Locals mount campaign against ABC 9/11 show
September 7, 2006
There is a local grassroot campaign being mounted against WEAR airing the ABC docudrama “Path to 9/11”.
Here is one email being sent out among Democratic circles (which I admit is a small one):
“If you will remember, Pensacola’s local ABC affiliate WEAR, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, chose not to air the episode of Nightline in which the names of soldiers killed in Iraq were read during the program back in 2005. Please contact them and request they give equal treatment to the 9/11 GOP Propaganda Series because it is fraught with factual errors and fabrications.
Contact WEAR at: http://weartv.com/feedback/feedback.htm”
P.O. Box 12278
Pensacola, FL 32581
Toll Free: 866-856-9327
Here is the NY Times article on the show
The New York Times
September 7, 2006
Three From Clinton Administration Urge Disney to Cancel or Revise 9/11 Mini-Series
By JESSE McKINLEY
Three members of the Clinton administration have written the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s parent, to complain that the network’s coming two-part miniseries “The Path to 9/11” is fraught with factual errors and fabrications.
The letters ask that the five-hour movie, scheduled for broadcast Sunday and Monday, be either edited for accuracy or canceled, and ABC gave a small indication yesterday that some changes might be made.
One of the officials, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, said in her letter to the Disney executive, Robert A. Iger, that although she had requested a copy of the film, ABC had not given her one. But, Ms. Albright said, she has been told by people who have seen it that it “depicts scenes that never happened, events that never took place, decisions that were never made and conversations that never occurred.”
“It asserts as fact things that are not fact,” she wrote.
The concerns of Ms. Albright, as well as those expressed in letters from Samuel R. Berger, former national security adviser, and Bruce R. Lindsey, a Clinton White House aide now with the Clinton Foundation, were echoed yesterday by several Democratic members of Congress.
ABC, meanwhile, continued to explain that the mini-series, though largely drawn from the report of the Sept. 11 commission, was a dramatization, not a documentary.
But the network appeared to be leaving the door open to last-minute changes in the film.
“It is common practice to continue to make edits to strengthen a project right up to the broadcast date,” said Hope Hartman, an ABC spokeswoman.
The series, which cost almost $40 million, is to be broadcast without commercials, but Ms. Hartman said this had been planned, as a public service, and had nothing to do with any pressure that might have been brought on prospective advertisers.
Ms. Hartman said she could not confirm that Ms. Albright, Mr. Berger or the Clinton Foundation had requested any advance copies of the movie. She said such copies had been provided to “accredited media and educational institutions,” including talk shows.
In their letters, dated Tuesday, both Mr. Berger and Ms. Albright object to scenes in which they are shown adding obstacles to efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. In particular, Ms. Albright said a scene in which she refuses to support a cruise missile strike against Mr. bin Laden without first alerting the Pakistani government was untrue. Ms. Albright (played by Shirley Douglas) also said the suggestion that she had alerted the Pakistani military to an imminent strike was “false and defamatory.”
“Sept. 11 is not ‘entertainment,’ it is reality,” Ms. Albright wrote Mr. Iger. “Before you air your broadcast, I trust you will ensure you have the facts right.”
Mr. Berger (played by Kevin Dunn) said a scene in which he is shown refusing to authorize a strike to kill Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan “flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions” and will serve “only to grossly misinform the American people.”
Mr. Berger’s character is also seen abruptly hanging up during a conversation with a C.I.A. officer at a critical moment of a military operation. In an interview yesterday with KRLA-AM in Los Angeles, Cyrus Nowrasteh, the mini-series’ screenwriter and one of its producers, said that moment had been improvised.
“Sandy Berger did not slam down the phone,” Mr. Nowrasteh said. “That is not in the report. That was not scripted. But you know when you’re making a movie, a lot of things happen on set that are unscripted. Accidents occur, spontaneous reactions of actors performing a role take place. It’s the job of the filmmaker to say, ‘You know, maybe we can use that.’ ”
The producers and writers of the movie have said the script was based not only on the commission report but also on two books — “The Cell,” by the former ABC newsman John Miller and Michael Stone, and “The Relentless Pursuit,” by Samuel M. Katz — as well as personal interviews. They also say the script was vetted by lawyers, terrorism experts and former Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey, the commission’s chairman, who is credited as a senior consultant to the mini-series.
Mr. Kean, whose report criticized both the Bush and Clinton administrations, said Tuesday that the miniseries, like the report, was balanced. “People in both administrations are not going to be happy if it’s portrayed accurately,” he said.
Political pressure against a television drama is not unprecedented. In 2003, CBS dropped a four-hour miniseries about Ronald and Nancy Reagan after a concerted campaign by Republican and conservative groups. That series, “The Reagans,” was later televised on the cable channel Showtime.
Marc Platt, the executive producer of “The Path to 9/11,” said he had known that turning a 600-page report into a five-hour drama would ruffle some feathers. “The challenge in any adaptation,” he said, “is how do you render it as dramatic as you can without exceeding the boundaries of what’s fair and accurate.”