Monday, October 02, 2006

Tolerating another dishonest columnist

The Lawrence Journal-World in early September published a column by Garrison Keillor that included this claim:

"Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who does not appear in a leadership capacity in the reliable accounts of that morning, who was captured on videotape fleeing uptown...."

According to the official account, Giuliani was in a meeting in Upper Manhattan when the first plane hit the WTC. He then left the meeting and went to the WTC site in Lower Manhattan. He was there when the second plane hit the WTC.

I have done a Google search and can find nothing about such a videotape. I e-mailed Keillor twice to ask for a source. No response. Keillor's column is syndicated through Tribune Media Services, so I contacted TMS. Here is the message I received from the managing editor on September 5:

"Thank you for your message. We do extensive fact-checking on all the columns we send out, including Mr. Keillor's. I have forwarded your message to the editor in charge of the column. If there are errors, we truly regret that, but the editor is meticulous and sometimes there are different interpretations of statements in a column. Certainly we will check out your questions."

I followed up at the end of September and received this message from TMS:

"In the initial editing of the column, Mr. Keillor's direct editor approved the use of the language that you are questioning. While it may be open to interpretation, we stand behind the sense that Mr. Keillor intended."

I believe I interpreted Keillor claim in the same sense as he intended. What other intepretation could one have? It is quite a charge to say that Giuliani was not a leader on 9/11 and that he fled the scene. If Keillor and TMS have evidence to support this charge, why do they refuse to share it? If there is no evidence, why do they refuse to apologize to readers. In either case, the Journal-World should refrain from publishing Keillor's column until he provides evidence or apologizes. They continued to run Robert Scheer's column long after he was proven to be dishonest. Why repeat the same mistake?

Keillor's column does not appear to be in the J-W online archives. Here's another site with the column:

BTW, Keillor has displayed dishonesty in the past regarding 9/11. Last March he wrote the following: “I ran into a gray eminence from the Bush I era theother day in an airport, and he said that what mostoffended him about Bush II is the naked incompetence. ‘You may disagree with Republicans, but you always had to recognize that they knew what they were doing,’ he said. ‘I keep going back to that intelligence memo of August 2001, that said that terrorists had plans to hijack planes and crash them into buildings. The president read it, and he didn't even call a staff meeting to discuss it. That is lack of attention of a high order.’” See

Of course, the August 6 PDB said absolutely nothing about planes being hijacked and crashed into buildings, yet Keillor presented it to readers as fact. The information in the PDB concerned an uncorroborated 1998 report about the possibility of planes being hijacked to win the release of ther Blind Sheikh and other Islamofascists in captivity in the U.S.

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