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September 08, 2006

ABC Backpedals: I Question the Bullsh*t

From The Hollywood Reporter (via Drudge):

ABC issued a defense Thursday of its controversial miniseries "The Path to 9/11," which has come under fire from members of the Clinton administration.

The network released a statement saying that the five-hour telefilm, which airs Sunday and Monday nights, is not meant to be a documentary but a "dramatization" of the events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

So far, so good. No surprises here. Clinton, Albright and Burglar not happy, etc., etc., rising chorus of critics assailing, yada, yada, yada. Wait - what's this?

However, ABC left open the possibility that the scenes that have been criticized could still be removed from the miniseries, which will be subject to edit before air.

Huh?

"No one has seen the final version of the film because the editing process is not yet complete, so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible," ABC said. [Emphasis mine]

That's funny, I could have sworn I read this just the other day in Variety.

Because the miniseries' actual length is less than the six-hour, two-night block in which it's scheduled to run, ABC has had to make other plans to fill the time following the conclusions of both parts.

ABC News has already prepared a special documentary hosted by Charlie Gibson to air following the end of night two of the mini, just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 11. Alphabet is still finalizing plans for the roughly 10 minutes of airtime left at the conclusion of night one, on Sept. 10.

And, yes, I do understand that editors routinely cut and add to films with a specific running time in mind, but read the Variety article again [emphasis mine]:

Because the miniseries' actual length is less than the six-hour, two-night block in which it's scheduled to run, ABC has had to make other plans to fill the time following the conclusions of both parts.

ABC News has already prepared a special documentary hosted by Charlie Gibson to air following the end of night two of the mini, just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 11. Alphabet is still finalizing plans for the roughly 10 minutes of airtime left at the conclusion of night one, on Sept. 10.

Sounds to me like they were scrambling to find something relevant to air at the conclusion of both nights of programming, which would suggest that they were done editing. If they weren't, I would think they would be able to add at least ten minutes, even if they already had the Gibson documentary "in the can" (that's Hollywood lingo).

And what about the 900 or so preview DVDs that were sent to critics, pundits, bloggers and hobos? Did ABC send those out while they were still "tweaking" the film?

Hey, ABC - you want to buckle, it's your call, but try to come up with a better excuse. Maybe your dog ate the final edited version. Or it mysteriously disapperared after Sandy Berger visited the studio.

Oh, and on a side note, it looks like ABC's plan to team with children's media company Scholastic to make available to high school students an online study guide about the events of 9/11 has fallen through. According to Scholastic's president and CEO Dick Robinson:

"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."

Thanks. Dick. I mean, thanks, Dick.

The original materials, which concerned the subject matter of the film, will be replaced with content that addresses more general subjects, including media literacy and critical thinking.

That's right kids: Never forget! (Media literacy and critical thinking, that is).

UPDATE: Commenter bgates notes that someone registered the domain name www.pathto911.com, and pointed it to this page on the web site of the Democratic party (located in the "Petitions" section), where visitors are encouoraged to contact ABC and urge them to keep Path to 9/11 (which the Democrats are calling "a conservative attempt to rewrite the history of September 11 to blame Democrats, just in time for the election.") off the air.

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 bills the two-night production as a public service that is "based on the 9/11 Commission Report". That is false - it is actually a bald-faced attempt to slander Democrats.

"The Path to 9/11" is a conservative attempt to rewrite the history of September 11th to blame Democrats. 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."
Tell Walt Disney president Robert Iger that you hold his company responsible -- and that this community demands that ABC tell the truth.

Mr. Iger,

"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.

This film is a conservative attempt to rewrite the history of September 11 to blame Democrats, just in time for the election. You should honor the trust the public has given you with our public airwaves by keeping this propaganda off the air.

Sincerely,

Liberals demanding truth from a television network. My irony meter just imploded.


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posted by John From WuzzaDem at 05:49 PM

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