Saturday, September 09, 2006

Al Gore Weighs In: ABC's 9/11 Concoction "Fundamentally Irresponsible," Updated

He released a statement expressing his concerns.

In other news related to ABC's/WKRN's political infomercial:
  • Two F.B.I. agents rejected advisory roles with it because they were concerned about "Path to 9/11's" accuracy.
  • Director of "Path to 9/11" has ties to a conservative evangelical film organization with an ulterior political agenda.
  • Overseas, ABC is not marketing "Path to 9/11" as a fictionalized account, but as "The story of exactly what happened."
  • AMERICAblog is reporting that ABC failed on their worldwide broadcast to edit out their mistaken reference to American Airlines as that which ignored warnings about Mohammad Atta boarding their flight. It was actually US Airways. A mother whose son was on AA Flight 11, which left Boston Logan at 8:30 a.m. on 9/11, has reportedly already written a letter chewing out ABC for defaming AA.
  • ABC failed to have a copy editor check important spelling in the worldwide broadcast.
  • DC affiliate distances itself from ABC's "Path to 9/11" in light of "some criticism leading up to the September 11, 2001 attack." Did Nashville's WKRN?
  • New Zealand audiences had to watch the wetdream falsified scene of Clinton official Sandy Berger missing the opportunity to kill Osama bin Laden. So much for ABC's charge that critics were being "premature and irresponsible" while the editing process was still unfinished (after it had already been finished).
  • One of the Bob Corker campaign commercials that showed during WKRN's 10:00 news tonight seemed to fit right in with the fabricated point of the commercial below that "one decision changed our world": the narrator in the Corker commercial said, "[Vote for Bob Corker] because we cannot afford to make even one wrong decision." Coincidence or coordination? Do you think that the Corker campaign might have been one of the 900 who originally received one of those advance copies of "Path to 9/11"? Hmm.
  • According to preliminary ratings, NBC's Sunday Night Football beat PT9/11 in the ratings going away, and PT9/11 only managed to tie CBS's "9/11" rerun, which was on very late (locally here from 10:30 until around 12:30 or 1:00 this morning; "9/11" was one I did not miss). PT9/11 had one sorry showing for primetime, commercial-free. Kudos to all of you who ignored ABC's fantasy broadcast locally on WKRN. And just think of how badly it would have done had critics across the country not drawn publicity to it the past week; unless, of course, PT9/11 critics were able to convince significant portions of the audience not to watch propaganda.
  • 9/11 Commission Vice Chair says that PT9/11 shows that "news and entertainment are getting dangerously intertwined," and that he does not think that it is good for the country.
  • From the "And-that-is-precisely-the-problem" file: "How many of us actually took the time, or would bother to take the time even now, to read the whole 9/11 Commission Report. But we're all more than willing to watch a mini-series for a few hours, especially one that's aired uninterrupted." ABC's target audience for PT9/11 must include those for whom fact-checking is too hard. But feed them partial, partisan pablum from the boob tube, and they make up their own mind without ever having to delve farther in to the matter.
  • Over at the coffee house, you'll find former Clinton/Bush terrorism czar Richard Clarke's evaluation of PT9/11 as "an egregious distortion" by a "production company and writer who were apparently unqualified to deal with this historically important subject matter." Besides being depicted in PT9/11, Clarke is a consultant for ABC News.
  • American Airlines released the following statement regarding PT9/11:
  • [Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 11] The Disney/ABC television program, The Path to 9/11, which began airing last night, is inaccurate and irresponsible in its portrayal of the airport check-in events that occurred on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

    A factual description of those events can be found in the official government edition of the 9/11 Commission Report and supporting documents.

    This misrepresentation of facts dishonors the memory of innocent American Airlines employees and all those who lost their lives as a result of the tragic events of 9/11.

09/09/2006, 5:45 p.m. Update: Here is ABC's overseas commercial for "Path to 9/11," which clearly calls the mini-series "the offical true story," and which shows the face of Bill Clinton fading into terrorist activity, with the statement: "How one decision changed our world."

I don't see how you can watch that commercial and not see that it is claiming to be more than just a drama and not see that it is politically motivated rather than focused on the fact.

09/10/2006, 8:16 p.m. Update: Here is one of the scenes from Path to 9/11 that was completely invented and improvised, with some opposing editorial comments superimposed (which is about as close to balance as you can get, given the toxic nature of ABC's fantasy).

The original (sans opposing comments) was shown in New Zealand earlier today, unedited, because they did not receive ABC's "edited" copy.

UPDATE: AMERICAblog is reporting that the fantasy scene above (again, sans opposing editorial comments) was shown in tonight's U.S. "edited" version of PT9/11. It was also shown without any clarifying statements that the scene never happened, so the video you see posted above is actually more factual with the editorial comments than the actual scene that the American audience is seeing tonight!

Now tell us that fairy tale again about all of those edits that you were going to make over the weekend, Grandpa Disney!

09/11/2006, 10:30 a.m. Update: David Bauder has a summary of edits that ABC actually made to the "Path to 9/11" to try to take the original partisan and faked edge off. There is no indication that these edits were made to the overseas versions of the "world-wide broadcast." Interesting to note that ABC disclaimers more aggressively pushed the fact that PT9/11 is a fantasy and that they distanced the production from the 9/11 Commission Report, which they did not do in the original version. It further reinforces the question: why watch a fantasy about 9/11 to commemorate 9/11? Think Progress reports that 100,000 people wrote to Disney President Robert Iger through their "Tell ABC to Tell the Truth" campaign.

09/11/2006, 11:00 p.m. Update: And now for some commentary free from prior restraint, yet necessary for equal time (WARNING: this video contains mature and coarse language not appropriate for children):


  1. "ABC failed to have a copy editor check spelling on important..." In this case the important copy was Madeleine Albright's given name.

    This is really straining for something to complain about considering that given names are some of the most difficult words to check and usually not caught by spell checking programs.

    Spell check would however catch a word like affiliate. Using your premise, I guess the entirety of your post is a lie?

    There is enough wrong about PT911 without looking like we are spitting mad and have lost all sense of logic and reason. And to quote my old mentor - Picking fly shit out of pepper makes us look just that desperate.

    Let's hit 'em with the hard stuff.

  2. I generally don't pick on spelling, precisely for the reason you mention. If spelling were the only problem with PT9/11, then I would not have a problem. However, the fact that the writer of PT9/11 has gone to great pains to underscore the gravity of the failure of these officials, it seems a huge oversight to misspell the name of one who matters so much to the point one wants to make. I think it is indicative of a message overcoming the facts, and the misspelling is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. But ABC is also not a penny-ante blogger like me. They are huge corporation employing copy editors who should be able to run circles around you and me. So, it doesn't matter, except that it is just one more brick in the wall.

    Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I correct them whenever they are pointed out to me when I fail to catch them myself.

  3. Yeah, it's all a right-wing conspiracy.

    Because everyone knows that Hollywood is just filled to the brim with right winger ultra conservatives and is in NO WAY liberal (That whole "Reagan" tv movie was all in the minds of right-wingers).

    And of course, everyone knows that YWAM is such a big secret right wing organization bent on a political agenda. (lol!) Yeah, that's why their ministry is so focused OVERSEAS. 'Cause they want to advance their right-wing Republican agenda in non-democratic countries.

    And of course, everyone knows we viewers are just really stupid mindless idiots that can't tell that a tv mini-series is fictionalized for dramatic effect.

    Pah-leeze. Ya'll are tooo funny! :)

    PS -- I loved the second clip you showed ("are there any men left in Washington..." -- a question I've asked often in my life). To me it underscored the lack of courage the Clinton administration appeared to have -- regardless of whether that cowardice was actual or just perceived because of their desperate desire to not offend or upset any of our other allies in the region.

    And no, I'm not dumb enough to believe it actually happened. Please. I worked for over 12 years in television in Hollywood, So I get the whole "fictionalized events" for dramatic effect stuff. Heck, I typed many scripts just like that in my day. And frankly, I've seen that the audience is a whole lot smarter and more sophisticated than most in the industry give them credit for. and I think we are much smarter than you give us credit for.

    I'm just so surprised and impressed with ABC for airing something so expressly NOT ultra liberal (the norm for tv and network execs). It was actually rather balanced -- as the end tags provided the failures of the Bush administration to deliver on their promises to make air flight significantly safer. They were given 12 Fs and only 1 A. And that was the BUSH administration. So they did show some balance.

    And lest you think that's a cop-out, just remember that the bulk of the story took place before Bush took office, during the Clinton years. So of course Clinton's people are going to be the major focus of what went wrong.

    Again, I'm impressed that ABC actually dared to show a negative view of their golden child Clinton. Somebody in ABC actually grew some balls to go against the grain of the rest of the town. Ah-mazing.