A lot of controversy surrounding the ABC made for TV movie “The Path to 9/11”.
Any thoughts or comments. Will ABC give into the pressure.
Democrats urge ABC to withdraw 9/11 movie
Sep 7, 8:35 PM (ET)
A production still from ABC’s upcoming film “The Path to 9/11” shows actor Stephen Root portraying…
By Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amid an election-year debate over who can best defend America, U.S. congressional Democrats urged ABC on Thursday to cancel a TV miniseries about the September 11 attacks that is critical of former Democratic President Bill Clinton and his top aides.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada denounced the five-hour television movie, set to air in two parts on Sunday and Monday nights, as “a work of fiction.”
Reid and other leading Senate Democrats wrote to Robert Iger, president and CEO of ABC’s corporate parent, the Walt Disney Co., urging him to “cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program.”
Chronicling events leading to the September 11 attacks, the movie suggests the Clinton administration was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to deal properly with the gathering threat posed by Islamic militants.
The furor comes as Democrats and Republicans jockey for political position in advance of the November 7 congressional elections over who can best secure the United States from another attack.
Democrats have chided Republicans for failing to implement security recommendations by the 9/11 commission, and Republicans have portrayed Democrats as soft on terrorism.
In recent days, former members of the Clinton administration also lodged complaints with Iger, urging ABC and Disney to fix or eliminate what they called errors and fabrications.
ABC issued a statement saying the production, “The Path to 9/11,” was still being edited and that criticism of the film’s specifics were thus “premature and irresponsible.”
Executive Producer Marc Platt acknowledged that “there is dramatic license taken” in the docudrama to “render the program effective and accessible for viewers.”
“But we do try within the boundaries of what is fair and reasonable to communicate the essence of what occurred (and) the intentions of those individuals involved,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview from London. “We have no intention or desire to be political, to intentionally distort.”
Platt also said one scene singled out for criticism by Democrats – depicting CIA operatives and Afghan fighters coming close to capturing Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, only for then-national security advisor Samuel Berger to refuse authorization of the mission – was a “conflation of events.”
Berger said in a letter to Iger earlier this week that “no such episode ever occurred, nor did anything like it.”
The September 11 attacks occurred about eight months after Clinton turned over the presidency in January 2001 to Republican George W. Bush.
For several years, Democrats have complained the Bush administration failed to capture or kill bin Laden when he reportedly was cornered in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora region in late 2001. They also argue the war in Iraq later took away resources for tracking down bin Laden.
ABC said its movie was not a documentary but a dramatization drawn from the official 9/11 commission report, personal interviews and other materials.
“As such, for dramatic and narrative purposes, the film contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue and time compression,” ABC said.
Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican who chaired the 9/11 commission and served as a consultant for the ABC miniseries, defended the production as politically balanced.
“People in both parties didn’t particularly like the commission report, and I think people in both parties aren’t going to love this one,” he said.
The cast of the film includes Harvey Keitel as an FBI agent and expert on Islamic militants, Donnie Wahlberg as a covert CIA operative, Amy Madigan as a high-ranking CIA analyst, Patricia Heaton as a U.S. diplomat and Stephen Root as White House counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke.
“The Path to 9/11” is not the first historical TV drama to draw a partisan outcry. CBS canceled a miniseries about Ronald and Nancy Reagan after Republicans complained that it unfairly and inaccurately portrayed the former president. “The Reagans” ended up airing on sibling cable channel Showtime.
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman and Ellen Wulfhorst)