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Thursday, September 7, 2006

KOMO to air The Path to 9/11

Posted by on September 7 at 12:15 PM

I just spoke to a representative of our local ABC affiliate, KOMO, and she told me that the Seattle station will be airing the documentary docu-drama work of fiction that is The Path to 9/11, despite the fact that it has been denounced by terrorism experts, by former Clinton administration officials, by liberal bloggers, and, most recently, by former president Bill Clinton himself, who today, through a spokesman, said:

It is despicable that ABC/Disney would insist on airing a fictional version of what is a serious and emotional event for our country.

Here’s Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, calling today for ABC to pull the two-part film, which airs on KOMO Sunday and Monday evenings. (According to reports, the film was created by a conservative activist and it soft-pedals the Bush administration’s responsibility for 9/11 while blaming Clinton for not killing Osama bin Laden.)

I’m told by a programming director at KOMO that they’ve been receiving quite a few angry calls and emails (and some thank-you notes) about the station’s plan to air The Path to 9/11. But as of now, the station has no plans to pull it.

Looking to contact KOMO? Look no further.

(TPM has a round-up of responses from other ABC affiliates around the nation.)

The film is also going to be distributed, via Scholastic, to public school classrooms across the country. I have a call in to the Seattle School District to see if they’re part of this distribution program, but haven’t heard back yet. Will update when I hear from them.

UPDATE: The Seattle School district tells me they haven’t heard anything about The Path to 9/11 or the educational materials from Scholastic.

Meanwhile, Scholastic is now withdrawing its first batch of educational materials because they “did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues.” The company is currently creating new materials that will lead students to ask, among other things: What are the differences between factual reporting and a dramatization?

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Jesus guys, give it a rest. I thought liberals like us stood for freedom of speech? Let them run it, and actually watch it first. THEN start criticizing, with actual samples of factual error. If it's as wildly off-base as the Clinton camp thinks, what are we afraid of? We're good debaters over here on the left, and should have confidence in our ability to logically tear it to shreds. Politicking to keep it off the air just makes you look like you have something to hide.

If ABC refuses to air it, the windbags on the right suddenly look vindicated. Why give them that pleasure? Show the movie, then use it to prove once and for all what's wrong with the "Clinton's Responsible" falsity.

Right, because they were so generous with the Reagan movie at CBS. Playing by the rules while your opponent grinds cigarettes into your throat isn't really good strategy. Also, free speech doesn't apply to libel, just so you know.

But to anyone really upset, please bear in mind that absolutely no one will watch this horseshit anyway. It's on opposite Week 2 of the NFL season. Sunday night: first chance to see the trainwreck that is T.O. in primetime against Cowboys' archrival Redskins. Monday night: Superbowl champ Steelers take on Jacksonville. Forget about it.

I think it airs this weekend, Week 1 in the NFL. Manning v. Manning on Sunday night. Vikings/Skins and Chargers/Raiders on Monday.

God, I love football. Fuck ABC.

As soon as there's a movie about a historical event, that version becomes the truth. I'd have no problem with them airing the movie if there's a disclaimer noting that the truth of the story is in dispute. Even better, let Clinton do a rebuttal at the end. That'd get some ratings.

They're got a letter a reader at received from his/her ABC affiliate regarding a disclaimer running during the broadcast:

I received a similar one from mine in Chicago.

I reiterate though, that airing this during football coverage is about the best possible time since it's rating suicide.

Has anybody been reading the graphic adaptation of the 9/11 report at Slate?

"(D)enounced by terrorism experts, by former Clinton administration officials, by liberal bloggers, and, most recently, by former president Bill Clinton himself ..." In other words, the whole gang of bullies & goons.

The First Amendment? Free speech? Let me break them down for you: Free speech means that liberals are free to speak. No others need apply.

Shut up, they explained.

Are they declaring this as a GOP campaign contribution?

Dear: - -

1) Grow a pair and use a name.
2) Conservatives have been working the refs for decades.
3) Libel is not protected speech.

dear blank,

CBS will be airing a news report based on another version of the event of 9/11, entitled "What's the 911?", wherein young president georgie 'gee-dub' bush (portrayed by andy dick) is seen performing a hand-job on his cousin osama (jeff goldblum)for the priviledge of flying his own jet into the world trade center. moments before impact, W ejects (chickenshit), parachuting to the top of the rubble while clutching a bullhorn, screaming "mission accomplished."

this will be promoted as 'based on facts' (there were planes, the world trade center did collapse, mission accomplished)and distibuted to schools. free speech. just air it, teach it in schools, and let the people decide.

but whatever you do, don't let them air anything like a biopic on reagan or farenheit 9/11 on broadcast television. that would be biased and out-of-bounds of decency.

update: scholastic changes plans

it's a start.

I'm always tickled by how quick conservatives are to attempt to take the moral high ground whenever something that is in their interest, and can remotely be tied to "free speech" is bought up.

Their whole guileless "I thought liberals were supposed to be about free speech!" bit is typical of their modus operandi: Be as ruthless, dishonest and cynical as you possibly can be, but feign injury and innocence when caught.

What a bunch of losers.

Not to mention the trademark conservative paranoia, represented in this thread by the likes of Steven Thornton.

Tell me Steve - if I may call you that - how can a group of people who are so naive be so paranoid? Is it because you are used to being taken advantage of by others? If so, maybe you should try to learn from that experience. For starters, stop believing in the liberal bogeyman. That's so Nixon-era.

I don't understand. Can't Dems and Republicans just both admit they were taken by surprise by 9/11? Isn't that the truth? Why do we have this blame game from both sides continually pounding each other?

You may NOT call it "Steve", because that's not its name. It's My name. Yes, Fnarf's real name is Steve Thornton, and our little asshole here, formerly known as "Paul In Seattle", has taken exception to some of the things I've written here, and has not only taken to insulting my wife, whom he has never met, but is now using my given name in his Slog posts.

You are a despicable piece of shit, Paul. I know it, you know it, and everyone here knows it.

Was busily growing a pair until the estrogen pooped out. As for your preemptive strike of shouting 'libel' at something you haven't seen, get a clue from your rational & intelligent soulmates on this Slog: Let the program play, then take it to court if you can prove material misrepresentations of fact ... aka lies.

Meanwhile, let me put this libel (& my actual factual name) in print: What the Clinton/Flynt goons are doing against ABC looks like what Clinton was doing to Betty Currie. The goons are trying to stifle truth & to suborn perjury.

(signed) Douche Baggins

You're Dethhhhh-pickable!

Dear Steve & Paul (may i call you Steve & Paul?): Please take it outside. Y'all are starting to creep me out. (It's awfully spiffing sporting of The Stranger to give us this venue for beating each other up, but will be interesting to see if free speech here extends to beating up each other's wives.)

Back to Reagan: Yup, it was spooky when a Reagan-hating fantasy was shifted uncut and uncensored to Showtime, but 9/11 deserves better treatment. Give speech a chance.

(Reagan's religion centered on the belief that God had given him an opportunity to avert the arms race & mutually assured destruction. A recent book by a P H & D lays it out: Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, by Paul Lettow. Reagan was an abolitionist, boys & girls. Someone in the books says that he was close to the fringe of the nuclear freeze movement.)

Holy shit! What a pissed-off group. OK, so there are several arguments here that depend on flawed assumptions, in my opinion:

1) "Playing by the rules while your opponent grinds cigarettes into your throat isn't really good strategy. Also, free speech doesn't apply to libel, just so you know."

So because the right pisses all over the first amendment when it suits them means we should too, just to get back at them? And it's not libel until they actually air the show, just so YOU know.

2) "As soon as there's a movie about a historical event, that version becomes the truth."

There will be many movies made about this particular historical event. What makes you think this one will become "the truth"? I for one have confidence in my ability, and the ability of the left, to mount a convincing and damning counter-argument (and sue the shit out of ABC for libel if it applies, which we don't know at this point because almost nobody, including you, has actually SEEN IT).

3. "Their whole guileless 'I thought liberals were supposed to be about free speech!' bit is typical of their modus operandi: Be as ruthless, dishonest and cynical as you possibly can be, but feign injury and innocence when caught."

I'm fairly certain this wasn't meant for me, but I feel obligated to make sure everyone understands I wholeheartedly agree with it. Still, see argument number 1: Free speech is free speech, and preventing someone from exercising it shouldn't be what we're about, regardless of how disingenuous the right is about it. The left is about ideas, not the muffling of ideas, no matter how offbase they are.

I will concede that a disclaimer from ABC would be a welcome addition, and it sounds like that's going to happen.

Did you dismiss Michael Moore with the same Vigor?

Michael Moore's work has never been featured on primetime, network television. Despite the fact that he has a radical viewpoint, and that he skews the facts to his ends, he has never expressed glee at the deaths of his opponents (unlike certain conservative pundits who get much more favorable press coverage).

Your medication needs adjusting, Mr. Baggins. You're clipping on the high notes, with your exuberant "P H & D"s and other flourishes. They, and your constant attempts to change inconvenient subjects, cannot disguise your troglodyte motives. You're no William F. Buckley, that's for sure, or even a third rate Rich Lowry, though it is apparent that you hold regular conversations with them, during which they are not present. I hear the cuckoo calling.

Kook hagiography of Reagan serves only to further illustrate that the man was fundamentally uninterested in reality and nearly extincted the human race for a fantasy. What that has to do with the notion that 9/11 is Clinton's fault is beyond me -- oh, wait, I get it: they're both fantasies promulgated by people who are completely unconnected to reality. People like you.

Come on, have another go at my wife, why don't you? It makes you look so...sensible.

The first amendment doesn't apply to anyone except the government. And if free speech is so great, why doesn't it extend to protesting other, offensively dishonest speech? I'm not asking congress to take the program off the air; I'm asking ABC to. That's my right, isn't it? In the marketplace of ideas, I would like them to know that their actions have consequences too. Show the fucking thing. But I'll never look at their network again.

Do you think you could post this on Facebook so I can see exactly who watches that movie and stalk them?

I don't understand Will in Seattle. Why would you want to stalk them for seeing the movie?

There is an actual 9/11 Committee Report. This miniseries purports to follow it. But people involved in preparing the 9/11 report flatly state the show depicts events slanderous of Clinton administration officials - events that DID NOT HAPPEN. The co-producer is a Republican operative.

Oh, but we're supposed to just sit back and let it air - docudrama freedom of speech blah blah blah. B.S.! This is propaganda of the first order and must not go unchallenged.

More hot air from fnarf's asshole (& we all know that there's nothing like the smell of napalm & a big bowl of hairy assholes to give a man a good start on his day): I didn't go at your wife. I'm the one who's trying to break up the fight. You & Paul need to recalibrate *your* meds, & check back with us.

Clinton's fault: I'm with the thoughtful poster (not you, by definition) who posted that fault is fungible. There's enough of it to go around from the admistration that bitched things up for the period 1993 - 2001, to the administration that bitched things up for the period 01/2001 - 09/2001. I just don't want the goons from the first and longer period to rewrite history in their favor.

& absolutely, my friend, you go ahead & howl & whine & whimper to ABC. That is for sure your leftist right. And you're right again about first-amendment speech not extending to ABC's programming. That's what the gay goons said six years ago when they bullied Dr. Laura off the air. Go 4 it, big guy.

Kook biography: No, the book cited is neither. It's the first scholarly treatment of RWR's reversal of strange Robert McNamara's policy of Mutually Assured Destruction. Reagan didn't "extincted" us. He pulled us back from the brink. I brought Reagan into this because somebody else did it first. Just wanted to elevate the discussion.

I don't understand D Huygens. Wouldn't ABC be afraid of a libel suit from Clinton if they knowingly depicted him events that did not take place?

What I can't figure out is why anyone would want to watch or produce a "fictionalization" of 9/11. Especially one with some right wing revisionism stirred in. There are several excellent documentaries. Actual documentaries, as in non-fiction, with real people, real footage of the events.

Want one with some (deserved) Republican hagiography? Try _In Memoriam: New York City_, which is filled with raw footage of the actual events and candid interviews with Rudy and his staff.

If ABC wants to run a commercial-free memorial to that day, let it be done by the news, not the entertainment, division.

Huygens: That's not the way I heard if. The 9/11 Commission, with Jamie Gorelick from the Klinton/Flynt Administration on board, began its inquiry with 1998. That's 5 years after al Qaeda's first overt attack on America (Klinton's watch, 1993); two years after bin Laden's declaration of war against America; and 2 years after Klinton said he lacked controlling legal authority to take bin Laden from Sudan.

Will or somebody noted that the Sudanese extradition issue was complicated by Saudi Arabia. Maybe so. But I notice that nobody noted this: If bin Laden's status was so conplicated in 1996 that Clinton failed to take him, if the majesty of International Law was on the line, why did Clinton think he had the controlling legal authority to assassinate bin Laden in 1998 when Clinton launched the ridiculous assault on the empty tent in Afghanistan?

Extradition was too complicated, but assassination was cool? j Come on, liberals, spin your way out of that one.

Good lord, Bush has been president for 6 years, literally everything he touches (including dropping his pursuit of bin Laden in order to mislead us into Iraq) turns to stone, and all you Republican apologists can do, after all this time, is blame it all on Clinton. Truly it is pathological.

Good again, Golob, but again you're flirting with preemption. Let ABC Entertainment proceed with its examination of the period that preceded the documentary you prefer, then decide if ABC's presentation of context is news, entertainment, libel, or all the above.

And please, if there's a legal distinction between cinematic fiction (Fahrenheit 911, over which no right-winger was given veto power) and televised entertainment (over which Sandy Berger, et al. have asserted veto power), please tell me what the distinction is.

Just read an interview with writer/producer Cyrus Nowrasteh, and I shit you not, he describes Farenheit 9/11 and Syriana as terrorist training videos. Or so he was "told" in Morocco.

My bad, I meant recruiting instead of training.

I think DB _is_ Richard Nixon, back from the crypt.

I'm no leftist, douchebag.

Didn't Disney, which owns ABC, refuse to distribute Fahrenheit 911?

Fnarf had it right. No congressional act is going to be passed banning this tripe. Still, both libel and slander are illegal, and it is also free speech to point it out.

I am seriously confused why ABC would drop a lit match into this tinderbox. There are so many other ways to do a much less contentious fictional interpretation. Hell, I thought Spike Lee's "25th Hour" was a decent one.

The major objection here is a fictional take is being presented as fact.

Want to rehash the many mistakes made (and every post-war president gets to share blame), let the news division do it. Show me reality, not the version one political faction wants to believe.

How many Paul sockpuppets are there? Has anyone learned from Lee Seigel?

Want a news documentary about the years leading up to the attack? Try the excellent Frontline's _The Man Who Knew_.

Yes, I think I've got it now. fnarf is not a leftist, and i am not a crook.

(signed) Douche Milhous Bag

"The major objection here is a fictional take is being presented as fact."

Have heard of post hoc reasoning, but here we have pre hoc preemptive prejudgement. Unless you were one of very few who have already viewed ABC's film. I'm guessing that you haven't seen it. I'm guessing that you're taking talking points from Sandy Berger. He said the show is fiction; you say the show is fiction. Perhaps you should speak for yourself after you, you know, actually see the program.

Uh, actors and made up dialog, right? Isn't that the definition of fiction?

Even Michael Moore uses real people and interviews (mightily skewed on occasion). And this is being presented as factual.

On the ABC blog for The Path to 9/11, the film's director David Cunningham is quoted as saying:

It seems that people keep referring to this movie as a "documentary". A documentary is a journalistic format that gives facts and information through interviews and news footage. This is a movie or more specifically a docudrama. Meaning, it is a narrative movie based on facts and dramatized with actors.

I think the confusion is understandible.

Why *aren't* they showing a documentary? Surely it's not for a lack of footage.

Frontline managed to cover this subject without having to tap Harvey Keitel.

Ugh, this is going to be worse than that bird flu movie.

YES! The Bird Flu Movie!!!! I knew they had pulled some shit like this recently, but I just couldn't remember it!

Hopefully, this will be as memorable as that turkey was, and the average American won't be as dumb as your garden variety conservative, with their paranoia and their victim complexes.

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