"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bill Clinton Protests ABC 9/11 Miniseries, Demands Revision or Shutdown

Still image from ABC-TV miniseries The Path to 9/11The New York Post reports that former President Bill Clinton has sent ABC president Bob Iger a letter protesting the network's depiction of his administration's response to terrorist threats as shown in the upcoming miniseries, The Path to 9/11, to be broadcast by the network this coming Sunday and Monday at 8-10 p.m. EST. The Post reports:
A furious Bill Clinton is warning ABC that its mini-series "The Path to 9/11" grossly misrepresents his pursuit of Osama bin Laden - and he is demanding the network "pull the drama" if changes aren't made.

Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.

The former president also disputed the portrayal of then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as having tipped off Pakistani officials that a strike was coming, giving bin Laden a chance to flee.

"The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely," the four-page letter said.

The movie is set to air on Sunday and Monday nights. Monday is the fifth anniversary of the attacks.

The docudrama does indeed include some fictionalized scenes to help compress the story into a manageable form, as such productions customarily do, but appears to be accurate overall. It is based on the comprehensive 9/11 Commission Report and other factual sources. The cast includes Harvey Keitel, Patricia Heaton, Penny Johnson Jerald (of Fox's 24), Amy Madigan, and Donnie Wahlberg, none of whom will ever work in Hollywood again if the former president has anything to say about it, as he clearly wishes to do.

From Karnick on Culture.

10 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.

Everything was so much better during the Clinton Administration.

tbmbuzz said...

What is even worse is the fact that Senate Democrats are using their government power to censor and outright threaten ABC. From the letter sent to ABC by Reid and Durbin:

"The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airways in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events."

How much more blatantly can one violate the First Amendment? These are the same liberals who go apoplectic over the Patriot Act and the Bush Administration's legitimate and honorable efforts to protect the American people from the Islamists who have declared war on us and to defend and protect the Constitution as the President is sworn to do. Pigs.

James Elliott said...

Cripes, Buzz, did someone take away your mood stabilizer?

Look, first off, Reid and Durbin are absolutely correct: Federal telecommunications law prohibits commercial radio and television broadcasters who use the free airwaves from broadcasting untruths and one-sided political propoganda, no matter what side of the aisle it's for. This is because they are using a government-granted monopoly on a frequency. That's not an abrogation of some fanciful First Amendment right to say things that are outright lies; it's a constitutionally upheld law that protects the public trust. You couldn't be more foaming-at-the-mouth wrong.

Second, S.T. is dead wrong. This "docudrama" was envisioned and created by two long-time GOP political operatives. Further, it actually licensed two right-wing books as its basis, not the 9/11 Commission Report. In fact, ABC/Disney, which was happy to show the film to the likes of Rush "My entire ass he's not partisan" Limbaugh, would not show it to former Clinton officials or members of the 9/11 Commission proper.

Furthermore, the "docudrama" contains many falsehoods, not least of which are the portrayals of the Clinton Administration's actions. President Clinton had a standing order to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, and not once was a CIA mission to do so vetoed or prevented by his administration. Further, the 9/11 Commission determined that the "Lewinsky Scandal" distracted Congress, not the Clinton Administration, from the matter.

This is no different than when the Righties made CBS pull The Reagans in 2003.

Ebayer said...

"Look, first off, Reid and Durbin are absolutely correct: Federal telecommunications law prohibits commercial radio and television broadcasters who use the free airwaves from broadcasting untruths and one-sided political propoganda, no matter what side of the aisle it's for."

In that case, we need to shut down CBS, ABC and NBC news broadcasts, 60 minutes, and all three early morning "talk" shows. They do worse things than the 911 Docu-Drama 7 DAYS A WEEK!.

Let's be fair about this. We don't hear a peep out of you "kill all dissent" perps when there is something out there that is unfavorable to Republicans, but let there be one word that shows the Dems in a harsh spotlight and you all start hyper-ventilating.

Didn't Hitler and Mussolini also crush all opposition? Heil Clinton!

James Elliott said...

In that case, we need to shut down CBS, ABC and NBC news broadcasts, 60 minutes, and all three early morning "talk" shows. They do worse things than the 911 Docu-Drama 7 DAYS A WEEK!.

It's not liberal propoganda if reality doesn't conform to your ideology. Sorry, but let's "be fair" about this.

Let's be fair about this. We don't hear a peep out of you "kill all dissent" perps when there is something out there that is unfavorable to Republicans, but let there be one word that shows the Dems in a harsh spotlight and you all start hyper-ventilating.

Show me something that's been said that's an untruth about Republicans and I'll condemn it. For example, putting words in the mouth of Ronald Reagan, like CBS did in its The Reagans miniseries, is wrong. The issue here isn't that it's "harsh," but that it's demonstrably not true. It's not a difficult distinction to grasp.

"Didn't Hitler and Mussolini also crush all opposition? Heil Clinton!"

Ah, so fascist analogies are only acceptable when made about Democrats? Got it. Glad we cleared that up. I'm sorry you feel oppressed by my being right. The truth can be crushing to those in denial.

S. T. Karnick said...

The filmmakers did not have to license the 9/11 commission's report as it is a public document. They claim to have based the film on it, and no one disputes that. Perhaps Mr. Elliott has evidence of which everyone else is unaware.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Look, first off, Reid and Durbin are absolutely correct: Federal telecommunications law prohibits commercial radio and television broadcasters who use the free airwaves from broadcasting untruths and one-sided political propoganda, no matter what side of the aisle it's for.

I have no idea where you gleaned this information, but it is just simply wrong. There is nothing in the 1934 Act that provides for any criminal or civil penalty for broadcast content other than indecency. The Fairness Doctrine was never legislated; it was a policy of the FCC begun in the 1940s, upheld as constitutional in Red Lion in the 60s, but rescinded in 1987, after the Supreme Court in Meredith declared that the FCC was not required to enforce it.

Holders of individual broadcast licenses do have to periodically reapply for those licenses, and at that time the public can present evidence to the FCC that the license should be withheld. There is a general "public interest" clause which can be brought up during reapplication. The appropriate petitioners are the members of the broadcast audience, not a bunch of powerful senators.

The proper remedy for Clinton, Albright, Berger, et al. who believe they have been harmed is to sue Disney for defamation and libel. Of course, since they are public figures they will have a very hard time meeting the standards of U.S. libel law. Liberals seemed to think that standard was very funny when it prevented Jerry Falwell from recovering against Larry Flynt.

If you think I'm wrong, cite the Act to prove it. Here's the complete text in PDF, just to get you started.

James Elliott said...

"They claim to have based the film on it, and no one disputes that."

God, do you even research things before you write them? At least two 9/11 commissioners (Ben-Veniste and Lehman) have come out stating that their "interpretation" of the facts are just plain wrong.

S. T. Karnick said...

I said that they based the film on it, not that everyone agrees that their interpretation is correct. Do you even read things before accusing people of dishonesty?

Devang said...

The appropriate petitioners are the members of the broadcast audience, not a bunch of powerful senators.

And some different powerful Senators can hold hearings to determine what's bad language and what's not?

The FCC should be disbanded and most of the spectrum turned public instead of protecting all the wireless communicaiton monopolies. Without getting into a spectrum reallocation debate, my view can be implemented. One only need look at how productively the small tidbits of public spectrum available are being used now. The public interest clause is key and the Senators should be willing to step up and take action if the FCC does not do it's job as an effective regulator. Remember the FERC action forced by the Senate during California's electricity crisis? Granted, airing of this "DocuDrama" is no crisis, but it is one more infringement among many over the years of the public interest clause.