Thursday, September 07, 2006

Disney's Republican wetdream of 9/11

[Update below]

Since ABC's Path to 9/11 moved to the nation's attention last week, there has been a growing anger on the part of Dems about the outright lies and falsification of facts contained in the putative "docudrama." Tag lines in the advetisements claim that what appears to be pure fiction is based on the 9/11 commission report. As worthless as that document is, ABC's claim is also pure fiction. The script was written by rightwing nutjobs, one of whom, Cyrus Nowrasteh, claims as his friend a one Rush Limbaugh.

I just got this letter today from the DNC, which I will reproduce in full. The Dems are steamed and rightly so. This bald-faced GOP propaganda, emitted as it will be just before an election that is posing a serious threat to GOP majorities in both the House and Senate, should be banned as illegal corporate campaigning. Disney should be ashamed but, of course, this is not the first time they've knuckled under to Republican interests, as when they refused to distribute Fahrenheit 911.


Dear ________,

Does a major national broadcast network want to stain itself by presenting an irresponsible, slanderous, fraudulent, "docu-drama" to the American public?

Not if you and I have the last word -- but either way, we're about to find out.

The ABC television network -- a cog in the Walt Disney empire -- unleashed a promotional blitz in the last week for a new "docudrama" called "The Path to 9/11". ABC has thrown its corporate might behind the two-night production, and bills it as a public service: a TV event, to quote the ABC tagline, "based on the 9/11 Commission Report".

That's false. "The Path to 9/11" is actually a bald-faced attempt to slander Democrats and revise history right before Americans vote in a major election.

The miniseries, which was put together by right-wing conservative writers, relies on the old GOP playbook of using terrorism to scare Americans. "The Path to 9/11" mocks the truth and dishonors the memory of 9/11 victims to serve a cheap, callous political agenda. It irresponsibly misrepresents the facts and completely distorts the truth.

ABC/Disney executives need to hear from the public and understand that their abuse of the public trust comes with a cost. Tell Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger to keep this right-wing propaganda off the air -- we'll deliver your message:

http://www.democrats.org/pathto911

This story is breaking quickly. The bias of the "docudrama" only became known when ABC began circulating previews recently. Less than two weeks ago, 9/11 Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste confronted a lead writer of "The Path to 9/11" after watching the first half of the miniseries at a screening, but most of what we know amounts to bits and pieces because ABC chose to screen the miniseries to conservative bloggers and right-wing media outlets exclusively. Almost none of the Democrats portrayed in the film have even been asked for their thoughts.

But we still know enough, thanks to news accounts and crack research, to fact check "The Path to 9/11" as a biased, irresponsible mess. Here's what you need to know:

  • Richard Clarke -- the counterterrorism czar for the Clinton administration, now himself a consultant to ABC News -- describes a key scene in "The Path to 9/11" as "180 degrees from what happened." In the scene, a CIA field agent places a phone call to get the go ahead to kill Osama Bin Laden, then in his sights, only to have a senior Clinton administration official refuse and hang up the phone. Sandy Berger, President Clinton's National Security Advisor, called the same scene "a total fabrication. It did not happen." And Roger Cressey, a top Bush and Clinton counterterrorism official, said it was "something straight out of Disney and fantasyland. It's factually wrong. And that's shameful."
  • Another scene revives the old right-wing myth that press reporting made it impossible to track Osama bin Laden, accusing the Washington Post of blowing the secret that American intelligence tracked his satellite phone calls. In reality, responsibility for that blunder -- contrary to "The Path to 9/11" -- rests with none other than the arch-conservative Washington Times.
  • The former National Security Council head of counterterrorism says that President Clinton "approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda," and the 9/11 report says the CIA had full authority from President Clinton to strike Bin Laden. Yet chief "Path to 9/11" scriptwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh, a friend of Rush Limbaugh, says the miniseries shows how President Clinton had "frequent opportunities in the '90s to stop Bin Laden in his tracks -- but lacked the will to do so."
  • ABC asked only the Republican co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean, Sr., to advise the makers of "The Path to 9/11". The producers optioned two books, one written by a Bush administration political appointee, as the basis of the screenplay -- yet bill the miniseries as "based on the 9/11 Commission Report."

This is a picture of bias -- a conservative attempt to rewrite the history of September 11 to blame Democrats, just in time for the election.

Tell Walt Disney president Robert Iger that you hold his company responsible -- and that this community demands that ABC tell the truth:

http://www.democrats.org/pathto911

ABC is trying to use of the airwaves -- airwaves owned by you and me, and loaned to broadcasters as a public trust -- to slander Democrats and sell a slanderous, irresponsible fraud to the American people, and they're shamefully doing it just weeks away from Election Day.

The Walt Disney Corporation could have given Americans an honest look at September 11. Instead, the company abandoned its duty to the truth -- and embraced the fiction known as "The Path to 9/11."

But ABC isn't the only company pushing this gross revision of history. ABC has enlisted the reputable education and children's entertainment company Scholastic, Inc. to send 100,000 letters to high school teachers, urging them to show students "The Path to 9/11". Scholastic has also created a discussion guide for teachers to use to encourage students and their families to watch this irresponsible fraud and then discuss it in school. The discussion guide does not in any way point out the concerns and criticisms that have been raised about the validity and accuracy of the film.

We've got to stop this now.

ABC/Disney must face an accountability moment. You can ratchet up the pressure on ABC by sending your own letter to Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger -- tell him to keep this propaganda off their air.

http://www.democrats.org/pathto911

We'll keep you up to date as this story evolves.

Thank you,
Tom

Tom McMahon
Executive Director
Democratic National Committee


Update: Here is a missive I blasted to President of Disney, Robert Iger. I'm sure he'll get plenty of these.
Quite apart from your blatant bias toward the GOP, as a CEO, you should also recoginze that the broadcast of the egregious Path to 9/11 will not bode well for your company's bottom line. People across the country will boycott Disney and I, for one, will encourage all whom I know to do likewise.

Your false, scurrilous and opportunistic smearing of Clinton and, by extension, Democrats in general, is beneath contempt. What I don't understand is why you clearly support a Republican party that has brought nothing but heartache and disaster to this country and others. Is this now what Disney stands for?

4 Comments:

Anonymous robb said...

This is truly despicable. You cannot get a majority of the US public to read this news (if they did we wouldn't be in this situation) but you can sure as hell get them to watch a "Docudrama" (DocuLie?).

As ABC airs that shit it will be burned into the public's collective memory as fact. Hell, Rove might even make GWB watch it as an educational program.

So again, let me get this straight, Disney wouldn't distribute a largely fact-based Michael Moore film to a paying audience, but they will produce this propaganda, air it for two nights and encourage children to watch it for educational reasons.

What a coup for the RNC.

1:46 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Robb,

You couldn' find a better example of two points in Davidson Loehr's Living under Fascism sermon:

6. Controlled Mass Media

Sometimes the media are directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media are indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

9. Corporate Power is Protected

The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.


Disney's behaviour here should also been in light of Thayer Watkins insistance that fascisim is strongly tied to corporatism, a blending of governmental and corporate interests. Considering the makeup of the current administration, a combination of former CEOs and company directors of major corporations, our government is indistinguishable from any corporate board room. And, the piece de resistance, a Fox News White House spokesman.

With this effort, Disney is certainly aiding the GOP in retaining power this November. Just how long will it be before Democrats begin to realise the forces working against them? They wonder why they can't get a fair shake in the media. This is why.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous robb said...

I wonder if the Fox Network will schedule something that can compete with this program (as networks usually do when another network is running an "event" program.)
I don't think that they would put an American Idol type show against something that supports their "news" network.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous hotpotatomash said...

me thinks the copyright protection, zero-tax, legal pension blowup, media monopoly future will more than make up for the money lost on the boycott.

i'm just gonna chalk this up to the liberal press again. how else to explain the reaction to this docudrama vs. the Reagan miniseries a few years back which, rightly, was moved to cable since it did not portray Ronald as god like. who other than the liberal media could be behind such nefarious things.

2:38 AM  

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