Clueless: Tom Brokaw Cheapens “The Flight that Fought Back”

(c), 2005

Many readers will have watched the recent production on The Discovery Channel of “The Flight that Fought Back,” a dramatization of the events that occurred on September 11, 2001, aboard Flight 93. Using a wide variety of tapes and personal interviews, the producers recreated a harrowing scenario of what happened aboard the hijacked flight as it was speeding towards Washington, DC, at nearly 600 mph, controlled by four of the Middle East’s finest Islamic homicidal lunatics. The presentation was shown without interruption and was gripping from beginning to end. The survivors of those killed that day are to be thanked and congratulated for their participation in the production of this film.

If you have not yet seen this film, do yourself a favor: once the story ends, do not watch the epilogue hosted by career leftist and pseudo-journalist Tom Brokaw. To his eternal discredit – but wholly in keeping with "liberal" political views – Brokaw interviewed half a dozen of the survivors. Not only does this segment add nothing of value, it cheapens the story itself as Brokaw leads the interviewees through an eye-popping “I’m OK, They’re OK” segment right out of the Ward Churchill playbook. Brokaw continues the cognitive dissonance he showed the world in “The Greatest Generation,” in which he showered praise upon World War II veterans at the same time he was branding today’s US military as the aggressors in Iraq and “back-door draftees from among America’s poorest.”

In his segment at the end of “The Flight that Fought Back,” Brokaw tries mightily to achieve two goals: to encourage the survivors to ‘get through their grief’ and to ‘learn to live with what happened.’ It’s like watching a scene from the old 70’s show “Newhart,” in which the psychologist leads his group of whacky, unbalanced Chicagoans through a satiric dissection of that era's frothy trends in psychological feel-good nonsense. Not once does Brokaw acknowledge that the acts of savagery on 9-11 need to be addressed for what they were: an act of war by ignorant, hate-filled barbarian’s intent upon punishing the USA for its successes as their own countries wallow in abject failure. Not once does Brokaw ask any of the people in the group if they’re feelings towards the Middle East – and even (G-d forbid) Islam -- have been affected by what happened in 2001. Not once does Brokaw ask if we Americans need to look at life differently since the attack. No, it’s all about “understanding” what happened – as a random act removed from the real world – and about “feeling better about ourselves” now that the nasty events of that day are safely behind us. I do not remember Brokaw even saying the word “Islam.” Quelled Horror! That would be so… so… uncivilized.

That Brokaw could convince the film’s producers to add his bizarre segment to the show’s end shows that he retains some tatters of his unearned clout within the industry. That Brokaw was able to get the survivors to agree with his Kerry-esque agenda must remain a painful moment in the lives of the survivors who participated in his interview. That some people of education and experience remain as willfully ignorant as Brokaw now four years into this war is a disquieting thing to contemplate as we wait for the next act of savagery directed at America from a people who would kill us all for our beliefs and our success.