Democratic Party Attacks ABC’s ‘9/11’

Sep 7, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The political furor over ABC’s “The Path to 9/11” docu-drama escalated again today as top Senate Democrats added their voice to last night’s Democratic National Committee demand that the show be yanked.

“The manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and three other Senate Democrats said Thursday in a letter sent to Walt Disney President and CEO Robert Iger. “Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.”

The new letter was sent days after bloggers and some Clinton administration officials started complaining that the five-hour program airing Sunday and Monday presents a biased view of the lead-up to the terrorist attacks of 2001. DNC Executive Director Tom McMahon denounced the show as “a bold faced lie” in an e-mail sent to more than 3 million Democratic activists.

McMahon also issued a broadside that included a thinly veiled warning to Iger about the repercussions of airing the show.

“ABC is trying to use 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,” he said, urging Democrats to write to Mr. Iger.

“We’ve got to stop this now. ABC/Disney must face an accountability moment. Tell [Iger] to keep this propaganda off their air.”

The Democratic Senate leaders’ involvement builds on a wave of partisan criticism of the film. On Tuesday and Wednesday former Clinton administration National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeline Albright both complained that they had never been provided copies of the program and that scenes in the program seriously misrepresented events.

Ms. Albright called one scene about her “false and defamatory,” while Mr. Berger said a scene in which he is portrayed refusing to order Osama bin Laden’s death was “a fabrication that cannot be justified under any reasonable definition of dramatic license.”

ABC in a statement issued today said the program is still undergoing editing.

“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, the company said.

“9/11” doesn’t claim to be a documentary, but a dramatization drawn from a variety of sources, ABC said.

“As such, for dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, and time compression.

“We hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast of the finished film before forming an opinion about it,” the network said.