John Ray at The Skeptics' Society writes about what may be the greatest victory of sanity over the forces of wingnuttery and moonbattery this decade, the defeat of the 911 Truth movement.
While I don't entirely share Shaw's view that this particular vicious conspiracy theory (which unites the worst excesses of the modern left with the worst excesses of the diehard right) is utterly defeated, I do note that in my gambols about the internet the meme that 911 Was An Inside (or Jewish, I'm sorry Zionist) Job seems far harder to find than it was in, say, 2004. That's a good thing.
A tragedy on a scale at least comparable to Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was bound to inspire a conspiracy subculture, but the takeoff success of the viral Internet documentary Loose Change and the movement it created was unprecedented. Looking out on the world in 2005 when Change became one of the most-watched Internet videos of all time, with over ten million unique viewers, it was hard to anticipate a future that was anything but bleak for those who felt it was their duty to defend history from such pseudohistorians.
Yet, in just under four years, the 9/11 “truth movement” has ground to a halt. Apart from the fundamental incoherence of their theories, the downfall of the 9/11 denier juggernaut was good old-fashioned skepticism at its finest, the kind that conjures visions of James Randi challenging psychics and faith healers on their home turfs and winning. Skeptics are better at their jobs than they think, and its important to give credit where credit is due.
To his credit (he seems rather pleased with himself that he's won a few battles on this front over the web, well, so have I kid), Shaw singles out the role played by one of the best pieces of journalism, from one of the most unlikely (as deemed by those who give journalism awards) sources this decade, Popular Mechanics, whose "Debunking the 911 Myths" should have won a Pulitzer.
You can read Popular Mechanics' work on the subject, which removes all doubt for anyone who paid attention in math or high school physics, here.