Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Spinning through 9/11

The final 9/11 Commission report spilled into the media's waiting hands yesterday, and the spin/counterspin predictably spews forth. Comprehensive coverage can be found here, and my own quick-and-dirty story on it is here -- my job yesterday was to hang out at the auditorium, get a report, run like hell to the office down the street and get something really basic online so Knight Ridder had something to compete with AP, Reuters, etc. Be there first, darn it!

I spent much of the rest of the day thumbing through the report -- which doesn't contain a lot that hasn't been disclosed, but does have some interesting tidbits, like the finding that hijackers, not passengers, downed the Pennsylvania plane as the struggle for control began. Part of the danger of news today is that images, impressions, sometimes flat-out rumors get fixed in the public mind. I remember that day how a friend held the United 93 struggle up as an example of how America fights back once it's been surprised. Still is, but reality's always more complicated than the narrative makes it out to be.

After filing the report I spent much of the day following around Sen. Pat Roberts, who as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee usually gets a lot of ink when things like the 9/11 report comes out. Not this time -- his press conference went head-to-head with another conference featuring John McCain, Joe Lieberman and the heads of the 9/11 commisssion, and I ended up in a not-full TV studio, taking notes with plenty of legroom.

The news cycle keeps churning. The 9/11 commission's going on the road, but the convention caravan's already headin' to Boston. I'm hopping an Amtrak at 6 a.m., planning to read the 9/11 report on the way before I get to South Station. Judging from yesterday's skimming, it's not bad narrative -- and reading it will be useful at next week's parties. This fall, the 9/11 report's going to be kind of like the Bible -- lots of people will argue about it, but few will actually have read the thing. I'm coming to the arguments prepared. Knowledge is power! (And ignorance is not truth.)