NYU Employee Spits on 9/11 Conspiracy Theorist for Harassing Dan Rather

The panel discussion “The First Amendment, Freedom of the Press, and the Future of Journalism” got a little more interesting when an NYU facilities employee lashed out at conspiracy theorists questioning Dan Rather and Jill Abramson as they were leaving the event.

As reported on NYC the Blog andScooby doo the mystery begins download.wordpress.com/2008/10/17/breaking-news-controversy-and-conspiracy-as-dan-rather-speaks-at-nyu/”> Mazza FHS  the night began with the question “whether [Dan] Rather believes World Trade Center was taken down by bombs inside.” The conspiracy theorists followed Rather and Abramson out of the building after the panel discussion to continue questioning.

According to a NYU grad student, Aaron Howell, who was twittering at the event, “A NYU building facility guy got mad at the conspiracy guys for harassing the NY Times person so he spit in the dudes face/slapped his camera. Facility guy violated the poor conspiracy theorists I think NYU might be in trouble for that one.”

So far we have been unable to get confirmation on who the “facility guy” was and what consequences he may face, if any.

Rose Sculley, Director of Administration in the Journalism department, said that she hadn’t attended the event and didn’t know anything about the aforementioned situation. Updates to come.

Update: Gil Klein, the moderator of the panel, confirmed that the conspiracy theorists were “badgering” Dan Rather.

According to junior journalism major Adam Ballheim, “the moderator kept asking, ‘how does this relate to the panel,’ and the guy just talked over him so it came across like they were yelling.” Klein identifies the conspiracy theorists as “not lunatics, but definitely people who had an agenda and were trying to take advantage of the situation.”

Word is still out on the identity of the NYU facilities “guy”.

Update 2:

Brooke Kroeger, Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Journalism department, said today that the conspiracy theorists entered the elevator with her and Jill Abramson. She said she personally helped Abramson get into a cab, and that the conspiracy theorists were in fact being aggressive towards both women. According to Kroeger, facillities employees were extremely concerned about the well being of her and Abramson.

The panel was open to the public, and in Kroeger’s words, “it happens”.

The conspiracy theorists may be exercising their first amendment rights, but they certainly violated professional boundaries, at which point NYU affiliates stepped in to secure the safety of the panelists and NYU’s Journalism Chair.


    Share Your Thoughts


  1. steven johnson says

    NYU Local Editors:

    Again, check your facts. The man who spit/spat is NOT directly employed by the university. He is paid via a different company that is contracted out by NYU.

    You may say, “well, NYU still pays the company”, true, but your headline and notes are not accurate. He is not an “NYU Facilities” employee. Be careful what you guys/gals toss up on your site on a moments notice. It’s better to check your facts and truly report than push your pajama journalism past the standard media ethics a publication normally employs, just for the sake of getting news online and then fixing it later. If a professional paper picked up on your blog, and reported off of your error, your little shop would be at fault.

    Regardless, what a terrible situation for everyone involved. From what I hear, this is a nice man who is very good at his job who was trying to defend the women leaving the building.

    This worker should not have spit at anyone, obviously, but those questioners area also to blame for their hounding of Rather and Abrahamson. It does their cause – the push for a new investigation into 9-11 – no good. This cause, make no mistake about it, has many worthy, reputable & notable advocates which include:
    Mike Gravel (D-Alaska, 2008 presidential candidate)
    Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island)
    Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia, current presidential candidate)
    Ralph Nader (consumer advocate, current presidential candidate)
    Karen Johnson (R-Arizona)
    Bob McIlvaine (9/11 Family Member)
    Lori van Auken (9/11 Family Member who helped get 9/11 Commission enacted.
    Ray McGovern (former CIA official)
    Christine Ebersole (tony award winning actress)
    Daniel Sunjata (Fox’s “Rescue Me”)
    Wayne Madsen (former NSA employee)
    Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (ae911truth.org)

    The list is quite long, and this is only a thumbnail of supporters from around the world. Check out patriotsquestion911.com for a complete list of folks who either question 9/11 or have gone on record demanding a new investigation (it will blow your mind), and read David Ray Griffin’s “New Pearl Harbor (2004)” or more recently “American Empire: Intellectuals Speak out (2007)”. I’m not one for the Loose Change scene, though their final cut edition holds up well to scrutiny.

    By demonstrating guerrilla tactics and following people uninvited into elevator doors, it takes the more vocal “We are Change” style of the demonstrating, fist pumping megaphone toting wing of the 9/11 Truth Movement down a notch in the eyes of intellectuals and media/political leaders. Which is sad, because of the people listed above. The intellectual side of the movement is very reputable (Griffin, BYU Prof. Steven Jones), etc.

    What did they expect to get inside an elevator…the holy grail? Kennedy’s second assassin? Ugh. Not a smart move. They better not file a law suit, which stemmed from their badgering of these invited guest speakers. Especially when it comes to Dan Rather, a solid, call-it-like-he-sees-it journalist.

  2. Gustavo Espada says

    More to the point, I take issue with Mr. Gil Klein who asked what the question had to do with the panel. Dan Rather, on the day of 9/11, made a comment on air that world trade center building 7’s collapse looked like a typical implosion of a building using explosives. Since that day evidence has shown that the building was indeed brought down intentionally with explosives and incendiaries. Dan Rather is also on record saying that after 9/11 he felt pressure to toe the official line with regard to the so-called war on terror. This would seem to make a question about Rather’s view of the events of 9/11 very relevant to the subject of press freedom and the first amendment.

  3. John Bonnema says

    There are over 500 prominent architects and engineers who believe that the Trade Towers were brought down by a controlled demolition. ae911Truth.org

    Surely all of these people cannot be tin foil hatters?

    Hey, Dan Rather. How about interviewing some of them? Grow a pair!


  4. says

    This is one reason why I never write about the 9/11 Truth Movement–it seems like every truther feels a need to post a comment on every single blog post on the Internet that’s even tangentially related to their chief obsession. It may be good for traffic, but it’s annoying as hell.

  5. John Bonnema says

    Mr. Resnikoff:

    The fact there are prominent architects and engineers, over five hundred of them who believe there is evidence the Trade Towers were been brought down by a controlled demolition means nothing to you?

    Should we at least have a new investigation?

  6. harper winslow says

    “nuts in ny” and nyu local, reputable sources of information.
    take a look at the media ethics flying out the window!
    or the ability to inteligently debate a topic at hand, as proven by ned and cody.

    good question, john bonnema. lets see how local labels the architects and engineers, lincoln chafee, mike gravel, etc.

    its convenient and easy to label someone anything, when you don’t know what you are talking about, which is what sean hannnity makes a living on doing, but to actually do the leg work of reading the information being addressed well, that takes patience and a historical understanding that some people don’t have.

  7. says

    NYU TRAINS “PROFESSIONAL” GATE KEEPERS.Just see what happens when you try to report something embarrassing to the elite….

    The “History” Channel and the BBC might have an Agenda, as they are run by the same corporate interest that profits from War.
    Rather was crucified for telling the truth about Bush being AWOL
    Rather had mentioned to BBC Reporter Greg Palast that if he told the truth
    he would get a “burning Tire” around his neck. So True…
    Asking questions about 911 doesn’t make you a “nut” but believing what you see on TV and what the Government tells you about 911 makes you naive or gullible at the very least.
    The time for “polite discourse” is OVER! We must demand the truth, and we must help the Dan Rathers of the world when we can. If this means being peacefully demonstrative in how we ask questions so be it. Get used to it! We are everywhere now. You cannot hide. Spit on us, beat us, attack our integrity, we will NOT stop.
    We do this for ALL of you, because IF 911 was a false flag terror event you’ve been had. Your liberties have been under attack, and by exposing the truth of 911 we have the best chance to restore them.
    To finish, I suggest all skeptics investigate the WTC 1993 bombing. This event was an ADMITTED FBI “sting” operation, with the FBI approving the use of REAL explosives. As reported in the NY Times. Is it so hard to believe that this process was repeated in 2001?

  8. Isha Dandavate says

    I wrote this article, and I would like to respond to a few of the particularly unsubstantiated comments I’ve read.

    Steven, we did check out facts. True, CBS has been providing custodial staff, but until Oct. 27 they are technically NYU employees. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact John Beckman, like I did. Meanwhile, take a moment to check your own facts before making incorrect accusations.

    I’m glad this article prompted so much discussion. That is the point of journalism– to make people ask questions, to foster awareness.

    However, I’m disappointed at the off-topic accusations that were tossed around. As far as the ethics of this blog is concerned, unless you actually can prove that something we’ve presented as a fact is incorrect, “media ethics flying out the window” really means nothing. If you’re going to criticize, point out specific examples.

    To those of you who read the article as a source of news, thanks for reading! I may present opinions in my pieces, but that’s why you can comment. Keep responding! There’s more to come.

  9. steph hamilton says

    Isha, I’m not question your reporting here, as someone else may have. I would like to hear what your opinion is of David Ray Griffin’s book, “American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out”, especially considering that among the reputable individuals listed in the media reviews (below, read each one) of the book, is NYU Prof. Mark Crispin Miller:

    “For far too long, the very reasonable questions raised by 9/11 have been ignored and even ridiculed by America’s press and politicians, who treat the subject with the sort of willful blindness that suggests a wish not to find out unpleasant truths. We, the people, therefore owe the editors of this important new collection our warm thanks for their intelligent and unrelenting work.”
    — Mark Crispin Miller, professor of culture and communications, New York University

    Ten days ago, before reading this blog, I thought the 9/11 questioners were cooks,too, just like Mr. Cody Brown and Ned R. stated. But the notes above by John Bonnemma, Steven Johnson and Mary Smith got me thinking, as they didn’t sound crazy and conspiratorial, more fact based. So I went to B & N, bought the book. And I read it in the last week. My God. Thank you NYU Local! I can honestly say my mind has changed after reading the links above as well. There is TONS of verified information that apparently has been blocked from reaching US Media, and it appears that NYU Local’s commentary on this section is a testament to this fact. You guys just don’t have the information. Maybe yu don’t want it, but, I’d stay away from commenting on things you know little about. I just bought the 9/11 Commission report today, am starting on it.
    WOW. That’s all I have to say. Buy it. Used. Whatever. Steal the damn thing. Howard Zinn wrote a review, as did PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS! He’s the father of Reagonomics, folks. I’m sorry, Ned and Cody, but your credentials don’t quite stack up in comparison to these gentleman, so maybe you should do some homework on the topic as harper winslow mentioned. You guys should seriously open your mind to the possibiity and read the damn book and watch/read the links above

    “This is the most important book of our time. Distinguished national and international scientists and scholars present massive evidence that the 9/11 Commission Report is a hoax and that the 9/11 “terrorist attack” has been manipulated to serve a hegemonic agenda in the Middle East. The book’s call for a truly independent panel of experts to be empowered to bring out the true facts must be heeded or Americans will never again live under accountable government.”
    — Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of the US Treasury

    “Read this. Read this now. And then tell someone else what it told you. If you wondered where morality, intellectual rigor, common sense and historical perspective went when they disappeared from public discourse, be reassured—the authors of these essays were keeping them safe for you, along with a surprisingly functional sense of humor. This is a massively important book about events which are still changing our world—forget the internet wingnuts, forget the blurry thinking and the blurry photographs, forget the government gibberish—if you want to know about 9/11 read this book. Read it. Read it now. And then tell someone else what it told you.”
    — A. L. Kennedy, Paradise and Indelible Acts

    “Official versions of historical events should always be questioned. This book, dealing with 9/11 and much more, does just that, and from various points of view. It will provoke argument and that’s a good thing.”
    — Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States

    “In 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott point out that the book’s publication ‘signals the beginning of a new phase of the 9/11 Truth Movement, one in which scholars will play an increasingly larger role.’ Griffin and Scott have assembled academics, scientists, engineers, and intellectuals with fine minds and courageous hearts to deliver the bitter pill—the official explanation of the events of 9/11 is false and the evidence indicating an inside job is significant. In doing so, they have returned scholarship to its rightful place of leading us back to excellence.”
    — Catherine Austin Fitts, assistant secretary for housing, first Bush administration

    “It has long been clear that the Bush-Cheney administration cynically exploited the attacks of 9/11 to promote its imperial designs. But the present volume confronts us with compelling evidence for an even more disturbing conclusion: that the 9/11 attacks were themselves orchestrated by this administration precisely so they could be thus exploited. If this is true, it is not merely the case, as the Downing Street memos show, that the stated reason for attacking Iraq was a lie. It is also the case that the whole ‘war on terror’ was based on a prior deception. This book hence confronts the American people—indeed the people of the world as a whole—with an issue second to none in importance and urgency. I give this book, which in no way can be dismissed as the ravings of ‘paranoid conspiracy theorists,’ my highest possible recommendation.”
    — Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and founder of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity)

    “All Americans who love their country enough to dig into the facts of these critical times will be well rewarded by examining David Griffin’s books. 9/11 truth is a very important issue-with the power to bring lasting change to our country.”
    — The Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., former pastor of Riverside Church, New York

  10. steph hamilton says

    From Paul Craig Roberts Wikipedia page…

    “Of the 9/11 Commission Report he wrote in 2006, “One would think that if the report could stand analysis, there would not be a taboo against calling attention to the inadequacy of its explanations.” (see Criticisms of the 9/11 Commission Report). He has reported what he says are findings by experts that conclude there is a large energy deficit in the official account of the collapse of the three WTC buildings, and says that this deficit remains unexplained.

    Roberts, a supply-side economist, comments on the “scientific impossibility” of the official explanation for the events on 9/11 and says those engineers and physicists who accept this theory are wrong. On August 18, 2006, he wrote:

    “I will begin by stating what we know to be a solid incontrovertible scientific fact. We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less steel columned buildings, to “pancake” at free fall speed. Therefore, it is a non-controversial fact that the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings is false… Since the damning incontrovertible fact has not been investigated, speculation and “conspiracy theories” have filled the void.[4]

    On the (back) cover of Debunking 9/11 Debunking (2007) he is quoted:

    Professor Griffin is the nemesis of the 9/11 cover-up. This new book destroys the credibility of the NIST and Popular Mechanics reports and annihilates his critics.

    Roberts is supported by hundreds (if not thousands) of global engineers to yet stand up.

  11. steph hamilton says

    I would like a reply from everyone from NYU Local, and web surfers alike. Come on. Let’s hear what is so crazy about what I just posted.

  12. Isha Dandavate says

    to steph:

    “I’d stay away from commenting on things you know little about”

    This article was not a commentary on the legitimacy of the 9/11 conspiracy. Your passionate comments, while understandable, are irrelevant to the point of this article.

    This article was about the specific event, not the conspiracy. I’m glad it caused you to look deeper into this conspiracy, but that doesn’t obligate me to involve myself in that topic.

    I will not take responsibility for other people’s comments regarding the truth or falsity of the conspiracy theory.

  13. steph hamilton says

    “For far too long, the very reasonable questions raised by 9/11 have been ignored and even ridiculed by America’s press and politicians, who treat the subject with the sort of willful blindness that suggests a wish not to find out unpleasant truths. We, the people, therefore owe the editors of this important new collection our warm thanks for their intelligent and unrelenting work.”
    – Mark Crispin Miller, professor of culture and communications, New York University

    (David Ray Griffin’s “American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out”, 2007)


    You are off the hook. Agreed with the first two paragraphs of your comment. Still, you backed away from what has become the biggest misuse of power in the history of the united states – the 9/11 coverup. I asked you for your opinion-can you offer it? Maybe you want to read the book and then comment–in that case, hats off, you are a true journalist.

    As a writer or reporter, you owe it to the trade you are studying to one day be compensated for to investigate based on some pretty damn compelling testimoney presented here from people who have served the country in good will.
    The defenders of the official 9/11 theory? Tom Kean, Phil Zelikow, Dick Cheney, Popular Mechanics, government hired NIST investigators. Uhmm…take a guess who more than 50 percent of NY’ers trust.

    Just read the damn book and make up your own mind. Hint-Phil Zelikow’s existence as Exec. DIrector of the 9/11 Commission voids the investigation as being independent from Washington and the GW Bush presidency. That alone is cause enough for a truly independent investigation, aside from the architects, engineers, family members, politicians, educators, etc., risking their asses for justice.

    Maybe you and NYU Local just want to keep on believin’ in your government (regardless what the federal reserve continues to do to us all), that an inside job could never happen. By closing off your mind, you prove to your online community that you are not fair and balanced…by NOT researching what has been presented here. You know it is compelling…Follow up on it! I’d bet my life, the life of my parents, that you will not regret reading this one book. What are you guys so scared of?

    What’s the story with the comments made by ned, cody and chris kennedy? They look extremely diminutive and weak in comparison to the “conspiracy freaks” that people love to harass, who hands down TROUNCED NYU Local in this thread. Ned and Cody’s comments were childish, and are not sound journalistic responses. I/others presented them with legitimate comments and, to readers, baby ned, baby chris and baby cody have tucked tail and run. Are they going to read David Ray Griffin’s “American Empire” as NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller wrote the forward … or will they sit back, be lazy and remain uninformed, no-it-all 20-year-old pajama journalists who yell pot shots from the bleacher seats?

    Come on, NYU Local, show me some god damn facts. Grow some balls and do your job. Unless twittering nonsense is your job. That is what is being demonstrated each day. Investigate 9-11 and the good souls behind the movement, people like BYU prof. Steven Jones and former Prof. David Ray Griffin. People Like Bob McIlvaine.

    You want to show people what an online community is capable of? You’ll get readers beyond your wildest dreams.

    Do you want to change the course of history?

    U.N. Official Supports New Investigation

    Japanese Official Asks for New Investigation
    (1 of 4)

    British Parliament Member, German Secretary of Defense Doubt 9/11 Story

  14. Pratik Patel says

    “I’d bet my life, the life of my parents, that you will not regret reading this one book. What are you guys so scared of?”

    “no-it-all 20-year-old pajama journalists who yell pot shots from the bleacher seats”

    “Grow some balls and do your job.”

    Hypocritical much?

    I understand your point and agree that cody’s comment was dismissive and juvenile, but youve come to the wrong place to vent your frustrations at the federal govt. So far your qualifications in this argument include reading a book….

    To be honest, your point is moot. If the govt was directly responsible for the attacks, there is nothing you can do about it, and no significant federal official will ever be indicted. I suggest you and your paranoia leave this country (especially if you think federal reserve is after you with its monetary policy of death).

    You are either a pathetic fool or a cronie for WSN. Either way, you have no place here.

  15. martin barret says


    I disagree with you that “steph”, although noticeably frustrated and in her last note similarly (somewhat) juvenile, does have a place in asking for discourse on a topic that the NYU Local’s editors in unison made unsubstantiated commentary on. They placed their foot on the pavement by commenting on what millions of people around the world – sane people – question. That’s a healthy thing. I would say it is not healthy to blindly accept what is handed down from on high as the truth.

    As far as your “paranoia” comment, that’s just ridiculous. Someone who has concern about the legitimacy of the 9-11 commission, based on a ton of respected people’s equal concerns, is not paranoid. I know that’s what those who believe the “official” conspiracy theory – such as yourself – would like to keep believing, but I know steph, she doesn’t work for WSN, and she certainly isn’t paranoid. she doesn’t believe in ufo’s or bigfoot or the whole New World Order jazz. She’s level headed, and she called out the NYU editors on their lame pot shots, and they ran because they don’t have the information. Its pretty plain and simple.

    And I totally disagree that something can’t be done (if the us gov was involved), as more than 30,000 new yorkers showed this past summer by signing a petition to re-investigate 9-11. Google 9/11 NYC Ballot Initiative and Mike Gravel.
    THe worm has turned.

    I have yet to read American Empire: Intellectuals speak out, but I will certainly buy it soon on ebay because I know steph, trust her judgment as a student of journalism and history, and am not afraid to engage in discussion on false flag terrorism, which it is obvious that 9-11 was. The means by which the american public was manipulated into supporting a false war, all based on fear. rush to your government for protection and support us as we go after this faceless, endless enemy of middle eastern terrorists…

    its obvious a) no plane hit the pentagon and b) building 7 was brought down by controlled demolition, but folks don’t want to believe it. whatever. doesn’t change the straight facts that NO bodies were found at the pentagon, and that rudy g. and all new building 7 was going to be demolished. Larry Silverstein the owner said to “pull it.” on the history channel. uhhmm…that means to take a building down. serious problems here folks.

    Isn’t NYU Local about discourse on topics raised by NYU students? Well here we are…pratik, you don’t want discourse on this? why not? she has a right to call cody out. she’s just frustrated he wasn’t a man about it.

    and there goes Local bolting.

    my mind is open, and i’d like to see everyone buy this book and comment back to steph when they are finished.

    Mr. Berkeley made a good point
    Rowan Berkeley
    Oct 20, 2008 0:49
    For some reason, anti-intellectualism has always been officially treated with favour by US media bosses. The implicit argument of the anti-intellectual is “hey, I’m too stupid to follow your argument, so you can’t convince me to change my views. ha ha ha.”