Reconciling two very distinct and mutually contradictory timelines for when the Associated Press broke major news developments throughout the day of September 11th, 2001.
One timeline was posted to the web by the Irish company, Thomas Crosbie Media on an archive page dated, September 11th, 2001, organized under the topic "War on Terrorism." The context there is clear: it is the first of daily compendiums under the heading "War on Terror" that ran until at least the end of 2001. Its first appearance online as recorded at archive.org, was on March 16, 2004.
The second timeline I first encountered in a citation at the Complete 911 Timeline at The History Commons, where an entry:
9:43 a.m.-9:53 a.m. September 11, 2001: Associated Press First to Report a Plane Hit the Pentagon; CNN Still Unsure What Happened for Ten More Minutes
cites two references in determining the exceedingly important fact that the Associated Press was the first news organization to report a plane had impacted the Pentagon, at 9:43am.
One citation was an article in the industry magazine Broadcasting and Cable dated 8/26/2002, titled, Three hours that shook America: A chronology of chaos by Mark K. Miller, which makes reference to five bullet items from the timeline. The second citation is to the expanded timeline found on a pdf. page called, "Associated Press, 2001," which appears as a contextless page that looks graphically as if it came from the semi-annual in-house magazine, APWorld, which if true, can't be determined via Google. archive.org records this pdf. page as first appearing online on March 6, 2008.
Other than the citations in the History Commons project, there is very little else in the way of linkages online for these two references. Putting a more proper title for the pdf. page, "A Stunning 48 hours of News," into Google and only 10 hits are returned, while entering the title for the Broadcast and Cable article also returns only 10 hits in Google.
In fact, only a single original reference to the Broadcast and Cable article was ever made---at a blog named Shoestring911, on October 31, 2008, and it was not about the time of the announcement of a plane crash, but rather, about an errant report of fire in the USAToday building:
"Some early news reports even claimed that there was a fire at the USA Today building. At 9:46 a.m., local radio station WTOP reported, "We're hearing from a caller who says she is eyewitness to another hit here in town; the USA Today building may also be on fire in addition to the Pentagon."Only a single original-source article references the AP pdf. page, and likewise, it is not about the breaking news of a plane crash at the Pentagon. In the Calgary Herald a piece by Kevin Brooker, published March 26, 2007, called The curious tale of the 'other' WTC tower, was about the AP timeline's failure to mention the collapse of Building 7 late in the day of the 11th.
- The Associated Press 2001 pdf. timeline is a compendium that memorializes "two flashes, 25 APNewsAlerts and 18 bulletins in the first day," but the page is constructed without any context, or authorship, or linkages. Archive.org first records this pdf page appearing online on March 6, 2008.
- Graphically, this pdf page would appear to be from the semi-annual in-house magazine, APWorld, but that is unverifiable on Google. Graphically, it also appears the bulletins were intended to open in links for expanded reporting, but the links are dead. Whatever additional information originally in the AP reports is unknown.
- According to Google, other than the History Commons citation, only one original-source article references the AP pdf. In the Calgary Herald, a piece by Kevin Brooker, published March 26, 2007, called The curious tale of the 'other' WTC tower, was about the AP timeline's failure to mention the collapse of Building 7.
- According to Google, other than the History Commons citation, only one original reference to the Broadcast and Cable article was made---at a blog named Shoestring911, on October 31, 2008, but it was about an errant report of fire in the USAToday building.
- The timeline is not a compendium recorded in its original form, having been edited with at least one prominent correction, in the 10:23am item: "Washington Car bomb explodes outside State Department, senior law enforcement officials say [Note: Officials’ version later proved unfounded]"
Interpolating Two Very Distinct AP Wires
Some of the significant differences between the two timelines:
- AP's first report of plane crash into WTC is five minutes later than Crosbie,
- The AP timeline further distances itself by attributing the news to "television reports"
- AP's report of a plane crash into Pentagon is 22 minutes earlier than Crosbie.
- AP's report of a car bomb at the State Department is 12 minutes earlier than Crosbie.
- In two reports, AP first says "explosions" were occurring in the second tower, before reporting that a plane had crashed five minutes later.
- AP says at 9:43 that the Pentagon was hit by an aircraft.
- Crosbie says at 9:41 the Pentagon was evacuated due to fire.
- Crosbie says at 9:52 an explosion at Pentagon. Paul Begala said, ‘‘It was a huge fireball, a huge, orange fireball,"
- Crosbie says at 10:05 "Then an aircraft crashed into the Pentagon,"
- Crosbie says at 10:11 AP reporter Dave Winslow also saw the crash. He said, "I saw the tail of a large airliner..... It plowed right into the Pentagon."
- AP says at 10:23 a car bomb explodes outside the State Department.
- Crosbie says at 10:35 a car bomb explodes outside the State Department.
- Crosbie repeats the error three more times in the next 36 minutes: at 10:42am, at 11:03am, and again at 11:11am.
- Crosbie says at 5:29 that Building 7 collapses
- AP fails entirely to report Building 7 collapsing on 9/11.