Times

Below is the front page of the New York Times the day after the September 11th attack. The headline: "HIJACKED JETS DESTROY TWIN TOWERS AND HIT PENTAGON IN DAY OF TERROR" makes sweeping conclusions about what happened on September 11th. As an exercise count the number of factual errors in the headline. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see an enumeration of errors we found.

Three of the four stories on the page have titles that allude to the enemy and what the president will do to punish them. The front-page story with the "President Vows to Extract Punishment for `Evil'" title is actually a general recounting of events and does not mention the planned punishment. The first sentence of the article is revealing.

Hijackers rammed jetliners into each of New York's World Trade Center towers yesterday, toppling both in a hellish storm of ash, glass, smoke, and leaping victims.

This sentence suggests that the destruction of each tower occurred immediately following its jet impact, leaving out the 102 and 56 minutes that the North and South Towers stood after they were hit. The sentence asserts that the towers toppled, when in fact they exploded in place. Of the five photographs on the front page, two are of the South Tower collision, but none show the centerpiece of the day's horrors -- the Towers exploding into dust. Any such image would contradict the assertion that the towers toppled.

To count the number of errors in "HIJACKED JETS DESTROY TWIN TOWERS AND HIT PENTAGON IN DAY OF TERROR" it is necessary to enumerate the assertions contained in the statement.

  1. Flight 11 was hijacked.
  2. Flight 175 was hijacked.
  3. Flight 11 hit the North Tower.
  4. Flight 175 hit the South Tower.
  5. Flight 77 was hijacked.
  6. Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.
  7. A jet collision caused the South Tower to collapse.
  8. A jet collision caused the North Tower to collapse.
  9. September 11th was a day of terror.
The final assertion is fair enough. Further accepting assertions 3, 4, and 6, it leaves five assertions are either unsupported by evidence or provably false.

page last modified: 2007-12-16