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Remembering 9/11, Democrat style

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:07 pm
by wolfpak
Censorship anyone...?

ABC's 9/11 film incenses Democrats
Political assertions made in miniseries and learning guide
By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | September 8, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Amid pressure from Democrats, Scholastic Corp. yesterday backed off its plans to distribute learning guides to schools in conjunction with a controversial ``docudrama" that is set to air on ABC this weekend.

The made-for-TV movie, ``The Path to 9/11," has prompted howls from Democrats who argue that ABC is engaging in a partisan attack by airing a film that fictionalizes events to portray President Bill Clinton and his top aides failing to take action to eliminate Osama bin Laden during the 1990s.

The study guide Scholastic produced and posted on its website for high school students included several politically explosive statements, including a suggestion that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had a role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Scholastic issued a statement yesterday saying it was removing the materials from its website. Instead, the children's publishing company said it will produce and distribute a new discussion guide that ``will focus more specifically on media literacy, critical thinking, and historical background."

``After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues," said Dick Robinson, Scholastic's president and chief executive.

The planned airing of the docudrama just two months before congressional elections has sparked a political firestorm. With Monday's fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, President Bush and Republicans in Congress are ramping up their efforts to emphasize their national-security credentials -- and are eager to paint Democrats as weak in fighting terrorism.

Congressional Democrats reiterated calls for ABC yesterday to pull the broadcast or include a continual on-screen disclaimer labeling the work as fiction.

``This is obviously aimed at influencing the midterm elections," said Representative Louise M. Slaughter, a New York Democrat. ``Saying upfront that it's not true is not good enough. It's got to be in every frame: `This is not true.' "

The film purports to be based on the 9/11 Commission report, although it includes a disclaimer at the beginning calling it a ``dramatization" and not a documentary. Clinton and some of his top administration officials -- including Madeleine K. Albright, former secretary of state, and Samuel R. ``Sandy" Berger, former national security adviser -- have objected to their portrayals and have demanded changes.

In the film, Berger is seen refusing to authorize a 1998 raid designed to capture bin Laden, events that were contradicted by the 9/11 Commission. The film also suggests that Clinton was distracted from antiterrorism efforts by the Monica Lewinsky affair and impeachment proceedings, another point on which the 9/11 Commission differed.

ABC plans to air the film in two three-hour segments Sunday and Monday evenings, with no commercials. Network officials did not return calls for comment.

On ABC's blog for the film, screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh defended the film as ``well-supported and well-documented," though clearly a dramatization, and said no political agenda was involved.

``We cover the failures and mistakes of two administrations -- as well as the successes," Nowrasteh wrote. ``People need to watch both nights of the miniseries before drawing conclusions."

The Democratic National Committee is organizing a letter-writing campaign to ABC's parent company, Walt Disney, to urge the film be withdrawn. Senate Democratic leaders sent a letter yesterday to Disney's president, Robert A. Iger, urging him to cancel the broadcasts.

``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," the senators wrote. ``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."

Democrats have pointed out that Nowrasteh spoke last year on a panel aimed at bringing a conservative tilt to Hollywood. Conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh received an advance copy of the film and has raved about it on the air.

Representative James P. Moran, a Virginia Democrat, called the film ``a clear attempt to rewrite history." He said ABC's turning to Nowrasteh to write the film is the equivalent of a network contracting with liberal Michael Moore.

``I would expect the Republican Party to scream bloody murder" in such a case, said Moran, whose congressional district includes the Pentagon, one of the sites attacked on 9/11.

In discussing the war in Iraq, the Scholastic materials also say US officials believed Hussein ``had been developing weapons of mass destruction that he planned to use against American and other targets," but did not add no such weapons were found after the US invasion.

Remembering 9/11, Democrat style

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:48 pm
by emma
I'm not even going there.

Remembering 9/11, Democrat style

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:52 pm
by wolfpak
I understand. What else is there to say?

Remembering 9/11, Democrat style

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:10 pm
by emma
Oh, there's plenty to say. I'm just not going there. [img]images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

Remembering 9/11, Democrat style

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:12 pm
by wolfpak
Censorship is the control of speech and other forms of human expression. In many (but not all) cases, it is exercised by governing bodies. The visible motive of censorship is often to stabilize or improve the society that the government would have control over. It is most commonly applied to acts that occur in public circumstances, and most formally involves the suppression of ideas by criminalizing or regulating expression. Furthermore, discussion of censorship often includes less formal means of controlling perceptions by excluding various ideas from mass communication. What is censored may range from specific words to entire concepts and it may be influenced by value systems.

Remembering 9/11, Democrat style

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:17 pm
by emma
Thanks for the vocabulary lesson. I wasn't sure what censorship meant.

Remembering 9/11, Democrat style

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:31 pm
by wolfpak
OK then, what is your point?