Laura Pressley 9/11 Truther views don’t bother ANC, Statesman

KUT reporter Terrence Henry has uncovered a videotaped June 2012 Austin event titled “Debate on the topic of 9/11”, where District 4 Council Candidate Laura Pressley, endorsed by the Austin Neighborhoods Council (ANC) and the Austin American-Statesman, states that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.

When asked about her views on whether or not the U.S. military murdered almost 3,000 people, Dr. Pressley has either avoided answering the question — or flat out hung up on reporters. She has not denied that the voice on the tape is hers.

Does ANC believe 9/11 Trutherism is reasonable?

Dr. Pressley was endorsed by ANC for District 4. Given this new information, do they still agree that Dr. Pressley’s views show the wisdom necessary for City Council? It certainly appears so. ANC has made no public comment on the endorsement. On the ANC Talk List, however, Dr. Pressley seems to have plenty of individual support from ANC members. Below are two excerpted comments, bold added for emphasis, but otherwise only edited for formatting:

This topic reminds me of the “gutter” tactics used by Rush Limbaugh to discredit candidates for political offices. Laura Pressley’s views on 9-11 and fluoride are not extraordinary and are shared by many other reasonable people.

The second:

Elections, rhetoric, and even Laura Pressley aside,  when I saw, live on TV, the twin towers go down, my first reaction, without anything besides just watching on the spot, was “this is a demolition!?!”  That and the notion that these guys got though all U.S. defenses just doesn’t ring true.  Inside job dude

Is 9/11 Trutherism a mainstream ANC view? This is well beyond garden variety NIMBYism and obstructionism veiled as “protecting neighborhoods”. It’s already well known that ANC wields disproportionate power at city hall, but this is beyond the pale, and the new city council should take this into consideration if the ANC stands by this endorsement.

Let’s also address this “dirty politics” claim. Back in August, ANC President Mary Ingle and Vice President David King filed an ethics complaint against a member of the CodeNext Advisory Committee. Of course, they hid behind the “private citizen” label for their accusation, rather than an official ANC move. This complaint was dismissed by the Ethics Commission, but is a shining example of the lengths ANC will go to silence Austinites they don’t anoint as Serious Citizens.

Statesman can’t admit mistake; compares Pressley 9/11 conspiracy with another candidate’s voting record

Dr. Pressley also received the Austin American-Statesman endorsement. Apparently, the only daily newspaper in Austin is short on reporters, because they didn’t bother to vet Dr. Pressley at all. Or, they weren’t too concerned with Dr. Pressley’s fringe views on fluoride in drinking water, smart meters from Austin Energy causing and allowing military-style weapons for regular citizens to use.

Not that the Statesman editorial board wasn’t aware. From the endorsement:

Pressley has come a long way from 2011 when she pleaded with council to remove fluoride from the city’s water. That campaign gave us some pause, but her actions and statements since have persuaded us that she has moved on from that fight.

Except that’s not true. As reported by Jo Clifton in the Austin Chronicle, in November 2013, Dr. Pressley appeared on Alex Jones’ radio show to claim that smart meters from Austin Energy were causing muscle twitches in both herself and her husband. She made similar claims on another radio show in February 2014. Ms. Clifton also reported this peculiar nugget:

Pressley also told Zilinsky that she is so sensitive to microwaves and radio waves that she can sense from a distance when a cordless phone has been plugged in.

It certainly appears that the Statesman editorial board is more concerned with advancing a homestead exemption for the city, rather than evaluating candidates on their views and judgment. It’s common knowledge that older homeowners are the bread and butter of newspaper subscribers — and I know because I used to work in newspaper circulation. Rather than endorsing candidates that would be best for the city, our only daily newspaper has chosen to endorse a 9/11 truther with a whole wheelbarrow of other fringe conspiracy views.

The truly shameful act by the Statesman was after this information came to light. Like ANC, they didn’t rescind their endorsement either. First, they said Dr. Pressley claims the content was stated out of context, and she never believed the conspiracy. Did the Statesman bother to check the audio? From the KUT story, with quotes bolded for emphasis:

The paper Pressley cited examined a component of explosives found at the sites and compared “it directly to morphological samples gotten from the military,” Pressley said. They “compare directly” and “that is the data that convinced me 100-percent something was planted in the buildings,” she said.

Being convinced 100% that something was planted in the buildings to kill thousands of people isn’t questioning the evidence. That’s being 100% sure, in Dr. Pressley’s own words.

Next, the Statesman doubled down and chose to create a massive false equivalence concerning one of Dr. Pressley’s rival candidates, Greg Casar. Essentially, they don’t like some of his platform, and they are clutching their pearls because he’s only voted in one municipal election. Which is almost as serious as suggesting the U.S. Military destroyed two of the tallest buildings in the world while they were full of people.

By endorsing a 9/11 truther, ANC and Statesman are embarrassing Austin

The ANC should be ashamed. So should the Statesman, but at least they’ve acknowledged this development. Dr. Pressley should be ashamed, too, because this conspiracy is pretty nasty to people who suffered due to the tragedy of 9/11.

But, the campaign goes on, and Dr. Pressley is still touting the Statesman endorsement in her latest campaign email. She claims the source of these revelations are “business-as-usual, status-quo-lobbyists”. Well, I’m certainly neither. More importantly, how much more status quo can you be than a former ANC Executive Committee Member, as Dr. Pressley is?