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Old 09-06-2006, 09:26 PM   #1
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The Path to 9/11 - docudrama or propaganda?

Judah brought this up in the thread about the 9/11 documentary on CBS, but I thought it deserved its own thread.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003087654
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Old 09-06-2006, 09:29 PM   #2
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OK...the link isn't working for some reason. Now I know why I never start threads in here. I'll try copying and pasting some of the actual article instead.
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Old 09-06-2006, 09:36 PM   #3
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From Editor and Publisher:

NEW YORK - Just bubbling up from the blogs into the mainstream press -- a New York Times article appears today -- is debate over the "The Path to 911," the TV movie to be aired on ABC this coming Sept. 10 and 11. Liberals have charged that it reportedly pins most of the blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on President Clinton, often citing conservative bloggers or talk show hosts who made this very point after attending screenings.

Meanwhile, at least two real-life figures portrayed in the movie, Richard Clarke and Sandy Berger, have raised factual objections. ABC, and an adviser to the series -- former Gov. Thomas Kean, co-chair of the 9/11 Commission -- have said it is balanced and objective, and a docudrama, not literal truth.

But few of its critics have actually seen the film. E&P obtained an advance review copy on Tuesday, and we summarize the film below. It's possible that some changes may have been, or will be, made in this cut.

The nearly four-and-a-half-hour film, based on a script by Cyrus Nowrasteh and directed by David Cunningham, stars Harvey Keitel. It is ambitious and striking in execution, often relying on handheld cameras, tight close-ups and creative visuals.

The first half, to be aired Sunday, explores the terrorist threat starting with the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center, and there is little question that President Clinton is dealt with severely, almost mockingly, with the Lewinsky scandal closely tied to his failure to cripple al-Qaeda.

"The Path to 9/11" ends with a long segment on the day of the attacks and top officials' response -- though we only see President Bush in his speech to the nation, not in the Florida classroom with "The Pet Goat."

The attention on Clinton's culpability arrives about halfway through Part I, following the successful prosecution of several men involved in the 1993 WTC bombing. Keitel, an FBI security expert and clearly a tough-guy hero in this story, mentions Osama bin Laden (or "the tall one") for the first time. Richard Clarke, the White House terrorism expert and another sage in this story, agrees "we're at war." [CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Clarke was an adviser to the film. He was not. ]

After ABC airs an interview with bin Laden, O'Neill gets the okay to "snatch" bin Laden if he can, with a legal OK from the Justice Dept.
U.S. operatives hook up with Massoud, the anti-Taliban leader of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, and he takes them to a village where bin Laden is staying. A 15-man attack team is formed.

Meanwhile, back at CIA headquarters in Langley, the nervous Nellies -- i.e. Sandy Berger, the Clinton national security adviser, and (off and on) CIA director George Tenet -- raise questions, such as how to get money for this program, how covert should it be, aren't women and children in the village at risk? Besides, Massoud is a drug dealer. A decision is put off.

Clarke explains to O'Neill afterward that "they are worried about political fallout" and "legalities." O'Neill complains that terrorism is "perceived by this administration as a law and order problem." A CIA planner angrily declares, "It's not about sitting around a conference room covering your ass."

Right away comes a quick cut to Clinton making his famous statement about not having "sexual relations" with Lewinsky. Clarke tells O'Neill that Clinton won't give the order to get bin Laden in this climate, with Republicans calling for his impeachment. O'Neill says that Clinton wants bin Laden dead -- but not if he has to order it. "It's pathetic," he declares.

Back in Afghanistan, the operatives plan for the snatch job anyway, hoping for approval once it's clear they have their man. One night, they call Langley -- they are ready to get bin Laden, he is nearby. "Do we have clearance?" they ask. Berger says he doesn't have authority, he would have to check, they're not all on "the same page."

A CIA official tells Berger the president has approved snatches in the past. Berger wonders about the quality of the intelligence. The CIA woman says it's never 100%. With that, Berger punts and asks Tenet if HE wants to offer a recommendation to the president. Tenet asks: Why does the buck always stop with me, like with the Waco disaster?

At that point, Berger simply hangs up -- and the operatives abroad pack up and leave. Massoud asks if they are "all cowards in Washington." Again there is an immediate cut to Clinton, parsing sexual terms in his taped testimony on the Lewinsky case -- and then a clip of him hugging Monica. (The New York Times story today -- see below -- notes that Clarke disputes much of this scenario.)

A little later in the film, the U.S. embassy in Nairobi is attacked, with many deaths. A CIA agent in tears yells at Tenet, saying he should have ordered the killing of bin Laden when they had the chance. O'Neill to Clarke: "Clinton has to do SOMETHING."

It's now August 1998. In the White House Situation Room, Tenet and Clarke say we need to move on the Taliban, who are protecting bin Laden. A new character, Secretary of State Madeline Albright, says that is too "major" an operaton, "The president is not willing to go that far." They should focus solely on bin Laden.

Finally Clinton acts. Told that bin Laden is meeting in an isolated location in Afghanistan on Aug. 20, 1998, Clinton orders attacks there, as well as taking out a chemical arms factory in the Sudan. But the chemical warehouse turns out to be a pharmaceutical plant, and bin Laden escapes from the other attacks, only raising his stature among his followers. A reporter notes that Republicans and "pundits" are accusing Clinton of acting only to divert attention from the Lewinsky scandal.

An angry Massoud says that the attacks failed because the U.S. told Pakistan about them in advance. Tenet asks Albright about this and she confirms it, saying regional factors had to be considered. Berger pipes up, saying covert operations usually don't work or backfire -- look at the Bay of Pigs. Now Tenet is steamed and he goes on a rant.

Cut to O'Neill at a bar, praising Tenet for showing "cujones."

Part I ends with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad meeting with bin Laden in 1999 to discuss "the plane operation." Later Mohammad is told that bin Laden approves, but feels 10 planes are too many -- they won't be able to find that many reliable hijackers. He is also told that the target is important, for they need to maximize casualties.

PART II

Part II picks up with O'Neill learning of the bombing of the USS Cole in October, 2000. Again Clinton's crew gets hammered in this narrative. Clinton's ambassador to Yemen (a she-devil played by Patricia Heaton) won't let O'Neill do his job.

Clarke is shown advocating massive attacks on al-Qaeda camps but Albright and others say there's not enough proof that bin Laden was behind the Cole attack -- and Clinton has priorities more urgent than a "rogue attack" on some "caves."

Much of the story then shifts to the plans and movements by the hijackers. For some reason, ringleader Atta is about 15 times better looking than the original.

We also see Clarke warning Secretary of State Rice of a "spike" in terror warnings -- he wants to meet personally with Bush -- but she assures him that the president is "on it." Later she tells Clarke that his terrorism job is being "redefined" and he objects.

O'Neill, meanwhile, is thinking about quitting because "despite the red flags no one is taking terrorism seriously." But the script focuses on the CIA and FBI not sharing information, the FBI not acting on warnings about flight schools, and other slip-ups -- not any true lack of interest in the White House. O'Neill partly blames "political correctness."

Tenet complains that there are so many threats coming they are "overloaded," they need more analysts and translators, and more "actionable" tips. O'Neill quits and becomes head of security at -- the World Trade Center. Along the way we get subtle endorsements for the Patriot Act and airport profiling.

But what about the famous Aug. 6, 2001 "PDB" that warned the president about bin Laden's determination to strike within the U.S.? We see Secretary Rice reading it in private and looking concerned, but we never see the president's reaction.

However, on Sept. 4, 2001, Rice tells officials that thanks to the warnings in the PDB, the president is convinced al-Qaeda is a "real threat ... the president is tired of swatting flies." She seems to advocate taking some strong action and Clarke agrees, but Tenet argues against it. So in this telling, it appears that President Bush is in the vigilant/aggressive camp, perhaps thwarted by Clinton holdover Tenet.

Finally we see how this plays out tragically on Sept. 11, 2001. O'Neill dies inside the WTC. Much attention is given to the decision to shoot down United flight 93, but the movie's time frame now badly needs fixing given the recent revelations about what officials knew about that flight and when. The president, in any case, seems firmly in control, appearing on TV to promise help for all, and declaring, "terrorism against our nation will not stand."

The film closes with a statement that the 9/11 Commission has given many failing grades on the response to its recommendations.

To state again: This was a review copy of the film and tweaks have possibly already been made. ABC announced Tueday it would air the film without commercials due to its sensitive and controversial nature.

***

The New York Times story today notes ABC's claims of objectivity but points out that "some critics -- including Richard A. Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar -- questioned a scene that depicted several American military officers on the ground in Afghanistan. In a posting on ThinkProgress.org, and in a phone interview, Mr. Clarke said no military personnel or C.I.A. agents were ever in position to capture Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan, nor did the leader of the Northern Alliance get that near to his camp.

"It didn't happen," Mr. Clarke said. "There were no troops in Afghanistan about to snatch bin Laden. There were no C.I.A. personnel about to snatch bin Laden. It's utterly invented."

"Mr. Clarke, an on-air consultant to ABC News, said he was particularly shocked by a scene in which it seemed Clinton officials simply hung up the phone on an agent awaiting orders in the field. 'It's 180 degrees from what happened,' he said. 'So, yeah, I think you would have to describe that as deeply flawed.'"

"ABC responded Tuesday with a statement saying that the miniseries was 'a dramatization, not a documentary, drawn from a variety of sources, including the 9/11 commission report, other published materials and from personal interviews.'"

Gov. Kean said the scene in Afghanistan and the attempt to get bin Laden "is a composite."
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Old 09-06-2006, 11:08 PM   #4
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I'm sure the "family" groups won't have any problem with this one.
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Old 09-07-2006, 02:12 AM   #5
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This protest is great, it merely attracts attention to what Sandy Berger was stuffing down his pants.
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Old 09-07-2006, 02:12 AM   #6
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It's gotta be better than this.

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Old 09-07-2006, 08:33 AM   #7
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Why does it have to be better than Fahrenheit 9/11? I read that supposedly people involved in the production have a conservative agenda, so why is that any better than Michael Moore's liberal agenda?

Apparently they're also having tie ins in schools and it has been screened for conservatives, while Clinton can't get a copy of it.

"but ABC itself has failed to answer questions about the dubious way it has arranged for conservative partisans to view the program prior to air date"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-b...u_b_28879.html

"But now comes the revelation that ABC has teamed up with education publishing giant Scholastic to spread misinformation about Iraq and Bush's War on Terrorism to millions of American high school students; students who might take part in ABC's sponsored teach-in surrounding "The Path to 9/11," which airs Sept. 10-11. Looking at the clear anti-Clinton factual errors included in the mini-series as well as the clear pro-Bush factual errors included in the classroom text, it's hard to pass the pair off as a coincidence.

As Media Matters for America first reported, the ABC and Scholastic-produced "Discussion Guide for the Classroom" that provides background information to students about 9/11 and the Middle East, is "rife with conservative misinformation." For instance, there's this reference to the invasion of Iraq:

The dictatorial government of Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003, following an invasion led by the United States.The U.S. government believed that Hussein had been developing weapons of mass destruction that he planned to use against American and other targets.

That's it, period. No mention of the glaringly obvious point that no WMD's were ever found in Iraq and that the Bush administration entire rationale for war turned out to be a fallacy. Yet this slick classroom guide is supposed to help 16, 17, and 18-year-olds better understand American history?

And there's this:

Bush has led the United States into Afghanistan and Iraq and reorganized the national government in an attempt to combat terrorist activity.

The classroom guide for "The Path to 9/11" clearly ties the attacks of Sept. 11, the Taliban and Iraq all together. In fact, the Scholastic text states at the very beginning:

The information below will help you become familiar with the people, places, and organizations that played a role in the events of 9/11 and those that led up to that tragic day.

But what does Iraq have to do with the events "that led up to that tragic day"? The answer, of course, is nothing. But that doesn't stop Scholastics from informing students:

Following are short descriptions of some of the countries [i.e. Iraq] and groups that were involved in some way with the terrorist attacks. [Emphasis added.] "
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:54 AM   #8
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yeah - we all know ABC is a Right Wing controlled propaganda machine...lol
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Old 09-07-2006, 10:41 AM   #9
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Originally posted by AEON
yeah - we all know ABC is a Right Wing controlled propaganda machine...lol


no, but it furthers the evidence that there is no such thing as a "liberal media."
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Old 09-07-2006, 11:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Why does it have to be better than Fahrenheit 9/11? I read that supposedly people involved in the production have a conservative agenda, so why is that any better than Michael Moore's liberal agenda?

Because it fits his agenda...
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Old 09-07-2006, 11:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen

The classroom guide for "The Path to 9/11" clearly ties the attacks of Sept. 11, the Taliban and Iraq all together. In fact, the Scholastic text states at the very beginning:

The information below will help you become familiar with the people, places, and organizations that played a role in the events of 9/11 and those that led up to that tragic day. "
Thanks, MrsS.

Might as well start working on misleading new would-be voters while they're in highschool, i guess. Bush Co. realize the polling numbers are declining re: Americans' belief that 9/11 and Saddam are linked. Three years ago it was in the 70s or something (if not higher). It's now down in the 40s...which is still quite ridiculous, but at least it's headed in the right direction:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/...oll/index.html

"Asked whether former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 52 percent said he was not, but 43 percent said they believe he was."
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Old 09-07-2006, 12:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Why does it have to be better than Fahrenheit 9/11? I read that supposedly people involved in the production have a conservative agenda, so why is that any better than Michael Moore's liberal agenda?
That's simple. Conservative agendas are better than liberal agendas.
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:05 PM   #13
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That's simple. Conservative agendas are better than liberal agendas.
Really? How so?

http://thinkprogress.org/?tag=Terrorism

"ABC will air a “docudrama” next weekend called “The Path to 9/11″ which blames President Clinton for the 9/11 attacks while praising President Bush.

The writer of the movie is an unabashed conservative named Cyrus Nowrasteh. Last year, Nowrasteh spoke on a panel titled, “Rebels With a Cause: How Conservatives Can Lead Hollywood’s Next Paradigm Shift.” He has described Michael Moore as “an out of control socialist weasel,” and conducted interviews with right-wing websites like FrontPageMag.

The problem isn’t that Nowrasteh is conservative. The problem is that Nowrasteh and ABC are representing “The Path to 9/11″ as an unbiased historical drama. Promos for the movie say it is “based on the 9/11 Commission Report.” Nowrasteh claims he “wanted to match the just-the-facts tone of the report,” and describes the project as “an objective telling of the events of 9/11.”

Here’s some of the objectivity you can expect: Nowrasteh says the film shows how Clinton had “frequent opportunities…in the 90s to stop Bin Laden in his tracks — but lacked the will to do so.” He has referenced Clinton’s “lack of response” to Al Qaeda “and how this emboldened Bin Laden to keep attacking American interests.” A review today in Salon.com says the film paints Clinton “as a buffoon more interested in blow jobs than terrorists.”
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:45 PM   #14
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Really? How so?
An agenda is nothing more than a goal or a plan, and because I'm a conservative, I say that conservative agendas are better than liberal agendas. Liberals would say that liberal agendas are better than conservative agendas.
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Old 09-07-2006, 02:00 PM   #15
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ABC will air a “docudrama” next weekend called “The Path to 9/11″ which blames President Clinton for the 9/11 attacks while praising President Bush.
So I'm guessing the film has no shot at winning this years prestigious Cannes' Palme d'Or.

Quote:
A review today in Salon.com says the film paints Clinton “as a buffoon more interested in blow jobs than terrorists.”
As opposed to Fahrenheit 9/11 which more even-handedly paints Bush as a pawn of Big Oil/House of Saud/Haliburton who vacations year-round and sat dumbfounded and glassy eyed (with a copy of 'My Pet Goat'), waiting for his handlers to tell him what to do upon learning of the attacks on the WTC.

I wasn't even planning on watching 'The Path to 9/11' but if it's already being attacked this early and this hard by the defenders of Clinton's legacy...well, I'm just going to have to see what all the hubub is about.
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