Friday, September 08, 2006

Variety: ABC Might Yank Miniseries

NOTE: Mediaweek says the miniseries is still scheduled to air.

This story was first posted yesterday, so it's unclear how up-to-date it is. But Variety did report that ABC is actively considering yanking the entire 9-11 miniseries. Like many outlets, Variety is now painting this as bloggers or partisans or Clinton officials versus ABC.
But much in the same way right-wing groups mobilized to attack CBS' "The Reagans" a few years ago, Democratic partisans were doing everything they could to discredit ABC's "The Path to 9/11."
Actually, no one had to do much to discredit it -- ABC took care of that itself by making an error-riddled film it pretended was based on the 9-11 Commission Report. In fact, the outcry has come from the left and the right; it is widespread and it is consistent: ABC played fast and loose with the facts over a national tragedy that is still fresh in the minds of all Americans. That's why they are in trouble. Variety also refers to "alleged inaccuracies" when in fact they're not "alleged" at all. The inaccuracies are incontrovertible -- ABC first tried to defend them as creative license; now they are editing some of the more egregious ones out. Here's where they truly get it wrong:
At least one Hollywood producer empathized with ABC, noting the firestorm of criticism is the latest example of partisan groups attempting to use their clout to bully nets and producers into serving up noncontroversial portraits of political and social matters. Even if the Dems are right in their criticism, the producer noted, ABC should be able to air its take.

"How many miniseries have there been on the Kennedys? Did anybody complain as they dragged them through the mud?" the producer said. "Starting with 'The Reagans,' everything is now political. It's become so divisive and nasty. It's very sad."
Nice try. No one is raising an uproar because they made a film about 9-11. People are in an uproar because ABC made a film about 9-11 that distorts and lies about the fact. ABC made a film with a writer with an acknowledged right wing agenda and they knew exactly what they were doing because they reached out ONLY to right wing bloggers and Republicans. Again, there have been DOZENS of documentaries, docu-dramas, fictional films, books and even comic books depicting 9-11. The BBC just aired a documentary last night. NONE OF THEM created a firestorm of protest because they all strove to be non-partisan and get the facts right. (The lone exception: Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9-11" and only two brief moments in that film have ever been questioned on the facts. Moore spouts a lot of opinion, but the facts he presented were basically accurate and on the public record.) ABC politicized a national tragedy and they probably didn't think anyone would care because Bush has been getting away with that for the past five years.

Here are some of the works presented on 9-11 that DIDN"T create controversy:

The 9-11 Commission Report
World Trade Center
United 93
National Geographic: Inside 9-11
9-11: The Twin Towers (last night's BBC documentary)
The 9-11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Endless TV specials and reports

Just remember, you can cover 9-11 with a respect for the facts. When you don't (and ABC is the biggest media outlet to do so with such reckless disregard for the truth), you will pay a price.

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