T Nation

Path to 9/11

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…
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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.”

‘DRAMATIC LICENSE’

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)

Reuters/VNU

Are any of the outraged Dems claiming this movie is less accurate thant Fahrenheit 9/11. Where was Michael Moore seated during the 2004 DNC again?

Aside from that, I don’t know anything about this movie as of yet, other than it makes Richard Clarke out to be the hero, which probably means he was a major source – I just think the outrage is a bit hypocritical…

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Aside from that, I don’t know anything about this movie as of yet, other than it makes Richard Clarke out to be the hero, which probably means he was a major source – I just think the outrage is a bit hypocritical…[/quote]

A bit hypocritical? Come on! The DNC and the democrat senators are threatening LEGAL and LEGISLATIVE action to censor this!

Can you imagine how many flags would have been burned in outrage had this been suggested in the case of michael moore’s tripe?

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Aside from that, I don’t know anything about this movie as of yet, other than it makes Richard Clarke out to be the hero, which probably means he was a major source – I just think the outrage is a bit hypocritical…[/quote]

A bit hypocritical? Come on! The DNC and the democrat senators are threatening LEGAL and LEGISLATIVE action to censor this!

Can you imagine how many flags would have been burned in outrage had this been suggested in the case of michael moore’s tripe?

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Are any of the outraged Dems claiming this movie is less accurate thant Fahrenheit 9/11. Where was Michael Moore seated during the 2004 DNC again?

Aside from that, I don’t know anything about this movie as of yet, other than it makes Richard Clarke out to be the hero, which probably means he was a major source – I just think the outrage is a bit hypocritical…[/quote]

I’ve been reading about this and I think that I can clear a few things up about the outrage.

ABC made the claim that the docudrama is based on the 9/11 Commission’s report and has been using that as part of their advertising. The 9/11 Commissioners and other experts in the area disagree with this claim and have said that this was a work of fiction and that many of the facts were made up.

Additionaly, Scholastic was/is affiliated with this program and was working to include it into schools as a learning tool about 9/11. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of a docudrama being introduced to schools as a learning tool, regardless of who did it. Docudramas are nortorious for being much more drama (biased) than documentary (normally non-biased).

Your comparison to Micheal Moore’s movie is flawed for a few reasons.

(1) His movie, unlike this docudrama, was not shown for free on network television. People paid to see it, and there was an understanding that it was a biased film . This docudrama is to be shown commercial-free on network TV and is claiming to be factual and based on the 9/11 Commission’s report. By doing this, there is an understanding that is was to be unbiased.

(2) Moore’s movie was not to be introduced to the school system as a learning tool. Sure, it was propaganda, but it was not being forced on school kids unlike the plans for this docudrama.

I think that this outrage has some justifications based on these points.

The DNC screaming to censor this movie should be sending red flags up all over the place. Why dont they officially merge with the American Communist Party and get it over with?

I dont think any of us are exactly sure what this movie shows, but lets be honest about a few things.

First, nobody took the Islamic terrorist threat serious until 9-11. Not Carter, not Reagan, not Bush I, not Clinton and not Bush II. That is just the fact of the matter. Im really not in love with any politicians at this point, but let’s deal with Clinton’s administration since that is the one really being examined here(at least from what I have read).

Albright is perhaps the biggest disgrace to American foreign policy in our history. 90% of the people I talk to on the street have a clearer vision of how America should defend its interests than she does. Ditto for Janet Reno. I dont need to rehash all of the particular incidents here, but from start to finish, their policy and subsequent decisions were a disaster.

As far as Sandy Burger, he should be in a federal prison, looking at parole around 2015 or so. Not even worth mentioning again.

With this cast of characters, is it any wonder Clinton made so many absurd decisions in terms of American security?

For once, I would like to hear a politician say that in retrospect, he screwed up. I would immediately have so much more respect for Clinton if he did that. To be fair, the other presidents should have done the same, but the two party system just does not allow for anyone to take blame.

When did Farenheit 9/11 play on network TV?

There at too many credible people and even conservative Richard Miniter who authored “Losing bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror” - confirmed that scenes in ABC’s Path to 9/11 are based on “Internet myth.”

Full transcript below:

BLITZER: Let me ask you about Sandy Berger specifically. Was he defamed by this scene as depicted ? none of us, at least I haven't seen it, you haven't seen it.

MINITER: I've seen the scene. You've seen this scene too. This scene is based on an Internet myth. I did extensive reporting into the Clinton years, and as you say, I'm not afraid to take a few shots.

BLITZER: Hold on one second. We're not hearing you. Start again. Was Sandy Berger defamed in this scene?

MINITER: That's a legal question. But certainly if I was the producer I wouldn't have gone with this scene because [b]there's no factual basis for it. It seems to be drawn from an [u]Internet myth[/u][/b]. From a profound misunderstanding of what actually happened. If people wanted to be critical of the Clinton years there's things they could have said, but the idea that someone had bin Laden in his sights in 1998 or any other time and Sandy Berger refused to pull the trigger, there's zero factual basis for that.

BLITZER: You've heard other 9/11 commission members saying it wasn't Sandy Berger who pulled the trigger, it was George Tenet the CIA director. Based on what you know, is that accurate?

MINITER: Even that's not accurate. We just never had eyes on bin Laden in the pre-9/11 situation. The 9/11 commission investigated this. The House and Senate joint committee investigated this and published a 1,000-page report. I looked into it extensively. Most of the sources for my book are Clinton administration officials. There's just no basis for this at all, none. 

*At least the movie they did about Reagan was not shown on network television. The movie reminded me why I wish Reagan was in charge today instead of Bush.

Clinton was a real POS but his administration actually spent time on Al Queda while Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Ashcroft spent no time what so ever.

Nothing but facts.

At the end of the day our government can not keep us safe from terrorism no matter who is in charge.

[quote]ALDurr wrote:

I’ve been reading about this and I think that I can clear a few things up about the outrage.

ABC made the claim that the docudrama is based on the 9/11 Commission’s report and has been using that as part of their advertising. The 9/11 Commissioners and other experts in the area disagree with this claim and have said that this was a work of fiction and that many of the facts were made up.

Additionaly, Scholastic was/is affiliated with this program and was working to include it into schools as a learning tool about 9/11. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of a docudrama being introduced to schools as a learning tool, regardless of who did it. Docudramas are nortorious for being much more drama (biased) than documentary (normally non-biased). [/quote]

I understand the school point – that makes some sense, and I agree with you that films generally aren’t the best educational source (documentaries, docudramas or otherwise).

[quote]ALDurr wrote:
Your comparison to Micheal Moore’s movie is flawed for a few reasons.

(1) His movie, unlike this docudrama, was not shown for free on network television. People paid to see it, and there was an understanding that it was a biased film . This docudrama is to be shown commercial-free on network TV and is claiming to be factual and based on the 9/11 Commission’s report. By doing this, there is an understanding that is was to be unbiased.

(2) Moore’s movie was not to be introduced to the school system as a learning tool. Sure, it was propaganda, but it was not being forced on school kids unlike the plans for this docudrama.

I think that this outrage has some justifications based on these points.[/quote]

F911 wasn’t marketed that way. It was marketed as a fact-based documentary that was showing the truth to the people. It was oscar-nominated as a documentary. In fact, my entire problem with that movie was that it was marketed as a true documentary. And I don’t know if it makes a difference that this is to air on network TV versus the numerous cable airings for F911.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
F911 wasn’t marketed that way. It was marketed as a fact-based documentary that was showing the truth to the people. It was oscar-nominated as a documentary. In fact, my entire problem with that movie was that it was marketed as a true documentary. And I don’t know if it makes a difference that this is to air on network TV versus the numerous cable airings for F911.[/quote]

When did F911 show on network TV? I don’t watch network TV much so this is a real question.

Michael Moore is a looniest of the left wingnuts without a shadow of a doubt and the only Americans that disagree are moonbats.

This movie is much different and it attempts to pin 9/11 on Clinton. I don’t like Clinton as I think he is a POS white trash scumbag.

This movie should be pitched as fiction because there are too many scenes in it that conservatives like Richard Miniter have a problem with.

Do we know exactly what Sandi Burger managed to steal before being caught?

Maybe they should show the movie and let people make up their own minds…just a thought.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
F911 wasn’t marketed that way. It was marketed as a fact-based documentary that was showing the truth to the people. It was oscar-nominated as a documentary. In fact, my entire problem with that movie was that it was marketed as a true documentary. And I don’t know if it makes a difference that this is to air on network TV versus the numerous cable airings for F911.
[/quote]

I have to be honest and say that I don’t remember exactly how F911 was marketed (fact-based documentary vs. biased documentary), so I will take your word for it. I never actually watched the movie because I can’t stand Michael Moore and I expect him to be biased in his movies. He made that quite clear.

However, the big difference between the network airing of this docudrama vs. the numerous airings of F911 on cable is that people choose to pay for cable TV. Network TV, for the moment, is still free. In addition, if I remember correctly, F911 was only shown on the premium cable stations (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax etc.) and not basic cable. This means that consumers had to pay additional fees for them. This does limit the exposure to the population.

At the end of the day, however, this docudrama will do nothing. People believe what they want to believe and this won’t affect most of the people viewing it.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Maybe they should show the movie and let people make up their own minds…just a thought.[/quote]

I agree. Also, let’s show the miniseries about Ronald and Nancy Reagan as well. Come on Network TV, stop treating the public like children and let us make up our own minds.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Maybe they should show the movie and let people make up their own minds…just a thought.[/quote]

Sure, as long as they play it on HBO, Showtime, or Cinemax not network TV.

Neither F911 nor the Reagan movie aired on network television.

Why should this movie with inaccuracies (just like Reagan’s movie had inaccuracies) air on network TV?

[quote]ALDurr wrote:
hedo wrote:
Maybe they should show the movie and let people make up their own minds…just a thought.

I agree. Also, let’s show the miniseries about Ronald and Nancy Reagan as well. Come on Network TV, stop treating the public like children and let us make up our own minds.
[/quote]

Yep. I also have to think that if these guys simply dismissed this movie instead of making it an issue it would not have drawn as much publicity and be forgotten much quicker.

[quote]Marmadogg wrote:
Clinton was a real POS but his administration actually spent time on Al Queda while Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Ashcroft spent no time what so ever.

Nothing but facts.

At the end of the day our government can not keep us safe from terrorism no matter who is in charge.[/quote]

What did Clinton do about any Islamic terrorists(other than launching those two tomahawks into the middle of nowhere)? And when you say Bush spent no time whatsoever, I assume you mean pre 9-11?

And why do you say the government cannot keep its people safe from terrorism? I dont believe this is true at all, as long as our policy in relation to the terrorist threat is sound.

[quote]JD430 wrote:
Marmadogg wrote:
Clinton was a real POS but his administration actually spent time on Al Queda while Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Ashcroft spent no time what so ever.

Nothing but facts.

At the end of the day our government can not keep us safe from terrorism no matter who is in charge.

What did Clinton do about any Islamic terrorists(other than launching those two tomahawks into the middle of nowhere)? And when you say Bush spent no time whatsoever, I assume you mean pre 9-11?

And why do you say the government cannot keep its people safe from terrorism? I dont believe this is true at all, as long as our policy in relation to the terrorist threat is sound.
[/quote]

If Richard Clark is a liar then you are correct.

[quote]ALDurr wrote:
In addition, if I remember correctly, F911 was only shown on the premium cable stations (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax etc.) and not basic cable. This means that consumers had to pay additional fees for them. This does limit the exposure to the population.

[/quote]

It’s constantly on my basic cable (Direct TV) on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). That channel comes with the minimum package I can buy to get ESPN.

[quote]Marmadogg wrote:

If Richard Clark is a liar then you are correct.[/quote]

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/006246.php

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/006778.php

http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/usa/richard-clarke/

http://theartoftheblog.blogspot.com/2004/04/clarke-lied-and-lying-liar-who-lied.html