About Me

My photo
I'm a journalist, ex-national papers, now working in what we call "new" media.
BBC AND 9/11

I don't believe the many 9/11 conspiracy theories that float about the Web. However, this video is truly startling

It shows BBC coverage of 9/11 with a reporter announcing that the Salomon Brothers building at Ground Zero had collapsed. Thing is, the building is clearly visible over her shoulder as she speaks. Even odder is that the transmission is cut after a few minutes - apparently this was the moment that the building really did fall.

The theory that underpins this is that the building was brought down in a controlled explosion, that the BBC was warned in advance and somehow broadcast the news before it happened. It's part of a greater theory that says that 9/11 was a conspiracy on the part of the US government to make us go to war in Iraq or something.

Anyway, the noise about this video has reached such a level that the BBC has been forced to respond on its editors blog, first in this piece by Richard Porter, head of BBC World news. I have to say that, even to a confirmed anti-conspiracist like myself, he was not entirely convincing.

"Our reporter Jane Standley was in New York on the day of the attacks, and like everyone who was there, has the events seared on her mind. I've spoken to her today and unsurprisingly, she doesn't remember minute-by-minute what she said or did - like everybody else that day she was trying to make sense of what she was seeing; what she was being told; and what was being told to her by colleagues in London who were monitoring feeds and wires services.

We no longer have the original tapes of our 9/11 coverage (for reasons of cock-up, not conspiracy). So if someone has got a recording of our output, I'd love to get hold of it. We do have the tapes for our sister channel News 24, but they don't help clear up the issue one way or another."

So he had a second go. And this time, to me at least, he was a great deal more convincing, painting a picture of confusion, rumour, and a sort of chinese whispers in which a report that a building may be about to collapse became a statement that it had already fallen. I was working in a newspaper newsroom on 9/11 and I vividly recall the shock and confusion of the day and the difficulty of making sense of it all - and we weren't having to report in real time. So I'm inclined to trust the BBC's account, though I don't for a minute suppose that it will silence the conspiracists.