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ABC Collapses from Democrat Pressure and Edits "The Path to 9/11"

From the Chicago Tribune:

HOLLYWOOD -- ABC's upcoming five-hour docudrama "The Path to 9/11" is becoming a political cause celebre.

In recent days the network has made changes to the mini-series, set to air Sunday and Monday, after leading political figures, many of them Democrats, complained about bias and alleged inaccuracies. A left-wing organization has launched a letter-writing campaign urging the network to "correct" or dump the mini-series, while conservative blogs have mounted a vigorous defense.

[snip]

ABC toned down a scene that involved Clinton's national security adviser, Samuel "Sandy" Berger, declining to give the order to kill bin Laden, according to a person involved with the film who declined to be identified. "That sequence has been the focus of attention," the source said.

The network also decided that the credits would say the film is based "in part" on the 9/11 panel report, rather than "based on" the report, as the producers originally intended.

More from the Ostroy Report:

The Ostroy Report has learned from a reliable source connected to ABC that an unnamed ABC executive said that former President Bill Clinton called Disney President and CEO Robert Iger this week to voice his anger and frustration over the network's plan to air a six-hour movie, "The Path to 9/11," on Sunday and Monday, and that Iger agreed to make certain changes requested by Clinton. According to this ABC source, the film is currently being edited. In seeking confirmation, our call to Iger's office went straight into voicemail. We will update our story if and when we hear from a Disney official. Disney is the parent company of ABC.

ABC succumbs to the pressure and bows at the altar of Clinton.

Update: Dan Riehl links to another report confirming ABC made changes to the movie under pressure from Bill Clinton.

Hat tip: Allahpundit and Kirsten Powers


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Comments (71)

Shame on ABC if this really... (Below threshold)
La Mano:

Shame on ABC if this really happens.

Hundreds of people saw the original screening and will be able to outline the changes. I wonder if anyone has the original DVD so the changes DEMANDED by Willie Clinton can be displayed on YouTube so the entire world will know.

... toned down... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

... toned down

Excuse me, but I work in film all the time and I have no idea WTF "toned done" means. Is the scene completely gone? (That brings up a thought. Let's quickly review: Berger steals potentually damning files just prior to his testimony before the 9/11 commission and now, apparently, this key scene of him calling off the attack is going to be "toned down". I'm not one for conspiracies, but... somebody's protecting somebody here.)

The fact that this movie (key word there) is not a blow-by-blow recount of the The Report should come as no surprise to no one. If it were a blow-by-blow account, it would appear on the History Channel or on Court TV as "On Native Soil" did. But ABC is airing a movie, not a documentary.

To put the disclaimer of "based in part" is fine. How about revising to "largely basead on..." I'd prefer that.

Ah, if only getting Micheal... (Below threshold)
DaineK:

Ah, if only getting Micheal Moore to see "reason" had been this easy. I guess it goes to show "it's not what you know, it's who you know"

Hey! If sandy berger says ... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Hey! If sandy berger says he didn't say all that stuff he didn't, right? I mean...just because he got caught stealing top secret documents doesn't mean he's a liar as well as a thief...does it?

Why do you object to ABC co... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Why do you object to ABC correcting technical inaccuracies that are brought to their attention? Are you so vindictive that you would insist on airing scenes, even after they're revealed to be inaccurate? The Right successfully lobbied CBS to kill the entire Reagan movie altogether, and you're upset because the Left successfully lobbied ABC to improve the accuracy of a single scene?

I have no problem with the ... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

I have no problem with the move... For starters it helps pull the rug out from under those that were using the scene as the primary foothold for trying to "spike" the whole film. Fine, the scene has been modified... now, let 'er rip!!!

the only people claiming th... (Below threshold)
jp:

the only people claiming the scenes are inaccurate are those with something to lose by them. Michael Schuer wrote to Newsbusters about this scene, its pretty interesting and he's hardly pro-bush.

they did not Kill the Reagan miniseries they moved it to Showtime....and in that case it was a complete fabrication of historical fact and done not long after the man died.

Killed the Reagan movie?</p... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Killed the Reagan movie?

Wrongo...It was played exactly as it was filmed, by Viacom's cable network.

The Left needed to keep Bubba's false legacy alive, and this scene would've done damage.

Funny thing is, the Clintonistas' use of pure political muscle to interfere with freedom of speech exposes them as pure hypocrites. 'Fake but Accurate' was fine and dandy by them when it came to Bush.

the only people claiming... (Below threshold)
Brian:

the only people claiming the scenes are inaccurate are those with something to lose by them.

Well of course. The ones who benefit from the inaccuracies apparently don't have the integrity to stand up and admit it. However, there's no debate that the scenes called inaccurate are based on public historical record that you or anyone else is free to review. So the fact that those harmed by the lies are the ones pointing it out doesn't change the fact that they are lies.

it exposes them as Totalita... (Below threshold)
jp:

it exposes them as Totalitarian in nature as history has showed Leftist to be over and over throughout history. This is explained in detail in the "Road to Serfdom" by FA Hayek

yes, its historical record ... (Below threshold)
jp:

yes, its historical record that Clinton had 2 opportunties to get Bin Laden and didn't do to political fallout and fear of collateral damage. How do you suppose you go about dramatizing this?


I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait for the next Dick Morris Column. I've heard him talk about this multiple times, the failure to get bin laden and multiple chances to do so

How long before one of the ... (Below threshold)
bill:

How long before one of the media copies hits You Tube? My guess is as soon as the film airs and the discrepancies are found, the original will surface, with the encryption finger prints removed.

From the 1993 bombing on, al Qaida was involved in killing Americans. All the while, the Monica played on. The 9/11 Omission knew all about it and decided to take a pass, obviously the Clinton censors on the 9/11 Omission panel censored it. This is probably what went into Sandy Burglar's pants.

There is a tape of Clinton admitting in public he was offered bin Laden and turned it down. I am sure it will show up soon.

I would just appreciate it,... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

I would just appreciate it, if the Clinton people, and the Bush people for that matter, put thier holier than thou attitude aside, and tell us the truth and nothing but the truth about the events prior to 9/11, and quit worrying about how they are going to look. They keep being evassive about things they've done, while we have real American hero's who are losing more than thier reputations for thier belief in our country. The politians have to stand up like these kids and do what's right for us. Honor the 3000 Americans who died on 9/11 by helping us get to the bottom of this.
Bush should come out and say, it was'nt Clinton's fault, or his people, it was the way the country looked at things then. Let's learn how to stop this from happening rather then assigning blame.

There is a tape of Clinton ... (Below threshold)
jp:

There is a tape of Clinton admitting in public he was offered bin Laden and turned it down. I am sure it will show up soon.

----


I'm waiting for that to listen to again as much as the Morris column on this mess

"its historical record that... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"its historical record that Clinton had 2 opportunties to get Bin Laden and didn't do to political fallout and fear of collateral damage." jp

Can you prove this?

Bush is portrayed badly in ... (Below threshold)
jp:

Bush is portrayed badly in this film also, you don't see them abusing their power and censoring this movie that is by all accounts the movie of record on the subject. this is very telling, just like they didn't silence Fahrenhyte 9/11 while the left tried to silence the swift boat doc. on Sinclair.

Who are the real defenders of the 1st amendment?

here is an old column by Di... (Below threshold)
jp:

here is an old column by Dick Morris about atleast 3 failed attempts to get OBL by Clinton...
--------
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=15770

And we need to understand who is to blame for failing to get bin Laden — for America blew at least three opportunities during the 1990s, when he was there for all to see in Afghanistan. And the reasons why we failed don't speak well of a potential Kerry administration.

Our first shot at bin Laden came in Feb. 13, 1998, when President Bill Clinton's aides scuttled a CIA plot that had been eight months in the planning to kidnap Osama, using local Afghan tribesmen and to ferry him to the United States to stand trial. Why did they torpedo the mission? Because they worried that bin Laden might be killed!

To quote the 9/11 Commission report: They worried that "the purpose . . . of the operation would be subject to unavoidable misinterpretation and misrepresentation — and probably recriminations — in the event that bin Laden, despite our best intentions and efforts, did not survive." The kidnapping was blocked because the Clinton people worried that it might be perceived as "an assassination."

The second chance came when we actually did launch cruise missiles to kill bin Laden on Aug. 20, 1998. (Apparently, if he died in an air strike that would not be an assassination). Clinton ordered the hit, but instructed that the Pakistani Army Chief of Staff be briefed right before the missiles overflew his air space so he would not think them to be Indian and order retaliation. Word leaked from Pakistan to bin Laden, who escaped right before the missiles hit.

The final missed opportunity came in May, 1999 when the CIA reported that bin Laden would be in Kandahar, Afghanistan for five days. The 9/11 Commission reported: "If this intelligence was not 'actionable,' working-level officials said at the time and today, it was hard for them to imagine how any intelligence . . . could meet that standard."
One senior official told the commission, "It was in our strike zone . . . a fat pitch . . . a home run." But still Clinton's folks — the same guys on whom Kerry would rely if elected — said no. Why? Because we had just bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by mistake and they were worried about being accused of being trigger happy. (Officials were also worried that Republicans would echo the charges they made — totally irresponsibly and inaccurately — about the August 1998 strike and say Clinton was "wagging the dog.")

When one contemplates who would wage the more determined War on Terror, we must remember the tentative and hesitant way the Clinton people waged it — always bowing to global public opinion and political concerns rather than taking forthright and bold action.

Under Bush, bin Laden has been reduced to sending in impotent tapes and wild threats. Under Kerry, the same geniuses that let him escape three times will be back in charge running things.

So please tell me how you w... (Below threshold)
jp:

So please tell me how you would dramatize those 3 chances to get the point accross?

its like the silent farter, "the dog that barks first is the guilty dog"

and the left is barking alot.....anyone else smell it? smells like tofu farts

Rush has seen it and may ha... (Below threshold)
cagey1:

Rush has seen it and may have it in the original.

It would be poetic justice ... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

It would be poetic justice if nobody watched the movie. ABC would be out millions of dollars and the public would have put across a message of: Don't piss down my back and tell me its' raining.

I hope Hillary and Bill lose a lot of their luster because of this hypocritical BS and that the liberals take in the shorts for trying to hide what everybody knows- Clinton is a putz.
Chuck

Hannity played the damning ... (Below threshold)
nikkolai:

Hannity played the damning Clinton audio on his show today. Pretty damaging.

"Hooker" Dick "the John"? U... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

"Hooker" Dick "the John"? Use Morris as a source for anything? He'd sell his soul for a bag of peanuts.

The 1998 and 1999 plots wer... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

The 1998 and 1999 plots were called off by Tenet and not Clinton. The CIA field officer gave the ’98 plot a 40% chance of success. Tenet said that the ’99 plot had a 50% chance of success. In both cases Tenet thought the sources of the intelligence was suspect.

Under Bush:
-He doesn’t think about OBL so much
-Disbanded the CIA unit tracking OBL
-Allows Pakistan to create an officially sanctioned safe haven for al Qeada and OBL

The changes were probably m... (Below threshold)
Richard Heddleson:

The changes were probably made on the advice of attorneys and insurance companies. Burglar probably said, "I didn't say X. If you now include X in the script it will be construed as malice and I will sue for defamation, slander, etc." He would have a pretty good suit, limited to did he or did he not say X. I would not be surprixed if he signed an agreement not to sue in exchange for the deletion.

But now there is a sanitized version, with even more free publicity to which he cannot object that will be broadcast on Sunday and Monday to even bigger audiences.

And there will be a bigger market for the Director's Cut DVD with alternate insertions of censored materials.

More stupid PR by the Clintonistas.

Cum on people!! Bubba was ... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Cum on people!! Bubba was TOO BUSY to be worried about US security and terrorism!! Rollin pudgy little interns in flour takes time.

but you guys would use Clin... (Below threshold)
jp:

but you guys would use Clinton the rapist as a source...

more proof from the 9/11 Commission report on why this is not an inaccurate scene
http://www.texasrainmaker.com/2006/09/07/the-cover-up-continues/

Accordng to the 9/11 Commission’s Report, Berger was involved in at least 4 occurences of “failing to support” such requests

You can listen to Clinton a... (Below threshold)

You can listen to Clinton admitting that he was offered bin Laden and turned the offer down here.

I believe 'the tape' being ... (Below threshold)
suh:

I believe 'the tape' being referred to is this:

http://www.newsmax.com/clinton2.mp3

It helps when people link the actual clip instead of talking about it. Judge for yourself if it's damaging. I don't think it's that horrible. I've heard him say worse....

Hannity played the damning ... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

Hannity played the damning Clinton audio on his show today. Pretty damaging.

Posted by: nikkolai


Yeah damaging but not true....ya idjit! "Oh I heard it on Sean Hannity so it must be true"....fricking tool. LOL

If it's indeed true ... (Below threshold)
vb:


If it's indeed true ABC succumbed to pressure, there's no doubt it'll be a minor scandal.

However, I think the Clintonistas are going to get their asses bit really hard with all the protesting.

1) Regardless of how ABC edits it in the final form, the important conclucsion will be that Clinton had since 1993 to try to do something about OBL. Yet, despite all the 20/20 hindsight wisdom about terrorism being Job #1, viewers will not be able to escape the fact that the entire first night will be spent on years of missed opportunities by the Clinton administration.

This will serve to counteract the prevailing urban myth that Bin Laden came out of nowhere because of Bush policies. There is no way the Clintonistas will be able to bury that, and people will start asking, "Gee, exactly why did we let Bin Laden get away so many times after the WTC in 1993?"

2) Regardless of how the movie is edited, it will serve to counter Big Urban Myth #2, i.e. Bush was behind 9/11. With the proper focus on OBL, it will remind people that OBL was the one behind the terror attacks, not because building collapses look "staged" to the likes of Charlie Sheen.

3) I hope it will cause brain cells to light up by making people realize that the current situation in Iraq will not improve by pulling out. After all, 9/11 didn't happen out of thin air. Long before Iraq, long before Afghanistan, al-Qaeda was waging a sustained war against America: the '93 WTC bombing, the bombing of two American embassies in Africa, the USS Cole bombing, the averted Mellenium terror plot also should give lie to the idea that if we leave terrorists alone, they will leave us alone.

It's time people realized that their list of grievances our endless, and they will not be satisfied until the achievement of a global Caliphate. The perception that the war is going badly is because people - especially those on the left and Democrats in general - refuse to acknowledge that the whole Western civilization is at stake here. 9/11 was a wake-up call, but sadly, too many Americans have gone back to sleep and maybe the best result of this mini-series will be to remind people terrorism existed on a global scale before Bush.

Harry Reid is urging ABC to... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Harry Reid is urging ABC to not air the show.

Are the Democrats now in favor of censorship?

It's truly amazing that the... (Below threshold)

It's truly amazing that the two previous commenters to muirgeo supplied the audio of Clinton admitting to turning down the offer to get bin Laden but he still say's it's false. There it is, on audio. How does one explain that total lack of critical thinking?

Listen and learn something ... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

Listen and learn something for a change;


http://premium.airamericaradio.com/clip.php?id=2642

More on Hannity and the Cli... (Below threshold)
mantis:

More on Hannity and the Clinton admission.

First, the Media Matters take, including the 9/11 Commission's investigation of the Sudan claim.

And then, Clinton's response:

AMANPOUR: OK. Was Sudan asked to extradite [bin Laden]? Did you miss the opportunity to have him extradited?

CLINTON: And I miss ... what I said there was wrong. What I said was in error. I went back now and did all this research for my book and I said that we were told we couldn't hold him, implying that we had a chance to get him and didn't. That's not factually accurate.

Here's what is factually accurate. In 1996 and before then, when we found out about bin Laden, we had first thought he was a financier of terrorism but not a ringleader. In the beginning. When he took up residence in Sudan after having been ejected from Saudi Arabia, it is true that at some point during that period, there was some discussion in the Justice Department casting a doubt on how long we could hold him ... on the question of had he committed, or did we have evidence that he committed, an offense against the United States.

But that was never part of the question about whether we could get him. When he left, the idea that the Sudanese offered to hand him over to us is just absurd. The idea that they told us when he was leaving, and he was landing in the Gulf and we could get him at another airport, is absurd, and the idea that they tried to give him to us instead of giving him to Afghanistan is just not true. I have now gone back and reconstructed all the records, read all the documents, and that is just not true.

So, Hannity isn't credible,... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

So, Hannity isn't credible, but Air America is?

Muirgeo, credibility is a precious commodity. I'd say you've just run through yours like a drunken sailor, or a Republican congresscritter.

I thought the Hanity audio ... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

I thought the Hanity audio was of an out take from the ABC film. Was it not.

As for the offer from the Sudanese in 1995 Clinton tells why they didn't take him at the time. We had no specifics linkng him to a specific crime.

Air America? Holy crap, not... (Below threshold)
smitty:

Air America? Holy crap, not even liberals listen to it, it's boring, whiney and dumb.

See? I think the pro... (Below threshold)
vb:


See? I think the proper response to all the mindless mewing from the left is to

1) Question their patriotism for favoring censorship

2) Ask again why the U.S. was attacked so often from 1993 to 2000 by al-Qaeda and Bin Laden and why the U.S. response was always so weak.

3) I think it would be fun to revisit the shenanigans of Sandy "Stuffed Pants" Berger, a story the MSM simply let die out of sheer embarrassment. We should all be writing about good ol' Sandy "losing" super top secret classified documents and how that reflects on the Clinton administrations attitudes towards national security.

So, Hannity isn't credible,... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

So, Hannity isn't credible, but Air America is?


Posted by: Lurking Observe

Absolutly,

Thom Hartman on AirAmerica has all his facts straight. He regularly invites conservatives on his show and has cordial disscusions not Sean Hannity shouting matches seathing with hate.

But I watch Hannity as well as listen to AirAmerica...I listen to BOTH sides...do you?

Hannity is funny cause he so poorly conceals his hate for his guest......He's now having horrible nightmares about President Pelosi and suggested some one should KILL to prevent this from happening....what NUT CAKE your biy is....I'd put Thom Hartman up against him any day.

Listen to your KOOKBALL get torn a new one from Thom Hartman. ROTFLMAO

http://premium.airamericaradio.com/clip.php?id=2639

Ah, muirgeo once again demo... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Ah, muirgeo once again demonstrates that he can manage to be a fool, a coward, and a traitor, all in one fell swoop.

<a href="http://blogs.abc.c... (Below threshold)
jp:

http://blogs.abc.com/thepathto911/

there is the blog of the filmakers about this, this movie was made by a bipartsian group...and its already been noted that the Executive Producer was a big Clinton supported and donated to him.

yet they attack without seeing it like lemmings.

If ABC (the Adore's Bill Cl... (Below threshold)
JihadGene:

If ABC (the Adore's Bill Clinton Network) won't air it UNCENSORED... I want to know where I can get it in full, a "Pirate Copy", so the Punks at ABC get nothing!!! I'll pay the money, but not to ABC!!!

from the 9/11 Commission Re... (Below threshold)
Jp:

from the 9/11 Commission Report, 4 documented examples of Berger turning down chances to get Bin Laden

n Washington, Berger expressed doubt about the dependability of the tribals. In his meeting with Tenet, Berger focused most, however, on the question of what was to be done with Bin Ladin if he were actually captured. He worried that the hard evidence against Bin Ladin was still skimpy and that there was a danger of snatching him and bringing him to the United States only to see him acquitted.

National Security Council counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke sent Berger a memo suggesting a strike against al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan. According to the commission, however, in the “margin next to Clarke’s suggestion to attack Al Qaeda facilities in the week before January 1, 2000, Berger wrote, ‘no.’“

erger was presented with a plan to attack bin Laden based on aerial surveillance from a “Predator” drone. “In the memo’s margin,” the commission said, “Berger wrote that before considering action, ‘I will want more than verified location: we will need, at least, data on pattern of movements to provide some assurance he will remain in place.’”

The potential target was an al-Qaida terrorist camp in Afghanistan known as Tarnak Farms. But the commission cites Berger’s handwritten notes on the meeting paper, which referred to “the presence of 7 to 11 families in the Tarnak Farms facility, which could mean 60-65 casualties.” The Berger notes said, “if he responds, we’re blamed.”

Thanks to ABC I don't have ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Thanks to ABC I don't have to dig out the book on my video/audio system and see how I locked out ABC/CNN so no one in my home would ever turn it on by accident. Lock out is a really good feature. I'll just leave them locked out.

"Bush is portrayed badly in... (Below threshold)
kirktoe:

"Bush is portrayed badly in this film also, you don't see them abusing their power and censoring this movie that is by all accounts the movie of record on the subject. this is very telling, just like they didn't silence Fahrenhyte 9/11 while the left tried to silence the swift boat doc. on Sinclair.

Who are the real defenders of the 1st amendment?"

A hearty AMEN!!!!!!!

And not just this, but for 6 years Bush has been constantly attacked by the left and 95% of it has been lies (forged documents, the Plame affair etc). What we see is that Bush is an adult man and Bill Clinton is a little child.

The Reagan movie was comple... (Below threshold)
Robert:

The Reagan movie was complete fiction?

Must've said he was a good actor...and President.

Les Nessman - Awesome comme... (Below threshold)
Candy:

Les Nessman - Awesome comment. I'd like to hear their answer to that - although I'm sure they'd tell us that it's all LIES, unlike anything Michael Moore has ever released. Geez.

Sorry Robert, but the Reaga... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Sorry Robert, but the Reagan film was such a pile of crap every Chris Matthews said it was a pile of crap and a disgrace....and he plants himself fully in the anti_Bush, liberal Democrat crowd.

There are more facts and truths in the ABC film than in all of the Michael Moore films combined--yet you didn't see the right scrambling to have Moore censored.

Just more examples that when the Right is attacked they either ignore it or counter it but when the Left is attacked they threaten, cover-up, censor and attempt to squash dissent. Let an African-American express a conservative thought and watch how quickly they will beat their slave for not agreeing to be called Toby.

Let a devout liberal like Lieberman disagree on one point and watch them eat their own.

You think Bush is a facist? I shudder at the thought of a Left Wing Liberal Police State where dissent is punished, speech codes (1984 anyone??) are enforced. The Left would make the facists of the past look like amateurs.

Here is the gist of it....if you believe terrorism is all the fault of Bush in his 8 months in office prior to 9/11 and Clinton was blameless for the previous 8 years of his office holding then you are either a liar or an idiot.

Mantis, you are willing to ... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Mantis, you are willing to take a proven perjurer at his word. Yet you insist Bush lied, when it was Wilson who lied. Michael Moore's fauxumentary was hailed by the left, with screams of free speech, yet when the All Bill Clinton network runs a film that is oked by the co-chair of the 9/11 commission, your side crys out for censureship. Is there any part of the term hypocrite that you do understand?

Disney, the same company th... (Below threshold)
Tphillips:

Disney, the same company that owns ABC, did try to squash Moore's Farenheit 9/11 movie - they stopped their subsidiary Miramax from distributing it!

The only consultant from the 9/11 commission was the Republican Tom Kean - appointed by Bush to head the commission of course.

If you can't see that this is a case of the fox guarding the hen house, y'all are blind.

And if I'm not mistaken I t... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

And if I'm not mistaken I thought I heard even Keen was critical of some of the movies inaccuracies.

Be scared, very scared of t... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Be scared, very scared of the eventual damage that will occur directly from the lies the public has been told in the last eleven years by the democrats. The democrats have lied for so long they no longer know there is such a thing as truth.
It's bad when Osama has to reveal some of their lies and the public has to dig out the truth about things like the Plame lies that have been told as fact by the democrats and the antique MSM. Not one of them has had the guts to issue an apology to Mr. Rove or Chaney. To me that (never admit you were wrong of that you lied) is the greatest sign that they will sell out the country to anyone that offers them power. Every person in this country knows this is true but half won't admit it even to themselves. BDS has really progressed to something worse than insanity.

The fact that senior Senate... (Below threshold)
hermie:

The fact that senior Senate Democrats actually threatened ABC with loss of licenses, etc, demonstrate that they should never be given any kind of political power, and the country is much better off with them NOT in power.


Hey Wingnuts, check this ou... (Below threshold)

Hey Wingnuts, check this out, the Dems are not going to take this one laying down.

Senate Democratic leadership threatens Disney with legal and legislative sanctions
by John in DC - 9/07/2006 06:02:00 PM

This letter was sent today by the entire Democratic leadership of the US Senate. This letter is such a major shot across the bow of Disney, it's not even funny. It is FILLED with veiled threats, both legal and legislative, against Disney. US Senators don't make threats like this, especially the entire Democratic leadership en masse, unless they mean it. Disney is in serious trouble.

Read it, then read my analysis of it below:

September 7, 2006

Mr. Robert A. Iger
President and CEO
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank CA 91521

Dear Mr. Iger,

We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney’s plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

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 airwaves 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.

Disney and ABC claim this program to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report and are using that assertion as part of the promotional campaign for it. The 9/11 Commission is the most respected American authority on the 9/11 attacks, and association with it carries a special responsibility. Indeed, the very events themselves on 9/11, so tragic as they were, demand extreme care by any who attempt to use those events as part of an entertainment or educational program. To quote Steve McPhereson, president of ABC Entertainment, “When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right.”

Unfortunately, it appears Disney and ABC got it totally wrong.

Despite claims by your network’s representatives that The Path to 9/11 is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, 9/11 Commissioners themselves, as well as other experts on the issues, disagree.

Richard Ben-Veniste, speaking for himself and fellow 9/11 Commissioners who recently viewed the program, said, “As we were watching, we were trying to think how they could have misinterpreted the 9/11 Commission’s findings the way that they had.” [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]

Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism czar, and a national security advisor to ABC has described the program as “deeply flawed” and said of the program’s depiction of a Clinton official hanging up on an intelligence agent, “It’s 180 degrees from what happened.” [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]

Reports suggest that an FBI agent who worked on 9/11 and served as a consultant to ABC on this program quit halfway through because, “he thought they were making things up.” [MSNBC, September 7, 2006]

Even Thomas Kean, who serves as a paid consultant to the miniseries, has admitted that scenes in the film are fictionalized. [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]

That Disney would seek to broadcast an admittedly and proven false recounting of the events of 9/11 raises serious questions about the motivations of its creators and those who approved the deeply flawed program. Finally, that Disney plans to air commercial-free a program that reportedly cost it $40 million to produce serves to add fuel to these concerns.

These concerns are made all the more pressing by the political leaning of and the public statements made by the writer/producer of this miniseries, Mr. Cyrus Nowrasteh, in promoting this miniseries across conservative blogs and talk shows.

Frankly, that ABC and Disney would consider airing a program that could be construed as right-wing political propaganda on such a grave and important event involving the security of our nation is a discredit both to the Disney brand and to the legacy of honesty built at ABC by honorable individuals from David Brinkley to Peter Jennings. Furthermore, that Disney would seek to use Scholastic to promote this misguided programming to American children as a substitute for factual information is a disgrace.

As 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick said, “It is critically important to the safety of our nation that our citizens, and particularly our school children, understand what actually happened and why – so that we can proceed from a common understanding of what went wrong and act with unity to make our country safer.”

Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Sincerely,

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Byron Dorgan

The Senate Democratic leadership just threatened Disney's broadcast license. Not the use of the word "trustee" at the beginning of the letter and "trust" at the end. This is nothing less than an implicit threat that if Disney tries to meddle in the US elections on behalf of the Republicans, they will pay a very serious price when the Democrats get back in power, or even before.

This raises the stakes incredibly for Disney.

Ha Ha I knew it!... (Below threshold)
914:

Ha Ha I knew it!

Aah the Demorats ever the d... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

Aah the Demorats ever the defenders of free speech,as long as that speech isnt from the right side of the ledger.

Dead at nine,they say it so... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

Dead at nine,they say it so it must be true.You make me laugh.The party of the noted truth teller KKKlinton,the party of stealing state secrets,yea we can believe you.In a pigs eye we can.

Jainphx,I don't reca... (Below threshold)

Jainphx,
I don't recall asking you to believe or not believe me. All I did was cut and past a letter from the Senate Democratic leadership for you to read. But since you appear to be in a fighting mood tonight, I'll play along. But it will take a little bit of effort on your part to win this challenge.

Bill Clinton was inaugurated on 1-20-93. The first WTC bombing was on 2-26-93, 37 days after he became President. Can you find one quote from Clinton or a Clinton White House official who blamed Bush 1 for the first WTC bombing?

Wingnut = Blame others for your mistakes.

Of course, you didn't see R... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Of course, you didn't see Republicans blaming Clinton for the first one, either.

Then again, you don't see the GOP threatening licenses while Dems do --- but, hey, who wants an actual voice?
-=Mike

[email protected], Dang, I never thoug... (Below threshold)

[email protected], Dang, I never thought I'd see the day when the senate democats straight out admitted to being fascists.

You didn't really thinks th... (Below threshold)

You didn't really thinks the Dems were going to let the Repubs rewrite history do you?

But hey, look at it this way. All the Dems were able to do is get ABC to "tone down" a scene and change the language in the credts from "based on" to "in part" on the 911 panel report. The Repubs were able to get an entire mini-series about Reagan knocked off of Network TV.

I'd say the censorship prize in round one goes to the Repubs.

Don't you wish you had a leg to stand on for your censorship argument?

All the Dems were able ... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:
    All the Dems were able to do is get ABC to "tone down" a scene and change the language in the credts from "based on" to "in part" on the 911 panel report. The Repubs were able to get an entire mini-series about Reagan knocked off of Network TV.

There's a key part you're missing here. Republicans got the Reagan mini-series knocked off by protesting, writing letters and threatening boycotts - which we all have the right to do.

No Republican lawmakers ever threatened Congressional action against CBS. No Republican threatened their broadcasting license. If you cannot see the difference between governmental action and private legal action by individuals i.e. boycotts, then it is obvious that you are significantly more ignorant and stupid than you've let on.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Harry Reid and his cohorts just threatened to do exactly what the Constitution forbids them to do, promising punishment by the government for the expression of views with which they disagree.

The Democrats have not been able to articulate a unified view of any issue for nearly a decade. At least we now know exactly what the Democrats stand for.

Martin,I think you'r... (Below threshold)

Martin,
I think you're being a little nieve about "No Republican lawmakers ever threatened Congressional action against CBS." for the airing of a Reagan hit piece mini-series. What do you call holding up federal action on rules to restrict ownership of local TV stations? Sound like a threat to Viacom's first amendment rights to me. You can't broadcast with out a FCC license.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/TV/11/04/cbs.reagans.ap/

"Showtime and CBS are both owned by Viacom, which is anxiously awaiting federal action on rules to restrict ownership of local TV stations. Failure to enact such changes could cost Viacom millions of dollars, said Jeff Chester, head of the Center for Digital Democracy, a communications lobbying group."

If that's not a government threat to their broadcast license, I don't know what is.

So don't freak out about a perceived threat by the Dems when your side used actual government intimidation to silence a First Amendment protected broadcast.

PS I thought the whole Reagan mini series was pack of left wing lies. I just wanted you to take off your right wing rose colored glasses and see how the real world works.

[email protected],I read the ... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

[email protected],

I read the article ... but could you please direct me to a quote by any elected Republican Congressman threatening to punish CBS for "The Reagans?"

I have a letter signed by the top leadership of the Congressional Democrat Party with a clear threat to revoke ABC's broadcasting license unless they accede to the Democrat Party's demands.

You have nothing more than speculation by some lobbyist named Jeff Chester. The article does not even mention whether anything was held up, so where did you get that from?

Are you kidding me?

If that's not a governme... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

If that's not a government threat to their broadcast license, I don't know what is.

It's not. Worst possible case scenario (this, of course, lacks a letter from the Republicans with the names of Republican Senators specifically listed): it was a threat to not change rules to their advantage, not to REMOVE THEIR ABILITY TO BROADCAST.
-=Mike

I have a letter signed b... (Below threshold)

I have a letter signed by the top leadership of the Congressional Democrat Party with a clear threat to revoke ABC's broadcasting license unless they accede to the Democrat Party's demands.

This is hilarious. It's like a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan seeing the same replay, and coming to completely different conclusions.

From the letter above,

Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day.

See, 'serious inaccuracies'? That's means 'it's wrong' or, in my words, 'it's bullshit.'

Disney and ABC claim this program to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report and are using that assertion as part of the promotional campaign for it. The 9/11 Commission is the most respected American authority on the 9/11 attacks, and association with it carries a special responsibility.

The 'fictionalized' disclaimer came along AFTER the ad blitz started. Cut out the inaccuracies, and stick to the report, since that what ABC claimed it had done in the first place, and you're golden. This is not censorship, unless from the beginning it was promoted as entertainment, rather than a fact-based rendering. (Insert logic loop here: "Well, since its inaccurate, it's NOT a fact-based rendering, so anyone who wants to change it is trying to CENSOR IT!!1!" Go ahead and try your own loop - it's fun!)

To quote Steve McPhereson, president of ABC Entertainment, “When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right.”

Yes, Steve, it is. And to hold you to that is not 'censorship,' but rather that incredibly rare element that used to be known as 'accountability.'

That Disney would seek to broadcast an admittedly and proven false recounting of the events of 9/11 raises serious questions about the motivations of its creators and those who approved the deeply flawed program. Finally, that Disney plans to air commercial-free a program that reportedly cost it $40 million to produce serves to add fuel to these concerns.

"Concerns," not demands, not threats, not court-order or subpoena or attack signal. "Concerns." Scary word, I know, but it'll be okay, I promise.

We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.

"Clear threats" generally do not include invitations for dialogue, or "urg[ing] .. to uphold responsibilities as a respected member of American society." Reid's letter is more like your buddy coming up to you and saying, "WTF are you thinking?" when you are about to do something you want to think about twice.

The "implicit threat" line was written by John Arivosis of AMERICABlog, and it is his singular interpretation. But, hey, if John and the Big Bad Dems are scaring you under the bed, by all means, do carry on.

In his wildest dreams Iger couldn't have come up with a better media blitz than what's happening now. I can imagine his letter back to Reid, saying, gee, Harry, thanks for your concern - have some Mickey ears.


-GFO

MikeSC,Are you kiddi... (Below threshold)

MikeSC,
Are you kidding me? If you do not grant a license to broadcast, or you remove a license, is not the end result the same? A broadcast entity with no means to broadcast. I also don't see a "clear threat to revoke ABC's license" in the letter. A perceived threat yes, a clear threat no. Good luck Harry getting that legislation through the House and Senate and sign by George Bush. So it's an empty threat at best.

Martin, of course no Senator can be quoted, and no letter was written and signed threatening CBS with refusal to grant more broadcast licenses. They didn't need to, the Republicans have control of the House, Senate and the White House and thus control of the legislative process that oversees the FCC and the rules governing broadcast ownership. Viacom was well aware of this and decided the long term financial interest of the company was more important than a badly flawed mini-series about the Reagans. But to claim the government did not use it's regulatory pressure on Viacom concerning the Reagan show is just plain wrong.

Are you kidding me? If y... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Are you kidding me? If you do not grant a license to broadcast, or you remove a license, is not the end result the same?

What was being referred to was a CHANGE IN RULES to allow Viacom to own MORE stations than they used to be allowed to do. They, at the time, could not control more than 35% of a market's viewership. The changes in question would have raised it to 45 (it ended up going up to only 39%).

That is not threatening to yank a license. It is a "threat" to vote with the Democrats and not allow more consolidation in media ownership --- which lefties have griped about for years now.

But nice try. You might want to read up on the topics you're discussing.

Just to give you a comparison: Kerry threatened that, if he won, he'd have ALL of Sinclair communications' licenses revoked. The Republicans threatened to not change the rules and allow CBS/Viacom to own more stations than they already did.

You really can't see the difference, eh?

A broadcast entity with no means to broadcast. I also don't see a "clear threat to revoke ABC's license" in the letter. A perceived threat yes, a clear threat no. Good luck Harry getting that legislation through the House and Senate and sign by George Bush. So it's an empty threat at best.

That the ATTEMPT would be made should be chilling as hell. What happens if a Dem gains the WH? Will the networks then have to worry about their licenses being yanked for reporting negatively on the Democratic Party?

It seems to be that way.

Martin, of course no Senator can be quoted, and no letter was written and signed threatening CBS with refusal to grant more broadcast licenses. They didn't need to, the Republicans have control of the House, Senate and the White House and thus control of the legislative process that oversees the FCC and the rules governing broadcast ownership.

So a threat specifically written out and signed by Democrats is not a big deal because the Republicans COULD do the same and --- well, even though they didn't, it doesn't mean anything?

Got it.

But to claim the government did not use it's regulatory pressure on Viacom concerning the Reagan show is just plain wrong.

The GOP did not threaten to LOWER the percentage of a market's viewership one company could own. They threatened to not increase it.

A far cry from what you're erroneously stating.

In fact, if I was a Democrat, I'd now threaten to bust your computer and destroy your internet connection.
-=Mike

MikeSC, Is your poin... (Below threshold)

MikeSC,
Is your point that "The GOP did not threaten to LOWER the percentage of a market's viewership one company could own. They threatened to not increase it.", was not a government threat to have CBS cancel the Reagan mini-series? ( I assumed we all knew the CNN quote was concerning market share, next time I'll spell it out better for you.) You need a separate broadcast license for each TV station owned, by not granting a license to your new stations you have no way of broadcasting on your newly acquired broadcast properties.

"That the ATTEMPT would be made should be chilling as hell." I agree, why are you guys not all over the GOP for trying to threaten CBS by not allowing it to increase market share. I thought you were all for free markets, threatening to restricting a company to a 35% market share for airing a Reagan mini-series does not sound like conservative values to me.

"So a threat specifically written out and signed by Democrats is not a big deal because the Republicans COULD do the same and --- well, even though they didn't, it doesn't mean anything?"

Viacom did get to increase their share from 35% to 39% (your numbers) because the did cave in to a threat and did cancel the Reagan mini-series. So it does mean something.

"Kerry threatened that, if he won, he'd have ALL of Sinclair communications' licenses revoked." If you can back this statement up with some facts I'd love to see it. ( It would also help me settle a bet with my boss.)

PS
It was Clinton who signed the Media Consolidation Legislation not Bush.

It seems that ABC is going ... (Below threshold)
ZackSD:

It seems that ABC is going to reschedule the 2nd part for Saturday in San Diego to Saturday because they say of the Charger and Oakland game. Is this national? It seems to me that they could have picked any other day Tuesday - Thursday if they wanted to, but instead picked a day with low viewership. Perhaps the Democrats will let ABC to keep their license. "ABC: We the people would have stood beside you had the Democrats tried to yank your license."

But you have to pay for it ... (Below threshold)

But you have to pay for it so i can use the time for you.




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