Saturday, September 09, 2006

Path To 9-11? Or Path To Disaster?

Over at Daily Kos, DemFromCT has further analysis of the “Path to 9-11”/ABC/Disney brouhaha, in which he mentions (in passing) the fact that even a number of conservative commentators are starting to be troubled by Disney’s obsession with the” mockudrama.” Following the link to an AlterNet article, one sees that ThinkProgress has assembled a list of well-known conservatives expressing opposition to either the program or ABC’s inept handling of the situation: [I am assuming the emphasis was added by ThinkProgress]

  • John Podhoretz, conservative columnist and Fox News contributor:
The portrait of Albright is an unacceptable revision of recent history and an unfair mark on a public servant who, no matter her shortcomings, doesn’t deserve to be remembered by millions of Americans as the inadvertent (and truculent) savior of Osama bin Laden. Samuel Berger, Clinton’s national security adviser, also seems to have just cause for complaint. [NYPost, 9/8/06]
  • James Taranto, editor:
The Clintonites may have a point here. A few years ago, when the shoe was on the other foot, we were happy to see CBS scotch “The Reagans.” [OpinionJournal, /7/06]
  • Dean Barnett, conservative commentator posting on Hugh Hewitt’s blog:
One can (if one so chooses) give the filmmakers artistic license to [fabricate a scene]. But if that is what they have done, conservative analysts who back this movie as a historical document will mortgage their credibility doing so. [Hugh Hewitt blog, 9/6/06]
  • Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday anchor:
When you put somebody on the screen and say that’s Madeleine Albright and she said this in a specific conversation and she never did say it, I think it’s slanderous, I think it’s defamatory and I think that ABC and Disney should be held to account. [Fox, 9/8/06]
  • Captain’s Quarters blog:
If the Democrats do not like what ABC wants to broadcast, they have every right to protest it — and in this case, they had a point.
[Captain Quarter’s blog, 9/7/06]
  • Bill Bennett, conservative author, radio host, and TV commentator:
Look, “The Path to 9/11″ is strewn with a lot of problems and I think there were problems in the Clinton administration. But that’s no reason to falsify the record, falsify conversations by either the president or his leading people and you know it just shouldn’t happen. [CNN, 9/8/06]
  • Seth Liebsohn, Claremont Institute fellow and produce of Bill Bennett’s radio show:
I oppose this miniseries as well if it is fiction dressed up as fact, creates caricatures of real persons and events that are inaccurate, and inserts quotes that were not uttered, especially to make a point that was not intended. [Glenn Greewald’s blog, 9/7/06]
  • Richard Miniter, conservative author of “Losing bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror”:
If people wanted to be critical of the Clinton years there’s things they could have said, but the idea that someone had bin Laden in his sights in 1998 or any other time and Sandy Berger refused to pull the trigger, there’s zero factual basis for that. [CNN, 9/7/06]
  • Brent Bozell, founder and president of the conservative Media Research Center:
I think that if you have a scene, or two scenes, or three scenes, important scenes, that do not have any bearing on reality and you can edit them, I think they should edit them. [MSNBC, 9/6/06]
  • Bill O’Reilly, Fox News pundit:
Ok, we’re talking about the run up to 9-11 and this movie that they’re re-cutting now — and they should because it puts words in the mouth of real people, actors playing real people that they didn’t say and its wrong. [O’Reilly radio show, 9/8/06]

It would seem to me that with a line-up like this expressing reservations about the program, ABC and Disney ought to think seriously about scrapping the whole project.

Of course, it’s not just the pundits – on both sides of the fence – that pose potential problems for Disney. There is also a movement afoot to boycott the various Disney enterprises… including Disney World, Disneyland, and Euro Disney. In a way, this is a delightful development: many on the far right are angry with Disney for the gay-pride parades and other gay-friendly activities at the Disney parks, and now the left is angry with them. Kinda sounds like a “no win” situation to me.

Oh, my… John Aravosis at AmericaBlog has a post up with yet another factual error from the movie:

[…] I have the entire "Path to 9/11" video. And one of the very first scenes makes it explicitly clear that American Airlines had Mohammad Atta in its grasp, warning lights flashing on the computer screen, yet the airline simply blew off the threat and helped Atta kill 3,000 Americans.

Unfortunately, it's a total lie.

Here's what the "Path to 9/11" claims American Airlines did on the morning of September 11. According to Disney/ABC, American Airlines had Mohammad Atta at its ticket counter and a warning came up on the screen when he tried to check in. The AA employee called a supervisor who kind of shrugged and said, blithely, just let him through. The first employee, shocked, turned to her supervisor and said, shouldn't we search him? The American Airlines supervisor responds, nah, just hold his luggage until he boards the plane. The scene is clearly intended to make American Airlines look negligent.

Only problem? It never happened.

First off, Disney/ABC got the airport wrong. The warning for Mohammad Atta's ticket popped up in Portland, Maine, not at Boston Logan as the tv show claims (this is on page 1 of the September 11 Commission report).

Second, the security rules at the time said nothing about searching a passenger who has a "warning" pop up, they only required that the bags be held until the passenger boarded. The Disney/ABC tv show, on the other hand, clearly tries to imply that American Airlines violated the security rules in letting Atta go. This simply isn't true. (This is also on page 1 of the report.)

But most importantly, Disney/ABC implicated the wrong airline. And I quote the Director of the FBI:

On September 11, at 6:00 AM, Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari boarded a U.S. Airways flight leaving Portland, Maine en route to Boston's Logan Airport.

The 9/11 Report, on page 1 of all things, makes clear that it was in Portland that Atta's warning came up. And FBI director Mueller makes clear that Atta flew US Airways Express from Portland to Boston. So, Disney/ABC, in the first ten minutes of its error-riddled tv show - a show about to be broadcast to the entire English-speaking world this Sunday - paints American Airlines as one of the most irresponsible air carriers on the planet. An air carrier that is directly responsible for killing 3,000 Americans because its own employees are too lazy to follow safety rules.

And Disney/ABC got it totally wrong, defaming one of the largest airlines in the world.

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