September 2020: Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, a wave of conspiracy theories swept the nation. The destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City was an inside job, they claimed, the work of the federal government, and “truthers” filled the internet with supposed proof of the vast conspiracy.
It was in this climate that Popular Mechanics took on the task of debunking the myths about the 9/11 attacks. Our first report appeared as the cover story for the March 2005 issue. The reporting grew into a 2006 book with a forward by Sen. John McCain, which was updated with a new version in 2011. Below you’ll find the section about the World Trade Center, and you can also get the facts about the planes, the attack on the Pentagon, and the crash of United Flight 93.
Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts
Nineteen years later, 9/11 conspiracy theories linger on. In the years following the report of this publication, truthers would launch of variety of attacks on PM, accusing the magazine of being a tool of the federal government and drawing tinfoil-hat diagrams to tie Popular Mechanics to the Bush Administration and the supposed big conspiracy. If all this nonsense accomplished anything, it was to presage our current era of “alternative facts” and attacking the messenger whenever the message clashes with one’s predetermined beliefs.
The collapse of both World Trade Center towers—and the smaller WTC 7 a few hours later—initially surprised even some experts. But subsequent studies have shown that the WTC’s structural integrity was destroyed by intense fire as well as the severe damage inflicted by the planes. That explanation hasn’t
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