With what may be the funniest caption I’ve seen in quite a while, Keith Olbermann interviewed Richard Ben-Veniste yesterday evening regarding the truthiness of the ABC 9/11 miniseries. Crooks and Liars has the video clip and it’s quite well done and worth a watch.
My favorite part is Tom Kean saying he had the ability to have the writer and producers change inaccuracies in the film — to ensure that it was based on facts and not fiction — and then Olbermann and Ben-Veniste discussing all the factual inaccuracies that Kean allowed to slide right through and into the film. Classic.
Olbermann discussed the false and misleading study guides being given out to kids through Scholastic — although last night, there was some question as to whether those materials had been scrubbed from the Scholastic website. Media Matters has more on the Scholastic materials, and the factual misrepresentations therein. (And they have pulled the PDF’s that Scholastic was touting, so you can still take a peek at them via Media Matters, even though Scholastic has scrubbed the ability to search for them on their website at this point.)
Look, it is perfectly legitimate to provide materials from both sides of the political aisle, to discuss theories with kids in school, to talk about legitimate differences of opinion or approach or philosophy/ideology and political viewpoint. It’s called education in terms of political discourse — and a discussion of how things can be manipulated or used to further one agenda or another is a very, very useful discussion in terms of public education.
What is clearly not acceptable is to provide materials that are slanted or which have facts substantially in dispute — from the very document from which they purport to be gleaned, in this particular case, since the materials in some spots don’t even track the facts in the 9/11 Commission Report — and then fail to label them as "theories" or "spin" or "partisan" or "propoganda" or some other label other than truth. (You know, what your mom and mine called "lying" when we were growing up.)
Because they are NOT truth if they cannot be backed up by facts. Period.
So Scholastic is at least reviewing the fiction versus actual facts in some way, and being responsive to concerns of parents regarding this fictional GOP-U-Drama. What is ABC doing? Well, it’s executives are sending reassuring e-mails to Hugh Hewitt about The Path to 9/11: "‘The Message of the Clinton Admin Failures Remains Fully Intact." And they are still refusing to allow folks from the Clinton Administration to review the film — although Brent Bozell said yesterday evening on MSNBC’s Scarborough show that he’s seen it, too, along with Limbaugh, and Hewitt, and the rest of the wingnut commenters and pundits.
Nope, no agenda there. Nosiree, Mickey.
UPDATE: Bolton confirmation hearings will begin this morning in the Senate. C-Span3 will begin coverage at 9:30 am ET. You can watch online here.
UPDATE #2: The Bolton hearing has not begun as yet — am checking on why.
ThinkProgress has confirmed with Scholastic that the materials are temporarily down — but could not confirm whether changes are being made or anything beyond that, but that materials are still going to be provided to teachers regarding the film.