The coverage on MSNBC of the Twin Towers II alternative to the official plan for Ground Zero finally directed a sustained light on a matter that deserves to be decided on the merits, not as a result of powerful special interests manipulating the information the public is allowed to have. We thank David Shuster for encouraging a debate that has been stifled for far too long. It took a lot of guts to withstand the pressure to keep the lid on this. The MSNBC online poll has consistently run around 90% for new Twin Towers — which is a landslide by any measure — and the comments are testimony to the American spirit.
1/26/09- In Monday’s segment with Nicole Gelinas, a contributing editor of City Journal and a Chartered Financial Analyst, she doubted the feasibility of the official plan. She said the NY political world tried to reinvent the wheel as a square at Ground Zero, then wasted the boom years dithering. She said the unpopular “Freedom Tower” looks as if it was designed by a committee of political factions. She added that it doesn’t appear to be too late to rebuild the Twin Towers, given the lack of progress.
1/27/09- In Tuesday’s segment with Kenneth Gardner, the design engineer on Twin Towers II, questioned the wisdom of the official plan and discussed what makes Twin Towers II so much more suitable from both a pragmatic and idealistic standpoint.
1/28/09- Wednesday’s segment with Maureen and Al Santora, the parents of Christopher Santora, a firefighter with Engine Company 54, was powerful corrobation of what we have heard from so many first responders — nothing would please them more than to see the Twin Towers rise again.
1/29/09- Thursday’s segment was preempted by the Blagojevich impeachment, although there was some discussion of the alternatives with a panel of commentators. There was a call for President Obama to mobilize the country behind building Ground Zero by 9/11/2010. The gentleman who suggested that was not a fan of the Twin Towers, but he took the issue to a welcome new level. The Twin Towers were so popular that it is always unpleasant to hear someone spout the architectural egghead line as if it is gospel, instead of recognizing the Towers’ symbolic value and appeal. But in any event, the final comment put the matter in perspective and the momentum continues to build.
1/30/09- Friday’s segment with Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward was evasive and misleading. See our 2/2/09 press release.
2/2/09 Monday’s segment was with former New York Gov. George Pataki. Pataki tried to fend off accusations that the plan he chose was a trade-off for political contributions from a powerful supporter. But that is not what is at the heart of this issue.
The long overdue debate on what to build at Ground Zero is out of focus. Making the most of our opportunities to heal the country does not rest on impugning Gov. Pataki’s motives. We do not challenge the symbolism he and others may see in the official plan. But the fact remains that most Americans object to it and do not share his appreciation of it.
What matters is that we were all attacked on 9/11. We all have an equal voice in what gets built. And from September 12, 2001, to the present the vast majority of Americans have favored the return of the Twin Towers to America’s Skyline.
If it weren’t popular or practical, that would be one thing. But since it can be powerfully demonstrated that it is much more popular and much more practical, what can legitimately prevent it? If it were too late, that would be different. But it isn’t.
But what matters above all is that it must be a tribute to those who didn’t — and those who don’t — count the cost of being Americans.
2/3, 2/4, and 2/5- The segments planned for Tuesday through Thursday were preempted by all the stimulus coverage.
2/6/09- On Friday’s segment, two of the 9/11 family members who met with the President today regarding Gitmo shared their views on Ground Zero. Sally Regenhard and Jim Riches lost sons on 9/11. Sally and Jim were both clearly unhappy with the 9/11 Memorial. As the time ran out, Sally was ridiculing the notion that that the site was “green” given the wastefulness of the waterfalls and the exorbitant cost of heating them. That isn’t the only drawback to the memorial, but we really think it is important to keep the focus on the Twin Towers. When asked about the office space, Jim Riches said he really didn’t care what gets built. Sally Regenhard, on the other hand, said that she would like to see the Twin Towers back. It was a good way to end the week and we are looking forward to a continuation of the inquiry next week.
The continuing inquiry never materialized for reasons that can only be imagined. But there were a couple of further segments later in the Spring of 2009:
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