Accuracy in Media

ABC recently announced that it had canceled a special called “Oliver Stone’s Declassified” that was to include a segment that would show evidence that TWA Flight 800 was downed by missiles. The show was being produced for ABC’s entertainment division by movie director Oliver Stone. It had been reported earlier that ABC News was unhappy about the entertainment division encroaching on their turf with a program that would dispute the accuracy of their reporting on the cause of the TWA 800 crash. ABC News coverage of the controversy had strongly supported the official line that the crash was caused by a spontaneous explosion of the plane’s center wing fuel tank.

ABC News executives were reported to have learned of the Stone project when federal government sources told ABC reporters that people who said they were working for ABC were asking questions about the TWA 800 investigation. We suspect that the federal officials expressed their strong disapproval of ABC doing anything to give publicity to the evidence gathered by Cmdr. Bill Donaldson and others that proves that the official FBI/NTSB investigation had covered up the true cause of the crash.

David Westin, president of ABC News, sent an e-mail to Ian Goddard, one of the critics of the official investigation, in which he said that ABC News had thoroughly considered all the evidence available and had concluded that there was no credible evidence that a missile was involved. He said that they concluded that the accounts of the many eyewitnesses who thought they saw a missile blow up the plane (quote) “were explained by falling debris.”

Mr. Westin is saying that consulting engineer Paul Angelides, who said he first saw the missile high in the sky over his head, watched it travel seven miles out to sea and explode 10 degrees above the horizon, had actually only seen the burning debris from a plane seven miles away falling into the ocean.

Westin’s statement is nothing but a repetition of the government’s crude effort to discredit the testimony of over a hundred eyewitnesses like Paul Angelides who saw what they first thought was a flare or fireworks streaking up from the surface and culminating in a tremendous bright white explosion far out on the horizon. The government even had the CIA prepare an animation that showed the airliner climbing like a rocket after its nose was blown off by a fuel tank explosion, trailing burning fuel. They said that was why some witnesses thought they saw rocket. Others, they said, had mistaken the falling debris for a rocket.

The eyewitnesses are insulted by this crazy caricature of what they saw. The two journalists working for Oliver Stone, Kristina Borjesson and Kelly O’Meara, have done what ABC News failed to do. They interviewed many of the eyewitnesses. They videotaped the detailed briefings at which Donaldson and other aviation professionals presented forensic evidence showing that a missile was involved. Their program would have embarrassed ABC News by telling the facts ABC had ignored. Exposing the cover-up would have hurt President Clinton, whose friend, Michael Eisner, runs Disney, the company that owns ABC.

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