More Legitimacy Than It Deserves

The movie "Loose Change," to be broadcast Monday on Channel 8, presents a conspiracy theory that the United States perpetrated September 11.

The movie "Loose Change," to be broadcast this evening on Channel 8, presents a conspiracy theory that the United States perpetrated September 11. After watching this film, the biggest question that comes to mind is whether the channel should have screened it, particularly at this time - on the fifth anniversary of the attacks.

It is hard to say the film is not fascinating. In it, a few claims are made: The Twin Towers collapsed due to a controlled explosion and not because planes crashed into them (the planes, according to the film, were actually fighter jets painted like passenger carriers); the Pentagon was hit by a missile and not by a plane; and flight 93 did not crash in Pennsylvania but rather landed safely at Cleveland airport, and the passengers disappeared into a NASA facility.

This is an interesting movie not only because of the way it flows (albeit manipulatively), but also because it is a kind of sign of an era - the Internet era. A young man named Dylan Avery, 22, sits down at his computer, finds all the information he wants - some relevant, some half true, some total lies - and with just $2,000 creates a movie downloaded by 25 million viewers. Who would not prefer to watch a 90-minute movie rather than read hundreds of pages of conclusions from the official commission of inquiry into September 11?

Internet viewers can surf to other sites that explain why the documentary is mistaken and misleading. A reviewer for the online magazine Salon decided to ask other conspiracists, who one after another debunked each fact in Avery's film. They have other reasons - which they feel are more founded - to believe the American administration is to blame for the events.

In any event, Channel 8, which usually broadcasts serious documentaries based on fact, presents this film as one more way of looking at the attacks. The broadcasting of the movie - without a discussion or attempts to discredit it - grants it legitimacy.

The film raises several questions: Why were the trees beside the Pentagon not damaged? What are the mysterious lights inside the Twin Towers if not bombs planted there beforehand? How is it that no plane wreckage was found in Pennsylvania? How is it possible that flight 93's passengers spoke on their cell phones from such an altitude (according to Paul Greengrass' film "Flight 93," most did not speak on their cell phones, but rather on the plane's own telephones).

All these questions would be interesting - if it were not for the answers. The biggest question of all is why the United States would do this to itself. According to the film, or to be more exact, the final five minutes of the film, the towers were bombed due to the massive quantities of gold stashed in the basement, due to the buildings' insurance and because the United States needed a good reason to declare war against Islam.

A short background check into the film's makers revealed the predictable link between the interviewees, Satanists and believers in aliens, but other conspiracists also claim that this, too, is the work of the U.S. administration, which planted these dubious characters in order to undermine the credibility of their theories.

"Loose Change." Channel 8, tonight at 10 P.M.