Long before there were Ed Snowden Truthers, there were TWA Flight 800 theorists, way back in 1996. Now the group is having another moment in the sun thanks to breathless media coverage of a new documentary that posits that a missile strike – and not the fuel tank explosion that investigators claim — brought down the plane 17 years ago off Long Island in the deadliest airline crash before 9/11. But in treating the assertions as new evidence, the media coverage is overlooking the fact that these claims are at least 15 years old.
For instance, a particularly effusive “Good Morning America” report termed the news “stunning,” labeling the six former investigators featured in the documentary “whistle-blowers” and saying they are “breaking their silence” for the first time on the crash. It’s just one report of dozens on the documentary, in every major news outlet in the country. The 17-year-old flight is currently the No. 5 trending search term on Google.
But the claims of those featured in the documentary are hardly new. Its producer, Tom Stalcup, is the chairman and co-founder of the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO), which has been challenging the official investigation since 1999. Stalcup and others filed their petition to get the National Transportation Safety Board to reopen the investigation in 2002, citing much of the same “new evidence” it points to today, as the now defunct conservative magazine Insight on the News reported at the time.
Hank Hughes, the former NTSB senior accident investigator who is the most prominent ”whistle-blower” in the film, has spoken publicly on several occasions about his belief that the FBI tampered with the investigation…
[continues at Salon]