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ABC/Disney's 'Path to 9/11' meltdown

A PR nightmare. Richard at All Spin Zone notes that Scholastic, which had partnered with ABC to produce study guides/propaganda for download, has yanked links to the material from its web site.

Two days ago, I wrote about Scholastic Books catapulting the “Path to 9/11” propaganda.  More than 400 comments were made at a crossposting that I did on Daily Kos, the vast majority of the comments containing excellent suggestions for action, and outrage that Scholastic would be supporting this crock-u-mentary with propaganda reinforcement.

Scholastic was flooded with calls and emails of protest and righteous indignation. Tonight, the material is no longer on Scholastic’s website.  Poof.  Disappeared.

From a comment in this subsequent DKos diary, the commentor tried to click through on the link to Scholastic’s resource website earlier this evening.  This is the link we were all hitting yesterday for our research.

Tonight, the link comes up to a blank search page.

Thinking this was merely a site problem or something, I did a quick search of the Scholastic website.

Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch. Bupkis.

Someone’s ass is on fire over there. It will be interesting to see whether Scholastic intends to release a statement about the matter.

***

Meanwhile, overnight, it seems like an explosion of more information has come out about this fantasy melodrama about 9/11, via Ablog:

* More former Clinton administration officials have weighed in, including Bruce Lindsey. That’s a sign that while Bill Clinton may not be saying much publicly about this matter, behind the scenes he’s piping mad and has set the dogs loose.
* Editor and Publisher magazine has found even more significant errors in the tv show.
* The Democratic Party issued a vicious letter attacking Disney for interfering with the national elections, and implying quite strongly that Disney may pay a price with their broadcast licenses. [A letter-writing campaign is here.]
* A Disney/ABC insider’s email leaks proving that the intent behind this show is to blame Clinton for everything, and causing Disney/ABC a major embarrassment.
* 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste goes on national TV to blast the show.
* A top former Bush counterterrorism official goes on national TV to blast the show.
* The Washington Post writes a damning front-section story on the entire affair for tomorrow’s paper.

And, of course, the filmmakers decided that the whole “Pet Goat” debacle simply didn’t need to be portrayed in the film — it’s irrelevant, right?

My personal favorite nuclear bomb about this meltdown went off this AM in the NYT. ABC admits it’s editing the miniseries up until air date. Gee, are they just realizing the number of outright lies in the film?

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.

…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.

.. 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.

Remember, this film was sent out to 100,000 teachers to share with students as teaching material…portraying it as a FACTUAL study guide. This is about rewriting history. Two of the lies…

* 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.”

* [Sandy] 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.”

With all the complaints about Oliver Stone’s JFK being a rewrite of history — he was scorched in the media at the time — there was never any attempt by the filmmaker to pimp the film as a study guide to teach young people about an historical event. ABC is in a sh*tstorm of trouble over this.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding