WPLG Plans to Show ‘The Path to 9/11′

I called WPLG this morning to try to persuade them not to run the ‘Path to 9/11′ movie. (I emailed a couple of days ago but didn’t get an answer.) The Miami number (305) 576-1010 just takes you to an unhelpful automated telephone menu with no options that seemed appropriate for complaints about programming. I finally picked the news desk and asked for the general manger; they sent me back to the automated menu.

Fortunately, Google allowed me to find the name of the general manager, so on my next call I was able to pick his name out of the automated directory. I’m not going to print it here in the hopes that he won’t get too inundated with telephone calls, just those from the well-informed and highly motivated. I don’t think harassment is likely to be effective here. If you do call, please be polite. I also suggest writing out the main points you want to make before you place the call. (Good sources of inspiration include ThinkProgress and Open Letter to ABC and this post at The Carpetbagger Report.)

It was a frustrating conversation, which got off the wrong foot when the GM tried to suggest his hands were tied without actually saying so in so many words and I forcefully said that since WPLG isn’t ABC-owned it has a choice to make. (In fact, Wikipedia says that WPLG is owned by a subsidiary of the Washington Post.)

Main point: WPLG plans to air ‘The Path to 9/11′. During a 20 minute or so call with a generally polite but sometimes exasperated and occasionally almost bullying GM (in all fairness, I gave as good as I got), I was offered the following justifications which I’ve summarized and paraphrased below (my responses in parenthesis):

  • It’s just a movie. (But that’s not how it was promoted, including a big glossy ad that came with this morning’s Miami Herald saying “based on the 9/11 commission report” right across the top. Anyway, running a one-sided drama on a critical national issue shortly before a key election can be harmful in itself).
  • We’ll be running a disclaimer several times during the show, the full text of which is quoted below. (But these are not as effective as images; they will fail to undo the harm done by the film; and of course they can’t substitute for what’s missing.)
  • They are proud of the news division and hold it to the highest standards of accuracy. (I said, does that mean those standards don’t apply to movies, and was accused of putting words in his mouth).
  • Wasn’t their coverage of 9/11 tremendous? (I said I didn’t have a photographic memory for what they did five years ago, and even if it was great that didn’t alter the choice facing them now).
  • People like me want to censor everything they disagree with on TV and in Blockbuster (I said I didn’t want the government to prevent him from showing it, I wanted him to make an independent moral choice. And there’s lots of stuff on TV I disagree with, but this was the first time I’d ever called him.)
  • I can’t (or shouldn’t) criticize the movie until I’ve seen it (I suggested that [1] ABC had controlled who could see it in advance and [2] there were many actions in life where it was appropriate to try to prevent something rather than wait until after the damage was done — and this was one of them).
  • The effects of this movie will be positive as it is creating a useful debate that we wouldn’t otherwise have had. (Couldn’t you justify airing any false thing with that argument?) [Incidentally, this counter-argument, and the hypos I offered to support it produced the most anger: how could I make such generalizations!?! I'm afraid I didn't say what I do for a living.]
  • I’ve made up my mind on the issue. (Yes, I said, and now I want to change yours.)

The only thing I said that seemed to even give him pause was when I said I’d be contacting local advertisers. To the response that there will be no ads during the program I said that money was fungible, that advertisers in other parts of the country were pulling ads for a week around the show to make a point. He didn’t like that. To the claim that I was trying to interfere with his freedom of speech, I said, no, I supported his freedom and wanted him to use it in a responsible way; if he didn’t I had the freedom to criticize him and to urge others not to support him financially.

At one point towards the end of our conversation I asked what it would take to convince him that the film shouldn’t run, if there was any amount of error or misleading that would suffice, but never got a straight answer. When I suggested that meant there was no amount of error that could block a ‘docudrama’ I was again told not to put words in his mouth. But if there is a local standard here, I was unable to get an articulation of it.

So, left with no alternative, I’ve started by contacting ABC’s national advertisers whose products I currently use. But doing it on a local level would be much, much more effective. Anyone have a list of local WPLG advertisers?

Meanwhile, here’s the full text of the disclaimer that WPLG’s General Manger kindly faxed me; he told me they will be running this “throughout” the ‘Path to 9/11′:

The following movie is a dramatization that is drawn from a variety of sources including the 9/11 Commission Report and other published materials, and from personal interviews. The movie is not a documentary. For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, as well as time compression.

My impression is that disclaimers do almost nothing compared to the impact of a dramatic scene and that they fail utterly at making up for what’s left out if a story is told in a one-sided way; WPLG’s manager emphatically disagreed.

I was invited to call back after I saw the show, but frankly I don’t think I would want to spend several hours of my life being propagandized and then have to make an effort to sort truth from fiction. As someone who reads history books and newspapers, I’ve always avoided watching docudramas in the past to avoid the mental confusions they threaten to create and I don’t think I want to start with this one. But if there are any local experts around who want the job, I have someone you might like to talk to afterwards. Not that I expect it could possibly achieve anything meaningful after the damage is done…

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61 Responses to WPLG Plans to Show ‘The Path to 9/11′

  1. NewMexiKen says:

    Don’t know about Miami, but it often seems as if all the local advertisers on Albuquerque’s television stations are car dealers and most of us are already doing a pretty good job of boycotting GM, Ford and Chrysler.

  2. jerry says:

    Challenge their licenses!

    Find when your station of interest’s license expires:

    Sadly, this won’t help with WPLG, their’s was renewed in 2005.

  3. latts says:

    Wasn’t their coverage of 9/11 tremendous?

    Well, they did have Peter Jennings, who is now, y’know, dead. I’m afraid there’s not much more to be gained from that claim.

  4. Mumon says:

    The “free speech” argument is bogus: the spectrum on which he broadcasts is owned by the people, and his broadcast license is predicated in part on serving the public interest. He’s not serving it, and that’s why in my contact to the local affiliate I mentioned that I’d object to their license being renewed.

  5. Shelley says:

    Re: the disclaimer, one point you could have made, and anyone else making the call can make, is the disclaimer does not indicate which scenes in the movie are fictional and which are “dramatizations.” If a viewer is not given the facts in order to discern that, then the disclaimer is a useless CYA device.

  6. Mumon says:

    The “free speech” argument is bogus: the spectrum on which he broadcasts is owned by the people, and his broadcast license is predicated in part on serving the public interest. He’s not serving it, and that’s why in my contact to the local affiliate I mentioned that I’d object to their license being renewed.

  7. r€nato says:

    Michael, I would encourage you to go ahead and watch the crockudrama. It would enable you to more credibly criticize it post-facto. Besides it can’t be as bad as watching four hours of Fox news or listening to four hours of Rush Limpballs. From what I understand there’s only a few scenes which are slanderous fiction, not the entire thing.

  8. dexmike says:

    Gee, there isn’t a thing on that list I could boycott…but I will be staying out of Disney properties!

  9. r€nato says:

    Michael, I would encourage you to go ahead and watch the crockudrama. It would enable you to more credibly criticize it post-facto. Besides it can’t be as bad as watching four hours of Fox news or listening to four hours of Rush Limpballs. From what I understand there’s only a few scenes which are slanderous fiction, not the entire thing.

  10. Phill says:

    There is no freedom to libel.

    The disclaimer argument is disingenuous. Is the disclaimer seriously intended to negate the message of the film? Clearly it is not.

    If showing a naked boobie during the superbowl leads to millions of dollars in fines then showing a six hour campaign ad that makes untrue claims should definitely be liable for libel.

    The public figure defense is not total. ABC cannot claim that they were unaware that the allegations are untrue. They have already accepted this as fact.

    I don’t see how they could re-edit the film to remove these scenes without wrecking their narrative. They need to shoot additional material for balance.

  11. Jake says:

    A fundamental talking point for anyone going on TV/Radio to discuss this:

    Does the show include a scene where Bush is presented with the memo:

    “Bin Laden determined to strike US”

    Curious to know how that pivotal scene is presented, if at all……

  12. Phill says:

    There is no freedom to libel.

    The disclaimer argument is disingenuous. Is the disclaimer seriously intended to negate the message of the film? Clearly it is not.

    If showing a naked boobie during the superbowl leads to millions of dollars in fines then showing a six hour campaign ad that makes untrue claims should definitely be liable for libel.

    The public figure defense is not total. ABC cannot claim that they were unaware that the allegations are untrue. They have already accepted this as fact.

    I don’t see how they could re-edit the film to remove these scenes without wrecking their narrative. They need to shoot additional material for balance.

  13. Maggie says:

    Wasn’t their coverage of 9/11 tremendous?

    Yes, it was, but as latts said, that was when Peter Jennings was alive. My response would have been, “What would Peter say about this ‘docudrama’ being aired, after all the diliegent work he did, on that day, 5 years ago?” I think he would have been appalled.

  14. Phill says:

    The film does not show the ‘My pet goat’ incident or Bush’s response to the ‘Bin Laden prepared’ briefing. The audience does not find out that his response was ‘now you have covered your asses’.

    The publicity for the film has the slogan ‘Everything that could have prevented it’. The failure of the Bush administration to take terrorism seriously is never mentioned.

    Perhaps Michael Moore could use this as an opportunity to circulate F911 again.

    Apparently the Berger sequence has already been dropped, but it does not sound as if the claim that there was a clear shot at Bin Laden has been dropped.

    It is difficult to see how the film can be re-edited coherently unless there is other material that can be used.

  15. Ed says:

    “Dramatization” is a different way of saying “Fictionalized Account” which is a fancy way of saying “An account of an event that doesn’t contain the whole truth of what actually occurred but since we need to add drama to the event for the TV audience we made up some stuff for you enjoyment”. Most people who get their news from the daily newspapers like Michael and myself hate these sort of programs because they’re just not accurate. The problem is that people who never bother to actually watch the news or to read a newspaper beyond the sports section think that the events as portrayed on the show are correct. This is in spite of the fact that a disclaimer runs before the show and on the screen during it. I agree with Shelley who posted that the disclaimer doesn’t indicate where the story is factually inaccurate. If ABC where truly interested in putting a quality show on the air about 9/11 there’s a number of quality people who do documentaries who would have loved five hours of network time.

  16. Phill says:

    The film does not show the ‘My pet goat’ incident or Bush’s response to the ‘Bin Laden prepared’ briefing. The audience does not find out that his response was ‘now you have covered your asses’.

    The publicity for the film has the slogan ‘Everything that could have prevented it’. The failure of the Bush administration to take terrorism seriously is never mentioned.

    Perhaps Michael Moore could use this as an opportunity to circulate F911 again.

    Apparently the Berger sequence has already been dropped, but it does not sound as if the claim that there was a clear shot at Bin Laden has been dropped.

    It is difficult to see how the film can be re-edited coherently unless there is other material that can be used.

  17. pk says:

    why not start with the “local10.com” advertisers ( need to “reload” their hompage to see them all)

    Vonage
    Robb & Stucky Interiors
    JM Lexus
    iMed Urgent Care
    CITGO
    IMAGOS Plastic Surgery
    Miccosukee Tribe of Indians
    American Laser centers
    Monster.com

  18. Phill says:

    The film does not show the ‘My pet goat’ incident or Bush’s response to the ‘Bin Laden prepared’ briefing. The audience does not find out that his response was ‘now you have covered your asses’.

    The publicity for the film has the slogan ‘Everything that could have prevented it’. The failure of the Bush administration to take terrorism seriously is never mentioned.

    Perhaps Michael Moore could use this as an opportunity to circulate F911 again.

    Apparently the Berger sequence has already been dropped, but it does not sound as if the claim that there was a clear shot at Bin Laden has been dropped.

    It is difficult to see how the film can be re-edited coherently unless there is other material that can be used.

  19. Charles says:

    What matters is the pictures.

    During the Reagan Administration, the newsies would do critical pieces, but the background would be, say, US planes or some fairly positive image. The Reaganites loved it, because they knew that what people remember are not the words, but the pictures.

    Look what disclaimers did for smoking.

  20. Charles says:

    What matters is the pictures.

    During the Reagan Administration, the newsies would do critical pieces, but the background would be, say, US planes or some fairly positive image. The Reaganites loved it, because they knew that what people remember are not the words, but the pictures.

    Look what disclaimers did for smoking.

  21. MushyMiddle says:

    I would suggest that the real problem is with their disclaimer. Perhaps if you had suggested the following “improvement”, he’d have bit:

    “The following movie is a dramatization that is drawn from a variety of sources including the 9/11 Commission Report and other published materials, and from personal interviews. The movie is not a documentary. For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, time compression, and complete and utter falsehoods for dramatic and political effect.”

  22. Court Jester says:

    For me, it boils down to two issues:

    1) given that it discusses events leading up to 9/11 on the eve of the 5th anniversary, and given the impact that 9/11 had/has on the country, ABC/Disney shouldn’t be airing anything that is not 100% factual. This is too painful an event, too raw a wound (still!) to be fodder for docu-drama treatment. Too bad if the facts are inconvenient. Respect those who died.

    2) it is understood that docu-dramas use “fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, as well as time compression”. The problem here is the combination of creating fictionalized scenes involving ACTUAL people, and putting “fictionalized dialogue” into the mouths of ACTUAL people. Not to mention contradicting events as they are documented in the 9/11 Commission report. Those aren’t “dramatic and narrative purposes”. If you embellish to make Clinton look more culpable, and hide things to make Bush look less culpable, that’s not drama – it’s propaganda. CBS shelved the Reagan docu-drama when the Right complained – but when the Left complains we can be ignored? This will hurt Disney BIG TIME.

    At the very least, all mention of the 9/11 Commission should be removed from the marketing and promotional material for this project. “Based on” does not mean “contradicts”. I’d also like to see ABC required to provide 6 hours of FREE broadcasting for some alternate documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11.

  23. RF says:

    WPLG is a subsidiary of the Washington Post? Big fat surprise.

    The cheap excuses he offered you either a wholesale indictment or an open admission of your criticism.

    Running disclaimers?!? That only proves that a factually untrue “fake-umentary” actively misleads the viewing public. A disclaimer is merely a band-aid to an ONGOING attempt to maintain a falsehood believed by a wide swath of the viewing public, and an attempt to mislead those that haven’t been paying attention or who are undecided. It WILL be viewed as fact. The disclaimers will be overlooked and ignored, as they always are.

    It’s “just a movie”?!? It’s just ridiculous. Historical movies and dramatizations by definition still have to adhere to the actual historical facts.

    ABC Coverage of 9-11 is a red-herring and tangential to the issue.

    But this is just egregiously dishonest/disingenuous: “The effects of this movie will be positive as it is creating a useful debate that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

    If we haven’t had sufficient “useful debate,” it’s because ABC hasn’t fully honed in on the facts in its coverage, nor pressed the point of those facts home with its viewing audience. I.e., it hasn’t remotely attempted to hold the Bush administration accountable, based on the evidence. Not truth-squadding its news division and those of its competitors is a profound disservice to the American public and to U.S. servicemen serving in an undeclared, unprovoked war for which there was no evidence.

  24. RF says:

    WPLG is a subsidiary of the Washington Post? Big fat surprise.

    The cheap excuses he offered you either a wholesale indictment or an open admission of your criticism.

    Running disclaimers?!? That only proves that a factually untrue “fake-umentary” actively misleads the viewing public. A disclaimer is merely a band-aid to an ONGOING attempt to maintain a falsehood believed by a wide swath of the viewing public, and an attempt to mislead those that haven’t been paying attention or who are undecided. It WILL be viewed as fact. The disclaimers will be overlooked and ignored, as they always are.

    It’s “just a movie”?!? It’s just ridiculous. Historical movies and dramatizations by definition still have to adhere to the actual historical facts.

    ABC Coverage of 9-11 is a red-herring and tangential to the issue.

    But this is just egregiously dishonest/disingenuous: “The effects of this movie will be positive as it is creating a useful debate that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

    If we haven’t had sufficient “useful debate,” it’s because ABC hasn’t fully honed in on the facts in its coverage, nor pressed the point of those facts home with its viewing audience. I.e., it hasn’t remotely attempted to hold the Bush administration accountable, based on the evidence. Not truth-squadding its news division and those of its competitors is a profound disservice to the American public and to U.S. servicemen serving in an undeclared, unprovoked war for which there was no evidence.

  25. RF says:

    WPLG is a subsidiary of the Washington Post? Big fat surprise.

    The cheap excuses he offered you either a wholesale indictment or an open admission of your criticism.

    Running disclaimers?!? That only proves that a factually untrue “fake-umentary” actively misleads the viewing public. A disclaimer is merely a band-aid to an ONGOING attempt to maintain a falsehood believed by a wide swath of the viewing public, and an attempt to mislead those that haven’t been paying attention or who are undecided. It WILL be viewed as fact. The disclaimers will be overlooked and ignored, as they always are.

    It’s “just a movie”?!? It’s just ridiculous. Historical movies and dramatizations by definition still have to adhere to the actual historical facts.

    ABC Coverage of 9-11 is a red-herring and tangential to the issue.

    But this is just egregiously dishonest/disingenuous: “The effects of this movie will be positive as it is creating a useful debate that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

    If we haven’t had sufficient “useful debate,” it’s because ABC hasn’t fully honed in on the facts in its coverage, nor pressed the point of those facts home with its viewing audience. I.e., it hasn’t remotely attempted to hold the Bush administration accountable, based on the evidence. Not truth-squadding its news division and those of its competitors is a profound disservice to the American public and to U.S. servicemen serving in an undeclared, unprovoked war for which there was no evidence.

  26. Liz Donovan says:

    WPLG: call letters stand for Philip L. Graham, late Wash. Post publisher, Bob’s brother. Post-Newsweek stations have owned this one for years.

  27. Ed Farmilant says:

    If this show is not political propaganda presented to influence the coming election, then why doesn’t ABC just postpone showing it until after November 7?

  28. Sue Ann says:

    If you make phone calls to the adversisers you will find, as I did, that all lines are busy from the “volume” of calls. Also, Burger King, which advertises on ABC had a voice message that all of the people were at a “meeting” and I should “try your call again later.”

    Disney Corporation (parent company of ABC) said the volume of calls is too great so leave a message but don’t expect a return call. I told them I own Disney stock and I am displeased. Maybe being a shareholder, a mere drop in the bucket compared to most, will carry some additional weight.

  29. appliedtheorist says:

    Is this about Freedom of Expression? (it’s not freedom of press ’cause it ain’t really news). There are lots of cases where lies are broadcast and it’s not actionable. It use to be our courts felt it was more important to have ideas out there (the “marketplace of ideas”) Yes, some speech is restricted (the famous example, falsely shouting “Fire” in a crowded theatre)… but prior restraint used to be a big deal – courts rarely allowed it. Could you even thing of this movie as a form of falsely shouting “Fire”?

    Not really, (at least, it would be a tough case to make). Certainly there’s no immediate physical danger… but, there are the long term consequences of a misinformed public. (and look what that did in the last election).

    (Curious that Disney blocked the release of Michael Moores documentary because they deemed it too controversial.)

    If you look into the Supreme Court rulings, you will find that A.) the entertainment division is held to a different standard than the news division B.) It would be hard to find an actionable claim for Berger or Clinton since they are public figures.

    I’d be interested if this did become a Court case. From what I’ve read in past Freedom of Speech cases you have to wonder how Scalia would twist this one to his own ends (it’s no big surprise that he is in no way consistent in how he interprets the constitution). In the past, (certainly pre-Scalia) the court’s usually supported “the marketplace of ideas” – letting the ideas get out.

    First, what is the proper context of a “docudrama”… fiction based on fact? Second, in the past, the conservative side of the court wanted to restrict expression while the “liberals” favored publication to allow the “marketplace of ideas” to let the public decide. It’s the conservative court that wants to restrict expression (especially where it’s critical of government). Now we have a very conservative court… I wonder how Alito and Roberts will lean?

    I’d prefer they edit the movie for accuracy… I tend to suport the freedom of expression angle even as I wish they would not deceive. The curse for liberals is that there are no easy answers. (The curse for conservatives is that they’re usually wrong)

  30. appliedtheorist says:

    Is this about Freedom of Expression? (it’s not freedom of press ’cause it ain’t really news). There are lots of cases where lies are broadcast and it’s not actionable. It use to be our courts felt it was more important to have ideas out there (the “marketplace of ideas”) Yes, some speech is restricted (the famous example, falsely shouting “Fire” in a crowded theatre)… but prior restraint used to be a big deal – courts rarely allowed it. Could you even thing of this movie as a form of falsely shouting “Fire”?

    Not really, (at least, it would be a tough case to make). Certainly there’s no immediate physical danger… but, there are the long term consequences of a misinformed public. (and look what that did in the last election).

    (Curious that Disney blocked the release of Michael Moores documentary because they deemed it too controversial.)

    If you look into the Supreme Court rulings, you will find that A.) the entertainment division is held to a different standard than the news division B.) It would be hard to find an actionable claim for Berger or Clinton since they are public figures.

    I’d be interested if this did become a Court case. From what I’ve read in past Freedom of Speech cases you have to wonder how Scalia would twist this one to his own ends (it’s no big surprise that he is in no way consistent in how he interprets the constitution). In the past, (certainly pre-Scalia) the court’s usually supported “the marketplace of ideas” – letting the ideas get out.

    First, what is the proper context of a “docudrama”… fiction based on fact? Second, in the past, the conservative side of the court wanted to restrict expression while the “liberals” favored publication to allow the “marketplace of ideas” to let the public decide. It’s the conservative court that wants to restrict expression (especially where it’s critical of government). Now we have a very conservative court… I wonder how Alito and Roberts will lean?

    I’d prefer they edit the movie for accuracy… I tend to suport the freedom of expression angle even as I wish they would not deceive. The curse for liberals is that there are no easy answers. (The curse for conservatives is that they’re usually wrong)

  31. For all practical purposes, most of such damage as was going to be done is done already: the exculpating meme is “OUT THERE.” In progaganda terms, the effect is complete.

    More interesting, i mho, is asking “in whose interest does the meme operate: whom does it exculpate?”

    In order to believe in the exculpation it provides, one must, i think, be already feeling a certain amount of guilt or remorse for some previous behavior for which the meme provides exculpatory relief.

    By (apparently) “blaming Clinton,” the film would be exculpatory for the Bushevik regime, of course. But the film isn’t aimed at that audience. The WhiteHouse, even the Regime in toto, does not constitute either a reliable enough or a large enough population.

    This suggests to me that, therefore, he intended audience for the film is a group of ‘voters’ who may be experiencing some uncomfortable remorse in the face of several (already enumerated) ‘inconvenient truths’ regarding the conduct of people whom those voters installed in the offices of power.

    In this case, the behavior is the exculpee’s willing, inadvertent, or blind culpability in the deeds done by the Busheviks in the aftermath of the IX/XI events, the cumulative affront of which is the very reason for the requisite propaganda coup in the first place. The film offers a way for the credulous and the morally crippled to rationalize what has since happened, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Lebanon–and in New Orleans–the deeds they sanctioned and approved and that they have supported, but now seem to have been intemperate, or inhumane, even illegal.

    If responsibility for IX/XI debacle can be affixed to those whom the Busheviks (for whom the culpable voted) supplanted, then their choice to vote for the Regime looks better and better.

    PT9/11 is not directed to, or even necessary for, the troglodytic 30%-ers who are Bushevik loyalists to the (illogiical) core. This confection of half-truths, fabrications, and outright lies is aimed right at the “Heartland,” where support for the regime it seems might be wavering.

    The remaining damage to be done is in the possibility that unwitting or conniving teachers may require that students watch the show and then provide the Scholastic ‘study guides.’ If a teacher assigns the program for ‘homework,’ the student will be obliged to watch it at home, likely with some other members of the family…or (if it could be) worse, if teachers WITHOUT A WIDE AND DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF THE FACTS AND THE ISUES (and most teachers i know have only so much room in their schedules for obsessions with middle-eastern politics and dynamics) arranges for an in-class screening and blindly follows Scholastic’s pedagogical schema without knowing the framework for asking meaningful questions.

    On the whole, though, the meme is already abroad on the land, yet another rough beast slouching toward jerusalem, waiting to be born…
    .

  32. anon says:

    The movie itself is not the problem. The problem is that many Americans are dumb enough to believe everything they see on TV. It is not the network’s fault that people are so stupid.

  33. indierik says:

    In my car on my lunch hour I was listening to Bill O’Really’s Radio Factor (forgive me), and I was stunned to hear even Bill believes the movie should be edited before they air it. But don’t worry, Bill was still Bill, he made sure he got a few cheap shots in on Clinton over the hour.

  34. ed says:

    interesting that the author of a blog devoted to ‘discourse’ – defined as exchange of thoughts, ideas and information – would seek so hard to stifle a tv show. this hypocrisy is breathtaking. all of the left’s sanctimonious platitudes about free speech, and first amendment, and the evils of mcarthyism are revealed to be just that: hypocritical platitudes.

    any besides me notice that the left’s response to tv shows/movies/speech they don’t like or approve of is exactly like that of the radical islamic swine? “the infidel must be silenced! the demonic verses of the infidel must not be allowed to be broadcast!”

    etc etc

  35. anon says:

    ed writes “any besides me notice that the left’s response to tv shows/movies/speech they don’t like or approve of is exactly like that of the radical islamic swine? “the infidel must be silenced! the demonic verses of the infidel must not be allowed to be broadcast!”"

    Please… the right does the exact same thing…

  36. Phill says:

    People here are thinking like lawyers, not corporate tacticians.

    ABC will certainly be sued for libel if they broadcast. The plaintiffs will certainly have a sufficient case to obtain discovery. The selected excerpts from the discovery materials are certain to be highly embarassing and costly to ABC and Disney.

    There is no core principle that ABC is seeking to defend here. They have admitted that the film is a fiction. It makes absolutely no sense to go to the mat over this film. There is zero upside to the film, the only reason for making the film in the first place was that ABC thought it would burnish their image. It has done the opposite.

    The question is when will Disney fold, not if. I would put the odds of their showing the film on Sunday at less than 50:50. If they show the film on Sunday they have to expect that they will be served with a writ Monday morning. If they then go ahead and show the second part I don’t think it is very hard to demonstrate actual malice.

    If they do show both parts of the film the controversy will engulf ABC and Disney management. They will find it very difficult to respond to attacks while every word has to be filtered through corporate lawyers.

    The only way that ABC will be able to bring the episode to a close will be to do what CBS did: fire a sufficient number of scapegoats, make a grovelling appology and settle the lawsuits.

    The reason that any libel lawyer should be itching to take the case on a contingency fee basis is that ultimately the only way in which ABC is going to be able to demonstrate contrition is by paying a large sum in damages.

    The film cost ABC $40 million. They should expect the lawsuits to cost them another $10 million in legal fees and $20 million or so to settle them.

    The opinion of the judge or jury are irrelevant, the case will never get that far.

  37. John says:

    When the manager of the local station talked about ABC News’ “high standards” would have been a good time to point out that back in 1998 ABC and others criticised Clinton’s efforts to get Bin Laden as “wag the dog.” Does he now regret that “reporting”?

  38. John says:

    About libel actions: a public figure can sue for libel if a lie about him is broadcast with malicious intent. And the courts have held that a “reckless disregard” for whether a statement is true is just as actionable as actual malice. So based on what I’ve heard about this program, Clinton and Berger would have pretty good cases if they sued.

  39. Soprano says:

    Does the show include a scene where Bush is presented with the memo:
    “Bin Laden determined to strike US”
    Curious to know how that pivotal scene is presented, if at all……

    Jake,
    I read somewhere that this was one of the “time compression” scenes, implying that Bush received the PDB on September 10 and didn’t have time to respond, rather than on August 6, when he actually saw the memo. But I can’t confirm this, because I did not prescreen the movie. Can’t remember where I saw that. Sorry.

  40. Amos Anan says:

    The disclaimer is a lie. Saying that the dramatizations are “representative” says that though what’s depicted isn’t exactly what happened, it’s a pretty good approximation.

    Excepting that it’s not “representative characters and dialogue” but MISREPRESENTATIVE characters and dialog. Lies, pure and simple. Lies to mislead and incite anger – anger in one direction only – toward Democrats. A “representative” characterization would have Bush clearing brush then riding his bike just after telling some concerned civil servant who informed him of Bin Laden’s determination to strike in America “You’ve covered your ass!”

    Misrepresentative “time compression” could be found in Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9-11″ where, even though it’s a lengthy scene, the one showing Bush’s fidgety wait while children are taught reading was shortened in the belief that a movie audience could not tolerate that lack of activity for that long a time. A time when America was under direct attack by terrorists.

    Perhaps ABC could correct this misrepresentation by Michael Moore and put the entire classroom scene in their drama about 9-11. They could even use a split screen effect as in “Grand Prix” with both of the Twin Towers burning as they were at the time and maybe a dramatized Flight 93 terror crew feverishly flying toward Washington D.C.

    This is political propaganda that Stalin and Hitler would have been proud of. That it’s being trivialized as a “drama” trivializes and dissembles the much greater impact entertainment has compared to news. News that’s been steadily depressing for years. There are millions of Americans that only rarely pay attention to the news. Those are the ones this telecast is directed towards.

    The ABC blood libel.

  41. The Oracle says:

    I’m surprised the wingnuts that produced this sleazy docudrama didn’t include a scene dramatically recreating Bill and Hillary Cllinton’s killing of Bill’s boyhood friend Vince Foster in some Washington DC park, claiming that this was one of the things that distracted President Clinton from taking action against al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

    Oh, wait, Vince Foster committed suicide. The Clintons were just as shocked as everyone else at his death. However, Rep. Dan Burton shot melons in his backyard, saying his ?research? proved that the Clintons killed Vince Foster. The wingnuts went wild. Just like they did over a blowjob. And a 20-year-old failed land deal.

    I see why ABC and Disney rolled out this travesty. Conspiracy theories about the Bush administration bringing down the World Trade Centers, instead of terrorist-hijacked planes, have been making the rounds. I personally don’t believe this, but I am certain that the incompetence of the Bush administration in 2001 did contribute mightily to the terrorists succeeding in their suicide missions on 9/11.

    So, the wingnuts/ABC/Disney, in attempting to counter this Bush/9-11 conspiracy theory, decided to produce a slanderous docudrama based on all the wingnut conspiracy theories about the Clinton years, piggyback these wingnut conspiracy theories onto the 9/11 Commission Report, and try to pass off these wingnut conspiracy theories as fact. And at the same time downplay bigtime the actual pre-9/11 incompetence and criminal negligence of the entire Bush administration that directly contributed to the 9/11 attacks happening.

    In other words, this is just another instance of the Bush administration buying news reporters and/or planting partisan news stories in the media to further their lies and distort the truth. This is how the Bush administration is trying to assure Bush’s “legacy,” especially by having a wingnut crony organization, Scholastic Inc., spread this scandalous, lying Bush administration product among our nation’s schoolchildren. For shame. For shame. For shame.

    The Communists must be envious. A favorite tactic of their’s is being employed and deployed by the Bush administration, ABC, Disney and Scholastic Inc.

  42. skeptik says:

    so in essence, ABC produced a $40 million, 6-hour-long republican
    attack ad, and is running it free of charge, while pretending to
    educate the public.

  43. mdhatter says:

    Tora! Tora! Tora was on last night.

    awesome film, and chock full of the same sort of propaganda, time compression, amalgamation, etc….

    but it was ALSO made DECADES after Pearl Harbor

  44. Congrats on Atrios link. The disclaimer is totally inadequate. First, as you note, mere words can not compete with moving images and sound. Second, as an earlier commenter notes, there is no indication of which scenes are fundamentally false (from the editor and publisher summary I would guess most are). Third the disclaimer does not accurately describe the differences between reality and the docudrama. They are not confined to changes “For dramatic and narrative purposes.” The known falsehoods were clearly introduced for ideological and partisan reasons. The disclaimer does not admit, as it must to avoid libel, that the movie contains falsehoods which could not possible serve dramatic or narrative purposes or achieve time compression. Such aims do not explain why the docudrama refers to The Washington Times as “The Washington Post.” Given the disclaimer, no reasonable person could guess that such a change was made. It was made because the screenwriter and director wish to slander an MSM newspaper not a right wing propaganda organ.

    The qualifications of the disclaimer are substantive claims and they are false. A person who trusted the accuracy of the disclaimer would draw false inferences. Unless and until ABC admits that reality was distorted in the docudrama in a systematic effort to mislead viewers on important issues, their disclaimer, like their documentary, will be a tissue of lies.

  45. madashell says:

    Good post Michael!

    Thanks for trying. But I’m having trouble with the GM’s rationale. Will the WPLG disclaimer also identify which scenes are fictional and which scenes are not? Which scenes are taken from the 9/11 Commission report and which scenes are the writers fantacy? No…I didn’t think so.. So how will the viewing public be able to distinguish between the two?

  46. fishbane says:

    Ed: interesting that the author of a blog devoted to ‘discourse’ – defined as exchange of thoughts, ideas and information – would seek so hard to stifle a tv show. this hypocrisy is breathtaking. all of the left’s sanctimonious platitudes about free speech, and first amendment, and the evils of mcarthyism are revealed to be just that: hypocritical platitudes.

    Just a tactical tip, Ed – when trolling on blogs frequented by attorneys, it is a bad idea to attempt to abuse the First Amendment to tell non-government actors to shut up.

    If you don’t know why, I recommend reading the actual text you’re talking about, maybe visiting Wikipedia, or perhaps taking a class (I don’t know if Miami offers “Partisan Trolling 101″, but it might be something to look in to.)

    I am not, in fact, an attorney.

  47. specialk says:

    why not let FRONTLINE do this? and do it the right way?

    Josh Marshall has the good on the director of this flawed flick

  48. George says:

    Poor liberals.

    Do you really think that trying to mau-mau ABC into pulling the show is going to save Clinton’s so-called “legacy” OR help you win in November?

    Do you really think that acting like neo-Brownshirts reprising a modern-day electronic equivalent of a book-burning is going help you take back Congress? All you have done is convince America that your attempt to kill the showing of this movie MEANS YOUR PARTY HAS SOMETHING TO HIDE.

    And you do.

    Dramatization aside, it is a FACT the Bill Clinton let bin Laden get away on more than one occasion. No amount of braying like the foolish donkeys you are changes this fact. There’s even video of it available from MSNBC. You can see it by linking first to http://hotair.com/archives/2006/09/08/video-flashback-us-drone-had-osama-onscreen-in-2000/

    It is a FACT that your precious Clinton allowed bin Laden to blow up two embassies and nearly sink a US warship WITHOUT ANY CREDIBLE RESPONSE.

    It is a FACT that Clinton cut and run in Mogadishu — and that in doing so, he gave bin Laden the idea the America is a paper tiger. In fact, those are exactly the words he used in his interview with ABC in 1998.

    Oh. One more: It is a FACT that Sandy Berger pled guilty to stealing and destroying 9/11 documents from the National Archives by stuffing them down his pants. Even though the movie does not deal with this incident, the spectacle of a CONVICTED thief and a clown like Berger WHINING that he is being “misportrayed” as being stupidly anti-American is precious beyond belief.

    This movie will REMIND America that BIll Clinton, his NSA and Secretary of State were (1) incompetent, (2) careless of the nation’s national defense and security, and (3) LIARS who are trying to salvage their tarnished reputations by using you fools to mau-mau ABC.

    On September 12, 2006, Americans will have been reminded, once again, that the Democratic Party CANNOT BE TRUSTED with the national defense.

  49. KarenMcL says:

    I sent this email to out local ABC Affiliate:

    “I am appalled that ABC and Disney would
    consider showing a Fictional-History of
    the events of the tradgedy of 9/11 in
    such an untruthful and cavalierly biased
    presentation.

    They should pull that programming and
    refuse to participate in a partisan
    smear job and revisionist events leading
    to this National disaster. It’s a
    disservice to your long time viewers and
    the general public to show that tripe as
    *history* (fictional or otherwise).

    Don’t participate in this disgrace.”

    and I got this reprint of their Lame public statement *memo* with out even so much as an ackowledgment of these concerns nor even a header bar to me as the viewer/writer!

    “The Path to 9/11″ is not a documentary of the events leading to 9/11.
    It is a dramatization, drawn from a variety of sources including the
    9/11 Commission Report, other published materials, and personal
    interviews. As such, for dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie
    contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters
    and dialogue, and time compression. No one has seen the final version
    of the film, because the editing process is not yet complete, so
    criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible. The
    attacks of 9/11 were a pivotal moment in our history, and it is fitting
    that the debate about the events related to the attacks continue.
    However, we hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast of the finished
    film before forming an opinion about it.

  50. anon says:

    Hey George,

    Can you remind us all who was President on 9/11? Also, I can’t remember, so can you tell us all what he was doing at the time of the attack?

  51. anon says:

    Hey George,

    Can you remind us all who was President on 9/11? Also, I can’t remember, so can you tell us all what he was doing at the time of the attack?

  52. KarenMcL says:

    I hadn’t gotten to the comment like these yet:

    “interesting that the author of a blog devoted to ‘discourse’ – defined as exchange of thoughts, ideas and information – would seek so hard to stifle a tv show. this hypocrisy is breathtaking. all of the left’s sanctimonious platitudes about free speech, and first amendment, and the evils of mcarthyism are revealed to be just that: hypocritical platitudes.

    any besides me notice that the left’s response to tv shows/movies/speech they don’t like or approve of is exactly like that of the radical islamic swine? “the infidel must be silenced! the demonic verses of the infidel must not be allowed to be broadcast!”

    etc etc ” from ED

    and

    “Poor liberals.

    Do you really think that trying to mau-mau ABC into pulling the show is going to save Clinton’s so-called “legacy” OR help you win in November?

    Do you really think that acting like neo-Brownshirts reprising a modern-day electronic equivalent of a book-burning is going help you take back Congress? All you have done is convince America that your attempt to kill the showing of this movie MEANS YOUR PARTY HAS SOMETHING TO HIDE. “ from George

    Just show how far sychophantic Bush supporters are willing to accept fiction, lies and obfuscation to defend this bAmin and demonize Clinton with non-facts. That the *truth* of the matter is not important (FREE SPEECH does not condone Libel nor Fictions published in such a format) to these people is obvious. And as to folks whining about “infidels stifling” docu-dramas of past political figures – Just keep repeating Ronnie & Nancy – a truly Conservative WHINE FEST and campaign about stopping anything that might tarnish a conservative icon. HA!

  53. mook says:

    Even if WPLG’s licenese was re-newed in 2005, it will come up for renewal in 2015. Generate your letters now because the station is REQUIRED to post them in what is called the “Public File” that file by law is required to be available for public inspection during regular business hours.
    I know for a fact that broadcast stations cringe when negative comments are posted in that file.
    Broadcasters take threats to their license very seriously.

  54. george says:

    KarenMCL writes:
    “That the *truth* of the matter is not important (FREE SPEECH does not condone Libel nor Fictions published in such a format) to these people is obvious.”

    Attempting to shut people up before speaking is called “prior pestraint.” Attempting to shut people up using threats is called “RACKETEERING” and “EXTORTION.”

    Now, if Messers. Clinton, Berger, Clarke, and Ms. Albright feel they have been defamed by ABC via the movie, they certainly have the right to sue. After the movie has been shown, of course.

    That’s how it is supposed to happen. That is how free speech works. That is what the courts are for.

    Maybe Clinton, Berger, Clarke, and Albright, the ninnies at moveon, DU, KOS, and the DNC might want to raise the funds and BUY the movie outright from ABC for the $40Mill that Disney spent making it. That way the neo-Brownshirters can have their little “book burning” party using a REAL VIDEO to toss into the fire.

    Sounds like a “win-win” to me.

  55. Robohobo says:

    It just kills me to hear the Dhimmicrats whine and complain about a made-for-TV-movie, ‘docu-drama’ or not. It is television for heavens sake. If you cannot distinguish between real life and TV then I suggest you quit watching TV and live a real life.

    Facts:

    1. A majority of the Congresscritters voted to support GW Bush, POTUS, in his pursuit of the war in Iraq.
    2. Klintoon & Co. did nothing when presented with the option of capturing OBL. Nothing. At the very least, they could now look back with 20-20 hindsight and say so.
    3. >98% of the terrorist actions of the last 30 years have been perpetrated by Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 45.
    4. OBL and al Queda have said out loud they were responsible for 9/11. ‘Nuf said. Guilty on all charges.
    5. Islam wants to have global dominance. Read the Koran, it says so.
    6. Islam is a 7th century death cult. Mohammed and his tribe worshipped Baal before they discovered the divinity of Mo. Monotheists nevertheless still worshipped a death god.
    7. Sharia will put your women in head to foot robes, make you grow beards, pray 5 times a day and put to death those who chose not to convert. Artists, musicians, professors (intellectuals), lawyers and politicains will be the first to fall to the sword.

    Good Luck

  56. Robohobo says:

    It just kills me to hear the Dhimmicrats whine and complain about a made-for-TV-movie, ‘docu-drama’ or not. It is television for heavens sake. If you cannot distinguish between real life and TV then I suggest you quit watching TV and live a real life.

    Facts:

    1. A majority of the Congresscritters voted to support GW Bush, POTUS, in his pursuit of the war in Iraq.
    2. Klintoon & Co. did nothing when presented with the option of capturing OBL. Nothing. At the very least, they could now look back with 20-20 hindsight and say so.
    3. >98% of the terrorist actions of the last 30 years have been perpetrated by Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 45.
    4. OBL and al Queda have said out loud they were responsible for 9/11. ‘Nuf said. Guilty on all charges.
    5. Islam wants to have global dominance. Read the Koran, it says so.
    6. Islam is a 7th century death cult. Mohammed and his tribe worshipped Baal before they discovered the divinity of Mo. Monotheists nevertheless still worshipped a death god.
    7. Sharia will put your women in head to foot robes, make you grow beards, pray 5 times a day and put to death those who chose not to convert. Artists, musicians, professors (intellectuals), lawyers and politicains will be the first to fall to the sword.

    Good Luck

  57. Jonathan Berhow says:

    Robohobo,

    I suggest the problem is that a whole lot of folks “cannot distinguish between real life and TV.” Such is the power of images. Isn’t this one of the major complaints of actors, that fans mistake them for the characters they play in the moving pictures? Hence the concern over the impact on public opinion this film might have – the attempted quashing of which I think is wrongheaded, by the way. (Sorry, I guess I should have put my last comment here instead of under “The Walt Disney Company Standards…” above.)

    P.S. Do you have a source for Fact #3 or a quote for #5? And #6 . . . I was a Christian when I was a kid, and we all used to eat the body of our dead god on a fairly regular basis. I don’t know, sounds a little death-y to me now. In fact, I don’t think it would be much of a religion at all without the death (and worshipping of that death) of a particular Middle Easterner. Well, I’m sure that if he comes back anytime soon he’ll escape the dragnet of any terrorist profiler.

  58. KarenMcL says:

    “Attempting to shut people up before speaking is called “prior pestraint.” Attempting to shut people up using threats is called “RACKETEERING” and “EXTORTION.”

    Now, if Messers. Clinton, Berger, Clarke, and Ms. Albright feel they have been defamed by ABC via the movie, they certainly have the right to sue. After the movie has been shown, of course. “

    Hmmm “prior pestraint” is a NEW category to me. *snark* But as The Queen of Typos myself, I’ll take you meant “Prior Restraint” — And this is not about shutting people UP, but pointing out their attempts to use Fabrications, Distortions and put words in people’s Mouths that never happened – and suggesting the disingenuous manner and reasons for doing SO.

    Also, of NOTE, is my use of the word *PUBLISH*- that MEANs of course they must SHOW (Publish) the disortions, lies and fabrications…after which I’d fully expect the lawsuits to begin. But now that they have been given FULL NOTICE of the defects in their accuracy and lies…it would be much easier to prove these distortions and lies as complete “reckless disregard for the truth.”

    And Michael point this out — “It uses actors portraying real people with their actual names involved in activities that are a blend of real things they did and of the partisan imagination…It’s even harder to make out a case of libel when the victim is a public figure. Basically, to win you have to show that the author of the libelous work demonstrated a “reckless disregard for the truth.”

  59. george says:

    KarenMcL writes:

    “…this is not about shutting people UP, but pointing out their attempts to use Fabrications, Distortions and put words in people’s Mouths that never happened…”

    Of COURSE it is about trying to make people shut up. This is all about PREVENTING the broadcast from occurring, NOT about “correcting” any inaccuracies. Stop lying. YOU, the DNC, DU, KOS, the Clintons and their sycophants want this broadcast KILLED, not ‘corrected.’

    The reasons for this behavior on the left and the Democrat’s part are transparent. This is close to an election, and you are deathly afraid that the movie will turn the voters against you.

    Given that neither you nor I have seen the movie, and our knowledge of what is contained on it is imperfect, neither YOU nor I have any idea what particular parts of the movie are true, inaccurate, or fabricated, nor do we know how those inaccuracies are portrayed, beyond what we read in the “news.”

    What is explicitly true is that the Clinton Administration did NOT WANT to capture or kill bin Laden, even after he blew up 2 US embassies and nearly sunk the USS Cole. And this is not “partisan” or “conservative” *opinion*, it is an OBSERVATION reflected in the 9/11 Commission report. The Clinton administration had more than one opportunity to get bin Laden and they let them slide.

    Until the movie is shown, the question of who (if anybody) is being scapedgoated is open. But who said what to whom and when, while important to the understanding of the event, really does not change what is important.

    And that is:

    1. The insistance in treating the activities of bin Laden as “crimes” instead of acts of war was the theme of the Clinton administration concerning him. This is a critical fault and the fault lies with the guy in charge, William J. Clinton. The failure to hunt bin Laden down on his watch is the failure of him and only him, because it was his reponsibility, and failure means that he takes the blame; that’s what being President means.

    2. The faults of the Bush administration are reported in the movie, according to reviewers who have written about it. Good. These also need to be aired. Because the failure to “do something” about bin Laden is shared between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. HOWEVER, Clinton had 8 years to do something about it, prior to the attack on 9/11/01. Bush had only 9 months. Clinton had multiple opportunities to apprehend him, and didn’t, even after repeated strikes upon the United States.

    By 1995, the Clinton administration knew of the danger bin Laden posed. By 1998, after the embassies were blown up, instead of a full court press using the vast resources of the United States government, including its military, to destroy Al Qaeda and its leadership, CLINTON only “indicted” him, and fired a few cruise missiles (that missed) and blew up Sudan’s only aspirin factory.

    The culpable negligence of BILL CLINTON, himself, as President of the United States needs to be discussed. Not for retribution but for history. And rather than have this dialog, you Democrats chose to instead SUPPRESS it, every chance you get. You are afraid to touch it and I can see why — once America knows the truth of how liberals govern with respect to the national security, they’ll never elect you to any office ever again.

    However, it appears that this movie is NOT WHERE THAT DISCUSSION takes place. Hence your diatribes are possibly premature.

    The few reviews I’ve read about the movie share the same point of view: The movie is NOT really about Clinton and Bush, but is about the enemy which attacked us.

    For example, Bryan Rourke review for the Providence Journal wrote:

    “…You see and hear the history of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, which isn’t always flattering for us. Sure we had some successes, such as uncovering a 1999 bombing plot that led to the arrests of dozens of people around the country. But mostly it’s a legacy of bureaucratic and logistical failure.

    A few months before the ’93 bombing of the World Trade Center, the FBI fired its sole informant tracking the terrorists because it didn’t want to pay him $500 a week. Besides, the American government and its people had other things on their minds.

    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” President Clinton says between terrorist bombings.

    As in ’93, U.S. government officials were forewarned about the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Even after that, our vigilance wasn’t much improved, according to the 9/11 Commission. In 2000, off the coast of Yemen, a small boat was allowed, without authorization, to approach the Navy ship USS Cole, which was then bombed.

    In 2001, the FBI was aware a group of men from the Middle East with terrorist ties had entered the United States and signed up to take flying lessons. It also knew that one of those terrorists, Zacarias Moussaoui, told his instructor that he was only interested in learning how to steer a plane, not to take off or land one….” From: http://www.projo.com/tv/content/tv_path911_09-10-06_4O1PU0N.353a83f.html

    Well known conservative lawyer, author, and talk show host Hugh Hewitt — who has seen the movie — had this to say in his blog:

    “The central character of the program is Ramzi Yousef. Right behind him is Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Both are in prison. Both will never again be free. But they are representative of the enemy, and the enemy is numerous and every bit as dedicated to their malicious schemes as these two were. That’s the point of this program and why ABC must air it, and why other similar projects must be made and aired. It isn’t about domestic politics at all. It is about the war. “The Path to 9/11″ tries –and I think succeeds– in attempting to convey who the enemy is and why the war is a deadly serious business.”

    When a *partisan* conservative like Hewitt, in an election year, who is also the author of a book titled “Painting the Map Red: The Fight to Create a Permanent Republican Majority,” says that the movie “…isn’t about domestic politics at all. It is about the war,” instead of crowing about it being a successful partisan attack on Clinton, maybe you and your fellow liberal Democrats ought to chill out and wait for what is actually broadcast instead of ranting and raving about “lies.”

    But you probably won’t.

    And, anyway, America needs to see your mindless, rejectionist behavior. They need to see that your side is afraid of history. This is an election year, after all.

  60. kent says:

    “…Anyway, running a one-sided drama on a critical national issue shortly before a key election can be harmful in itself.”

    I find this to be so funny as to make me ill. My guess is that you didn’t voice the same level of concern about Fahrenheit 9/11 being viewed so shortly before a key election.

  61. Jonathan Berhow says:

    If I didn’t know any better, from reading several comments here and elsewhere, I’d swear President Bush did not take office until 9/12.

    George writes:

    -“What is explicitly true is that the Clinton Administration did NOT WANT to capture or kill bin Laden”

    Neither does the Bush administration in any meaningful way as far as I can tell (e.g. “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.” – G.W. Bush, 3/13/02). Clinton had 8 years and failed? Well Bush has had 6 and still no Osama Bin. Either the US is incompetent in this effort, or perhaps it is in no one’s interest to have him apprehended. Good god, man, we’d have to find a new enemy! They just don’t grow on trees, you know – well, maybe now they do. Have we learned nothing from the collapse of the “Evil Empire”? We need an enemy or else our economy is in the toilet. The annual budget for the MIC is billions and billions (channeling Sagan). Do you have any idea what would happen if this went away? We’d be back to the post-WWI cunnundrum.

    -“The few reviews I’ve read about the movie share the same point of view: The movie is NOT really about Clinton and Bush, but is about the enemy which attacked us.”

    First, in regard to “the enemy which attacked us,” whose agenda does this serve? Second, I just saw the film and it is most assuredly about Clinton and Bush. The former because, after the terrorists, he is the main villain of the film, and the latter because it echoes every point his administration wants the American people to believe about 9/11 and the GWoT.

    -Rourke: “You see and hear the history of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists”

    The word history, here, is being employed either very loosely or is meant to reflect the kind of “history” that is found in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” “Afraid of history” indeed.

    -Hewitt wasn’t crowing? He didn’t need to. Telling people the film “isn’t about domestic politics at all” is far more effective – and complete bunk. By saying, “It is about the war,” he also reinforces the notion that the GWoT was the only possible response to 9/11, a very dangerous and self-destructive idea to be pushing on the American public (and a lot of other folks as well).

    George, since we are both, generally, in the same ballpark regarding some of the reaction to this film, but for different reasons (exposing rather than opposing the film would be a better tack), would you care to respond to any of the questions or comments I made in “The Walt Disney Company Standards” thread, particularly regarding the importance of decisions before 9/11 versus those afterward? I see a bogus dichotomy with the framing of every issue as an R v. D/Liberal v. Conservative contest. Counterproductive. Can we find no way to move past this nonsense?

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