I used to like Harry Reid…

I used to like Harry Reid. I really did. Lately his rhetoric has been quite over the top, but I figured “well, he’s just pandering to his base. Bush does that all the time.”

But now, now he has threatened censorship over a “docudrama” (no one expects docudramas to be 100% historically accurate, so the claim that some events in the movie didn’t really happen don’t work, since that’s an expected part of the genre).

What is going on?

I recall when some conservatives overreacted about some fictionalized movie about Ronald Reagan. They raised a stink and the movie got moved to Showtime. But at no time do I recall any Congressional Republicans subtly threatening TV networks with license revocation.

According to the advance reviews, everyone comes across badly in this upcoming Road To 9/11 movie. Republicans look bad for distracting Clinton with impeachment, Clinton looks bad for ignoring terrorists, Bush looks bad for ignoring Richard Clarke.

But apparently some Democrats are so deep into their hatred of Bush and conservatives in general, they must not allow any possibility of anyone every saying that maybe Clinton wasn’t perfect and could have done a better job.

Can anyone explain to me what is going on? If Republican senators were doing this, claiming that the movie unfairly slanders Bush and Rice for ignoring Clarke’s warnings, liberals would be up in arms about censorship, the chilling effect, etc.

What is up with this double standard? And has Harry Reid finally lost his mind? At the very least his behavior here is no better than the Republcian behavior he constantly complains about.

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About Ivan W.

Ivan Wolfe teaches rhetoric at Arizona State University. He has a PhD in English from the University of Texas - Austin, and a BA and MA in English (with minors in Classical Greek, Music, and Philosophy) from BYU. He has several credits on various Christmas albums aimed at the LDS market, several essays in Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy series, and various book reviews in academic and popular venues. He also competes in Scottish Highland Games and mud run/obstacle course races, and he can deadlit over double his bodyweight (his last PR was just shy of 500 pounds). He is currently married to Lisa Renee Wolfe. He has five kids and four stepkids.

86 thoughts on “I used to like Harry Reid…

  1. I think it’s just politics. They don’t want the dems to look bad before a big election year.
    The whole thing might be to their benefit–it could be that all the fuss makes the docudrama look like something made by Republicans to win the election.
    Then they can go on a rampage about all the lies and make the right look even worse!

  2. I don’t think this controversy will help Democrats – it will make them look incapable of criticism. Which is a shame – the Democrats could take both houses of Congress if they just kept quiet for a bit and let the Republicans recent idiocy take front and center.

    Somehow, the “we aren’t quite as bad as they are” strategy isn’t going to work. Nor will the “we’re perfect and never make mistakes – it’s all about the evil conservatives” strategy do them much good, except in primaries.

    But then, with Lieberman, Dems have shown they are much more interested in ideological purity than what’s right for America. (not that I’m excusing Republicans – but the Dems really need to stop doing such dumb things).

  3. I just read the letter, and while I see parts that remind ABC of it’s civic duty as a broadcaster, I don’t see anything that could be seriously construed to be a “veiled threat.” He’s giving ABC what he feels is a good reason to cancel the show. But, if people get up in arms about it, he’ll probably be happy, because that’s the whole point in Washington these days: let’s see who can shout the loudest.

    The sad part about all of this is that Harry Reid and the Democrats have stooped to Bush’s level. I shouldn’t have to remind anybody that it was Bush and his compatriots that first politicized 9/11, and that have exploited it for their political gain. Harry Reid and company as usual are playing the part of the reactionary politicos, trying to yell as loud as the Republican propaganda machine. Unfortunately, propaganda, like Reid’s letter or Bush’s rhetoric about the need to stay in Iraq despite our having gone in under misguided pretenses, does little but obscure the need for real dialogue about the results of the 9/11 commission’s survey, and how little has been done since 9/11 to plug up the gaping security holes which were exploited that day. It also distracts from the need to have national discussions about how we can be a more secure nation while not compromising the general principles that make our nation what it is (you know, that whole “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” thing that Bush and co. keep stepping all over?).

  4. Why oh why do comments like #3 make me so upset. I think it is the onesidedness that I hear from both sides. They are wrong, we are right, we are good, they are evil, we are smart, they are dumb and so on. The we and they attitude (usually seen as Dems and Repubs) really bothers me. There are good people, smart people and good ideas on both sides. How much better off our country would be if the two sides could try and work together for the good of all rather than yell the loudest so they can be elected. I know, it is part of politics to try and get elected, and I also know that your views are more likely to be followed when your party is in power but (BUT?) I am old enough to remember when the good of the country was more important than which party got credit for espousing an idea and disagreements (which have of course always existed) were handled with some semblence of politeness. I don’t really care who said it or started it, if it is right and good I am for it. As to the original question, yes, there is a double standard and both sides use it. I get freedom of speech and you don’t.

  5. Ivan, do you really believe no one expects docudramas to be factually accurate? Even if the topic is the single largest open wound in our nation’s history? Even on a significant anniversary? Even when the facts of the matter are politically charged? Even with an election fast approaching? Even when the Republicans have made terrorism the centerpiece of their election strategy? Even when the producers hand out screeners to conservative bloggers, but wouldn’t provide one to liberals or even to Bill Clinton? Claiming that accuracy doesn’t matter in this case is just lame. Your dislike of Harry Reid seems to stem from the fact that the minority leader is leading the opposition party to oppose, rather than to submissively lie down and let the Republicans roll over them. Maybe next year you’ll find that you expect rather more than that from your leaders in the Senate.

  6. Jonathan Green:

    I think no one expects them to be factually accurate in every detail: compression of scenes and characters is rather standard. I never said accuracy doesn’t matter – just that all things being equal, the docudrama genre will create scenes that speak to a larger truth, even if the scene itself never happened.

    Comments #3 and 5 show the double standard of partisanship: If Republicans were doing this, there would be cries of censorship and “it’s just a movie get over it.”

  7. It seems that Jonathan Green’s comment jumped all over this thread. I apologize to the posters here about this problem with our blogging software. I was actually surprised that the Dems decided to make such a big deal about a docudrama. I don’t think it’s good politics for them — Dems get many, many more breaks from the media than criticisms. This makes it appear that they want the media to walk in lockstep with them and can’t accept even the smallest criticism (from a docudrama, no less).

    It is worth pointing out that Republicans have long complained about media bias, and most complaints have been met with yawns and/or warnings of McCarthyism and censorship, from the Left. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and it turns out the Dems are much less concerned about McCarthyism and censorship than they would like it to appear.

  8. Also – comment #5 isn’t angry at my comment #3 – when that was posted, comment #4 was comment #3.

  9. Also in response to Jon Green, here’s quote from the writer/producer:

    Adds Nowrasteh, in an interview with NRO: “The Berger scene is a fusing and melding of at least a dozen capture opportunities. The sequence is true, but it’s a conflation. This is a docu-drama. We collapse, condense, and create composite characters. But within the rules of docu-drama, we’re well documented.â€

  10. Read this article for the response from Democrats when CBS canceled “The Reagans.” (scroll down for Barbra Streisand and Tom Daschle). Will they say the same thing about Democratic complaints about this docudrama?

  11. I was looking through the archives and this problem with comment numbering is all over the place, even in threads that were complete before the problem ever arose. I don’t know what might cause it, but it seems that usually the follow-up posts from the author of the thread have been artificially moved to a much earlier position in the chronology.

    I don’t really understand the complaint of comment 5 (formerly 4) with comment 4 (formerly 3). Despite all the rhetoric, they seem to be making an identical point.

  12. The comment ordering seems to me probably to be the result of a bogus ORDER BY clause somewhere in the SQL, if comments are stored in a database.

    If Dianna’s comment was in response to my comment, please don’t be angry with me; I totally agree with what you said. The problem with the political process in our nation is that there’s no semblance of thought about who the “other guy” is. I meant to imply that neither Harry Reid nor Bush seems the care about the specifics of what’s being done or said, they just want nothing to do with it if it came from their political enemies, regardless of whether or not it’s a good idea. And that’s lame, and it puts us at risk, in terms of constitutional liberties, in terms of emergency preparedness, in terms of pretty much anything that’s important to our country…

  13. There may be a huge difference between the Reagan docudrama and the 9/11 docudrama. The complaints against the Reagan docudrama were that it kicked the former President while he was down, not that it told lies. The 9/11 docudrama is being criticized because it is presenting falshoods.

    There is a major difference. It’s comparing apples to fishheads…

  14. I would like to reiterate what Jonathan Green said above. The matter is not so much that it is a docudrama and that most docudramas play a little loose with their facts. There have been hundreds of such trivial shows on the air with not a peep out of anyone about it.

    The difference in this case is that it is about 9/11. This is still a very open wound to this country and emotions and especially politics run at a fevered pace when it is mentioned. Even if this docudrama would have been complicit with the truth, there would have been people up in arms about it and complaining that one or the other group is politicizing it.

    But unfortunately it quite definitely is not complicit with the truth. From what I’ve heard there is a scene where the military is poised to take out Bin Laden, but the Clinton administration does not follow up on it. This did not happen. The miniseries is purported to be based upon the reports of the 9/11 Commission report, but the Commissioners who had written that report have come out against the movie’s errors. Richard Clarke who was the counter-terrorism czar said it is “180 degrees from what happened.” Even a consultant for the miniseries has said that scenes in the film are fictionalized. There are many other people besides Harry Reid who are saying that this film is extremely inaccurate.

    And that would be fine if the film wasn’t about 9/11. But since it is about 9/11, there is an underlying need and respect for the truth to be told to the American populace. The vast majority of those who will watch this miniseries will not know that what they are watching is fictional. They will take it as hard fact just as if they saw it on the nightly news. And this is not right. If anything needs to be given to the American people as based on hard facts and evidence, it is the details about this horrible attack on our soil. It is absoultely critical for our country that any depiction of 9/11 be as factual as possible.

    This highly fictional account will only hurt the healing process of this nation because it does not allow us to heal. It instead redirects the facts so that the Clinton administration is shown to be the major player at fault for the attacks. If this were true, I’d have no problem with the show, personally. But it’s not true and it can be proven that it is not true.

    Which begs the question: why did they distort the facts? The most obvious answer to that is the producers wanted to point a finger at the Clinton administration, which they have clearly done in this miniseries. Which in turn points the fault for the attacks to the Democrats. And the Democrats just happen to have a hard battle in two months for many seats in the House and Senate.

    And so unless I am presented with evidence to the contrary, it seems clear to me that this show was meant to be GOP propaganda to influence people’s choices in November.

    So now you know why Harry Reid doesn’t like it.

  15. “no one expects docudramas to be 100% historically accurate”

    What wierd alternative universe do you hail from?

    Ever hang out with some real-life salt-of-the-earth average Americans?

    Hint: if they’ve got any education beyond a Bachelors, they aren’t “average Americans.”

  16. Boy – partisanship really does create double standards.

    The complaints about the Regan biopic were that it was false as well. Lying about what was said doesn’t help the point.

    The main question here is: Did Clinton drop the ball when it came to terrorism. And the answer is clearly yes. The numerous terrorist attacks that only recieved lukewarm retaliation (USS Cole, the WTC bombing, the embassy bombings, etc.)

    The second question is, does the Docudrama only blame Clinton, and the answer is, according to advance reviews from both libearls and conservatives (the claim only conservatives got advance copies is demonstrably false) is no: Bush and Rice and others get plenty of blame as well.

    So James, Jon, others basically want to whitewash history: Clinton did no wrong and it’s all Bush’s fault. If the picture says anything else, they won’t be having it.

    Why? I don’t know. Maybe they think Farenheit 9/11 was 100 truth (Christopher Hitchens has already torn that fakeumentary apart) and so really do buy into the left wing fantasy that Bush is the source of all that is evil and Democrats can never do wrong.

  17. I don’t understand why partisanship is involved here at all. From the descriptions I have read, members of both the Clinton and Bush administrations come out of this looking the buffoons they are.

    And Sandy Berger, who is making the most noise, should just shut up. Unless the show portrays him walking out of the national archives with papers stuffed down his pants, he is getting a pass and I’m calling this show a whitewash of the Clinton administration.

  18. Seth R. -

    that’s quite the condescending attitude: assuming the average person is an idiot.

    No – I work as a landscaper over the summer, so I spend a lot of time with blue collar workers. Besides, most people absorb a lot of genre expectations. Anyone who sees a historical movie or docudrama and believes everything that happened in it happened in exactly that way is way below average. Most people, as far as I can tell, at least implicitly understand condensing and compression took place.

  19. that’s quite the condescending attitude: assuming the average person is an idiot.

    Almost half of the U.S. still believes Saddam had something to do with 9/11 according to the last poll I saw, so somewhere in the U.S. there are a bunch of idiots.

    As for the Democrats, they should stop whining if the reports are true. If the show is blaming everyone, it’s probably fine. If this television drama blamed only the Democrats I could understand the outrage, but if not they should shut up and concentrate on something important. At the most, Madeline Albright has a genuine complaint, if only a small on in my opinion.

    From CNN

    Albright called a reported depiction of her in one scene as “false and defamatory.”

    She said the scene shows her refusing to support a missile attack against al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden without notifying Pakistani officials, whose territory the missiles would have to cross. She said the film depicts her notifying Pakistan of the attack over U.S. military objections.

  20. Don’t get me started about how much of a piece of trash Farenheit 9/11 was, I’ll definitely agree with you there. And I don’t think the Bush admin. is the source of all evil. And yes I agree that the Clinton admin. could have done some things better when it came to terrorism. I never meant to say that the Bush administration is bad and Clinton’s was good. No one past fourth grade can say that truthfully. However all of that misses the point of my post. The point was that this docudrama is provably false, and it shouldn’t be because of the critical importance of the subject matter. And then I voiced my opinion that it appears to me that the obvious slant was politically motivated. That’s it. Bringing the rehashed “liberal whining” complaints into the disscussion does nothing to alleviate the fact that this movie is an obvious lie about the wound our country took.

    Condensing and compression is justified and necessary in any film, no matter the content. On the other hand, adding a scene into the story that did not exist in real life, that does nothing except point a finger where it doesn’t belong, is wrong. This is lying. As a filmaker, how does adding a false scene with such a huge political slant into a story that is so strongly tied to reality create anything other than false information that will be viewed by the public? Why give the public such demonstratable lies if it purports to be a docudrama based on the 9/11 Commission report? If political gain is not the reason for these obviously and easily proven lies, then why did they do it? If it was just artistic license, then why the blatant attack on the Clinton administration? They could have easily shown the Clinton admin. in a poor light without lying about the facts.

    Condensing and compression is one thing. But when those tools are used, the viewer still assumes that the overlying thrust and basic facts of the movie are still true if it is based on an actual event. Unless it is something over the top like a horror flick, the average viewer will simply assume that the events he or she is watching is true, but will understand that the details are glossed over or not shown. And that some scenes are fictional but still based on reality. This is not the case with this “Road to 9/11″ docudrama. When the underlying reality that is a central part of the story of 9/11 is not portrayed as it actually happened, then the public’s opinion and knowledge will be wrong. They will come away from this movie believing an event associated with 9/11 that did not happen.

    There is a word for any media that is created with the intent to mislead or misrepresent facts to the population of a country. It’s called propaganda.

  21. Yeah Ivan,

    Unless the misrepresentation in question happened to touch a nerve with them.

    Then suddenly it’s gospel and you can cite it to all your acquaintances as cold-hard-truth. I know several people who could very easily buy the inaccuracies hook-line-and-sinker. When people say they don’t believe it happened “exactly that way,” what they mean is they don’t think Clinton was wearing exactly that tie at the time. Very often they’ll still buy into the main points though.

    As for “condescending” …

    That depends on whether you consider critical thinking skills to be an key component of the “essential American man.” Obviously you do. But ask yourself: how crucial is it really to be able to distinguish televised fact from fiction? Or even fact from Fox News?

    I submit that it’s not half as vital as we college nerds make out and a graduate degree doesn’t insulate you from quirky life choices such as blowing $1,000 in a single afternoon at Victoria’s Secret….

    Oh heck with it.

    Yes.

    I am being condescending.

    But that doesn’t mean I’m not right.

  22. James D,

    The show isn’t a blatant attack on the Clinton administration, it attacks the Bush administration as well, and the Bushistas don’t come out of this smelling any better than the Clintonistas. From the descriptions I have read, Condoleeza Rice is maligned in a false and disgusting manner, but so far we haven’t heard any complaining from her corner.

    The show gores oxes on both sides. The interesting question is: why is only one side complaining?

  23. James -

    it is only demonstrably false if you pretend it belongs in another genre. Withing the genre of docudrama, it is well within its rights to condense, etc.

    Your complaint is like reading/watching Fight Club and then complaining there were no spaceships and aliens. But just as “mainstream fiction” and “science fiction” aren’t the same thing and have different genre expectations, the same goes for documentaries and docudramas.’

    Unless you really want to argue that ABC should be censored for showing something that may not be true. If so, every network would be off the air.

  24. jjohnsen -

    half the USA does not believe Hussien had something to do with 9/11. Considering the way the surveys were worded – well, the more correct fact would be something like:

    60% of Americans think that maybe there’s a possibility Hussein might have been involved in some small way on the sidelines.

    But then again, that doesn’t make for a good anti-Bush/anti-Fox news/anti-general populace soundbite, does it?

    to Seth R.:

    And why all the Fox News hate? They’re just as good and accurate as all the other news networks (of course, to me that is NOT a compliment).

  25. Harry Reid sold his soul to the devil because he chose long ago to be a Democrat and wanted to be powerful in the party. Then they moved from being Democrats to Jackasses. The men of character left leaving an opening for that poor and sorry excuse for a politician from the State of Nobod(a)y. The dissonance between his beliefs and his desires has driven the man insane, bonkers, crackpot, luny, lala you name it. There is no rational discourse with this burnt out hulk of a nobodan.

    We’ll know that the last Days are truly here if he gets reelected in a substantially Mormon state.

  26. Yep.

    georgeD, I often agree with you, but you need to learn more restraint and civility in how you word things.

    Unless you intended the post as satire, at which point you forgot to put the ;-) winking guy at the end.

  27. Your complaint is like reading/watching Fight Club and then complaining there were no spaceships and aliens. But just as “mainstream fiction” and “science fiction” aren’t the same thing and have different genre expectations, the same goes for documentaries and docudramas.’

    But Fight Club did not raise the expectation that it was a scifi flick, and so no one expected there to be spaceships or aliens. A “docudrama,” by it’s name alone, signifies that it is related in essence to a documentary and thus will be factual. On top of that, the producers have stated that it is based upon the 9/11 Commission report. That statement gives the uninitiated viewer the assumption that what is in the movie is true and based on an official document. The “Road to 9/11″ has raised an expectation for its viewers to be a drama based on fact. But this is not the case, and thus my comments above.

    The show isn’t a blatant attack on the Clinton administration, it attacks the Bush administration as well, and the Bushistas don’t come out of this smelling any better than the Clintonistas

    I will state that my opinion is based upon the scene of the Clinton admin. not pursuing the capture of Bin Laden. This seems a very biased, Clinton-bashing scene and it is also demostratively false. I am also reacting to the rebuttals of the 9/11 Commission members and many other people (some of whom are portrayed in the movie) who have voiced their opposition to the film. But if you are right that other scenes show a balanced view and all sides are equally bashed, then I’ll withdraw my opinions on the propaganda and the political slander. Could you please give me some links to web pages that describe this? I’d like to look into this myself.

    If I am wrong in my opinion on the propaganda, I will still strongly hold my position that the movie should be factual. If there is no political machination involved with the falsehoods in this movie, then there should decidedly not be any reason to create false scenes that will cause the viewers to misjudge and believe in false facts. The importance of the subject matter is too crucial for such blatant disregard of the truth.

  28. James D-

    well, mainstream fiction and science fiction only differ by one word, so saying that docudrama and documentary sound alike means little.

    But going beyond that, you said
    I will state that my opinion is based upon the scene of the Clinton admin. not pursuing the capture of Bin Laden. This seems a very biased, Clinton-bashing scene and it is also demostratively false.

    Two points:

    1. According to Hugh Hewitt (a clearly partisan man who suppots Bush, I think, a bit too often):

    There is, by the way, zero mention in the five hours of the allegations that Clinton let bin Laden slip through his fingers when the terror chief was offered up by Sudan. There is no Atta meeting in Prague, no suggestion of a Saddam history of terror ties unrelated to 9/11 . . . It is an objective show, and not one that will cheer the right.

    2. Even given that, a claim that the Clinton gov’t didn’t pursue Bin Laden can be inferred from the 9/11 comission report on pages 110 through 115, so that idea is not totally out of bounds, though it could be called “reading between the lines a bit too much” if you are on the side of the Clinton era gov’t. I guess it all depends on which dog you have in the fight. However, your claim is not demonstrably false, and can be reasonably inferred from the evidence.

  29. Some good thoughts and links from Instapundit. My personal view is that both the Clinton and Bush administrations were pretty lax about Islamic terrorism. While I think Clinton perhaps deserves a bit more blame overall there’s a lot to go around. (And Bush gets the post-911 blame)

  30. holy mindwarp, is it possible that i agree with a m* blogger? no. noooooo. nooooooo please say it isnt so. ok, i do think reid has lost his mind on this one. for one big reason, he is falling to the pressure to use fictional media as his medium. what is the difference between chris rock ranting about the war on terror and a docudrama? what difference would it make if dennis rodman were to dress up as a bride and play the role of the cia director, all while in drag? who cares. its entertainment.

    reid would be ten times the man if he were to stand up and say, “god bless america. where else can someone have such liberties to say whatever the outerdarkness they want, and get paid to do it? not in afghanistan, that is fo shizzle. if the producers really want to help america, they should make this a pay per view so we can tax the revenue and reduce the deficit.” then he should go to church on sunday, say the same thing, but end it with “in the name of ________ ________, amen” [i wasnt sure if it was ok to use real names in a satire] if he did that, he would be covered on earth, as he is in heaven.

    hey georgeD, its good to see you are consistently jerkish, regardless of the topic.

    georgeD, did you know faust was a democrat? yeah, he worked on the democratic national committee with my grandmother. they are still friends. he even called my grandma at home when my grandpa died. i thought it was very thoughtful of him. i was surprised when so many utah democrats showed up at grandpas funeral and not a darn one of them looked like ozzy osbourne or marilyn manson. they were nice folks and even bowed their head during the prayers, the jackasses. and yeah, i was peaking during the prayers. bad. bad. bad elephant. real bad.

  31. Ivan Wolfe, You ought to retire your abuse of the word civility. My criticism of Harry Reid would be viewed as reticent (however illiterate) next to someone like Winston Churchill or George Bernard Shaw. ( I also see myself as more civil and more literate than Michael Moore.) “Civil” is part of the new thought suppressing ideology of liberal mind control.Keep being civil based on the standards of modern pc discourse and you might as well cut your tongue out.

    Harry Reid is a public figure. He is fair game for my harsh criticism. I am 10,000 times more civil the Harry Reid and my comments have less than miniscule impact in comparison the ravings of Crazy Harry.

  32. oh, georgeD, i didnt realize michael moore was the benchmark of civility and debate. please ignore my jackassed judgments. carry on folks, georgeD is the new oprah of the damu. i have been using the wrong standards to this point. move along now.

  33. Friday night realization: I LOVE georgeD !!!!!
    Bring it on, brother! Please don’t banish him to Blouter Darkness, M* Admin.
    Would love to hear more (Moore?) about how you see yourself, georgeD.

  34. Ivan, the Democrats’ complaints about the movie are directed at scenes that are factually untrue. If Republicans find similarly untrue scenes, they should complain as well. But the defense that the movie finds mistakes on both sides just doesn’t cut it because “we all made mistakes” is a specifically Republican attempt to relativize the failures of the Bush administration. The Clinton administration made terrorism a top priority–you remember when those cruise-missle attacks were dismissed as ‘wagging the dog’?–and Clinton personally told an incoming president Bush to take the issue seriously. Saying that Bush made mistakes, but so did Clinton, lets Bush off the hook for being off on a month-long vacation when his own anti-terrorism apparatus was trying to sound the alarm at all levels of government. The attacks on the USS Cole came just barely before the 2000 election and the connection to Bin Laden–who initially denied involvement–was not established until 2001, when responsibility for responding passed to the new commander in chief.

  35. Jonathan Green -

    so, in essence, you seem to be saying that we should not look at anything Clinton may have done wrong, because it’s all really Bush’s fault?

    Your post is the an awful example of partisanship. Saying that both Clinton and Bush made mistakes does not let Bush off the hook, since Bush still gets plenty of the blame.

    It has become increasingly clearer to me that many left wingers live in a world where all evil is the direct result of Bush and any attempt to complicate that matter (by suggesting maybe Democratic governments weren’t perfect as well) must be dismissed as false.

    And your claims that Clinton made terrorism a top priority are laughable. Clinton ignored attack after attack and made only token reprisals, usually when his popularity was falling.

    I’m not a Republican, and I think Bush also made many mistakes. But your insistance that Clinton was, in essence, nearly error free and Bush is the real source of all our woes shows more of interest in scoring partisan political points than in figuring out what really happened.

  36. Looks like there are some awful exaples of partisanship on BOTH sides of this debate, imo. I don’t see where Jonathan is saying the Clinton was “nearly error free” but maybe I need to re-read this string. What’s disturbing to me is how profoundly polarized these discussions always become, and how quickly. Having just watched United 93 with my family last night (talk about a tear-fest), I was struck by how well-intentioned yet bumbling virtually everyone involved was: the ATC, the military, et. al. There is no doubt in my mind that both Clinton and Bush want the best for this country and its people. They have different world views (just like us in here) which lead to different decisions. They just reflect the increasingly divided nature of our society.

  37. Actually, Ivan, the essence of what I’m saying is most likely to be found in what I actually wrote, rather than in what I didn’t. Check my comment again, I’m sure you’ll find it.

    And, uh, my comment is awfully partisan? What did you expect when you wrote about Harry Reid losing his mind, to start off this whole sorry affair? People disagree about politics. If you don’t want disagreement, don’t post about politics. You asked, in your post, for an explanation for why Democrats were upset. The answer is that the film’s factual errors tend to support a Republican narrative about the major issue of the day with an election approaching. If you can’t accept the answer, don’t ask the question.

  38. Jon -

    Considering most of the Republican commetators say that the film does not support a Republican narrative and paints Republicans in a bad light as well (see Hugh Hewitt’s comment I quoted above), yet the Republicans are not yelling for the demise of ABC -

    well, I used to like Harry Reid because he was fairly non-partisan and showed that being LDS meant it was okay to be a Dem. But ever since he became Senate minority leader – well, he’s gotten more and more partisan and now this threatened censorship (which is okay because Dems want it, but was wrong when Republicans complained about the Reagan biopic) – well, who’s acting partisan here?

    The shows creators have been ruthlessly non-partisan (or perhaps bipartisan in their blame). But your comments indicate only a history that gives credence to the left-wing narrative is okay. Heaven forbid we have a movie that spreads blame over everyone. Nope – you claim, merely because the film farily criticized Clinton, that it “support[s] a Republican narrative”

    I was unaware the Republican narrative blamed Bush and Rice for failing to heed many warning signs, or that Republican cries for impeachement of Clinton distracted him at crucial times. Democrats can only be upset about this movie if they believe that Clinton did no real wrong and Republicans are to blame for everything. Your attitude implies that.

    It’s not disagreement I’m against – it’s irrational, purely partisan disagreement that creates a double standard (it’s only censorship when the other guys do it).

  39. Ivan, whatever you might think of their motives, Democrats are complaining about factual inaccuracies: events that never happened, people saying things they never said, people doing things they never did. Democrats are not asking for a Clinton haggiography. They are asking for factual truth. When did a commitment to facts rather than lies become classified as censorship? If you want to disarm the Democrats’ criticism, then show that the contested scenes presented in the movie are correct. If you can’t, then maybe you should wait for a better opportunity to call people irrational.

  40. Jon Green:

    It’s a docudrama. The question isn’t: are some parts of it fictionalized and condensed? The answer is yes. But that’s a given, given the genre in question.

    One of the real questions is: are the “made-up” scenes utter lies intended to slander Clinton and the Democrats while building up Bush and Republicans? The answer is no.

    The writer/producer has already said the “made-up” scenes are condensed from dozens of events – and in the interest of brevity they speak to a higher truth. What is wrong with that?

    My question also wasn’t: Is the docudrama wrong? It may well be. That doesn’t mean Harry Reid has the right to threaten censorship. If Bush or Bill Frist were doing this, I know that Dems would be crying censorship up and down the aisles and rooftops.

    The really pertinent question is: Does ABC have the right to broadcast this. The answer is clearly yes: If absolute 100% factual accuracy with no compression, no interpretation and no room for speculation were the requirements for all fictionalized docudramas, historical movies or biopics – well, we’d never have those on TV again.

    As I said above, pages 110 – 115 (and a few more pages around 125) of the 9/11 comission can be read as implying what is in the disputed scenes. You can disagree and say the writer was reading too much in. That’s fine. To argue that it should be taken off the air because it doesn’t march in lockstep with liberal orthodoxy IS irrational.

  41. Interesting LA Times article (that, overall, takes the docudrama to task for being inaccurate):

    Highlights:

    It’s well understood, of course, that docudramas are seldom documentary and only sporadically dramatic. As a rule, they’re basically devices to free unimaginative writers from the burden of having to make up characters’ names. You simply appropriate the names of real people, then make them do whatever attention-getting thing fills the allotted time.

    And

    What’s easier to understand is what ABC thought it was up to with its marketing of “The Path to 9/11″ and why it thought a successful marketing campaign might lead our politically polarized nation to feverishly overlook the network’s irresponsibility toward history. After all, why should the many thousands of Americans still grieving for loved ones lost five years ago care about an accurate account of the governmental decisions that may have contributed to those deaths when they could get a good dose of “essence”?

    And finally:

    One of the most unfortunate consequences of all this was that most of the news media completely overlook a stunning affront to 1st Amendment freedoms that occurred when the Democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate sent Iger a letter Thursday appearing to threaten the network’s licenses unless “The Path to 9/11″ was altered or killed:

    “The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest … ,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program.”

    We’ve all become accustomed to a Congress that behaves as if it’s divided between Bloods and Crips rather than Republicans and Democrats — but this was a thuggish new low. If we were inclined to dramatic license, the guys with thick necks in “On the Waterfront” would come to mind, though it’s doubtful even Harvey Keitel could plausibly play Harry Reid as threatening.

  42. Re Ivan #28: “And why all the Fox News hate?”

    Literary license. “Fox” and “fiction” both begin with “F.” I’m an NPR listener and I almost never pay network news much mind. So, you might regard Fox News simply as a martyr in the cause of providing the bloggernacle with high quality literary content.

    Prose comes not without price.

  43. Ivan, you keep disagreeing with things I never said and then pretending that you’re arguing with me. Stop it; you’re too well educated in rhetoric for me to believe that you’re arguing in good faith. If you want to argue with someone, why don’t you argue with…

    9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick: “I do have a problem if you make claims that the program is based upon the findings of the 9/11 Commission Report when the actors, scenes and statements in the series are not found in — and, indeed, are contradicted by — our findings.”

    9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste: “The mischaracterizations tended to support the notion that the president [Clinton] was not attentive to anti-terrorism concerns. That was the opposite from what the 9/11 commission found.”

    Bill Bennett: “Look, this — 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. Conservatives now have to be consistent, Soledad. When The Reagans, that show about the Reagans, CBS show, came out, it had all sorts of distortions and misstatements. Conservatives went crazy and had it relegated somewhere — I don’t know. It never appeared on CBS. And so I think they should be consistent. And when ABC comes out and has conversations taking place among cabinet members on recent history, on matters that are still before us, I think they should correct those inaccuracies.”

    Richard Miniter: “But certainly if I was the producer, I wouldn’t have gone with this scene, because there’s no factual basis for it. It seems to be drawn from an Internet myth, from a profound misunderstanding of what actually happened. If people wanted to be critical of the Clinton years, there’s things they could have said, but the idea that someone had [Osama] bin Laden in his sights in 1998 or any other time and the — Sandy Berger refused to pull the trigger, there’s zero factual basis for that.”

  44. Seth R. -

    ah. alliteration.

    I was being somewhat tounge in cheek, as I find (as I said) Fox news as good as the other news networks, which is not a compliment.

    NPR, on the other hand – well, I’m won’t go there. I’ll be nice and say that their coverage is wider and more in-depth than nearly all other news sources.

  45. Jon Green-

    you are also not agruing with my main point. You keep claiming the whole debate is about wether some of the scenes in the DOCUDRAMA didn’t really happen.

    That is not the question at hand. You keep bringing in something that shouldn’t even be at a debate, because in the end it’s a debate about literary or artisitc choices made by the writer/producer.

    You keep saying “it was false” or “these important people say it was wrong” – but that’s not what I am really concerned with. You, in essence,keep adding red herrings to the discussion.

    The questions at hand are: Does ABC have the right to broadcast this? and why are Democrats suddenly so okay with censorship?

    You seem to be the one not arguing in good faith, as you seem to think that by merely proving that the docudrama does something all docudramas do, therefore it’s okay to have the whole program censored – or at the very least, by avoiding the question of censorship and ABC’s rights you are implying that.

    I could post a dozen quotes (I have posted some already) from other important people about how they feel the movie is accurate overall, even if (as per the rules of docudrama) some scenes “didn’t really happen.”

    Jon, you’re too blinded by partisanship. This isn’t just Democrats complaining about factual innaccuracies. This is Democrats and left-wingers crying for censorship and attempting to deny ABC its first amendment rights. But you seem to be okay with censorhip, as long as the left-wing is doing it.

    If not, just come out and say so.

  46. One more thing, Jon:

    I kept saying it was fine – I have no problem with diagreeing with this 9/11 movie and thinking that’s its more creative interpolations are wrong or too much of a stretch. But you keep acting like I’ve said that the movie is 100% factually accurate and a true account of history, which I’ve never said.

    What I want to know is why are Democrats suddenly so okay with censorship, when they were so against it when the Republicans attacked the Reagan biopic? (for the record, I thought the controversy over the Reagan biopic was silly too – censorship is censorship).

    I’m not arguing with any of those smart guys you quoted (I could quote many smart guys on the other side of the debate), but I’m even willing to grant for the sake of the argument the scenes in question are wrong, wrong, wrong.

    What I am not willing to grant (and you seem to be, though you are oddly silent on the issue) is that therefore ABC has no right to air this, and therefore threats to revoke their license are okay.

    If Republicans had done this, Jon – you should know you would be up in arms decrying censorship. But if Democrats do it, you are apparently okay with it, or at least not willing to condemn it.

  47. Seth R

    I (believe it or not) get almost all my non-Internet news from NPR. NPR has more in common with Pravda than with any real journalism. It is agenda journalism. My favorite all time example was when Clinton nominated Lani Gaunier to a position in his administration and NPR interviewed it’s own political reporter on her efforts to get a good hearing for Ms. Gaunier and her strange politics and keep her nomination on track. The reporter commented on her own futile efforts to spin the story. The absolute lack of irony of the interview turned me off of NPR forever. I still listen but with no hope that NPR will ever present a balanced view. Only a few years earlier I gave my local NPR affiliate a contribution because of my outrage over Salman Rushdie’s predicament after he had published Satanic Verses and had come under a fatwa. I was impressed with their coverage of the incident then.

  48. Well george, I like NPR for several reasons.

    But the main one is that they don’t have commercials. That reason alone is enough to abandon the networks and everything else on the FM dial in favor of public radio. Political bias has always played second fiddle to commercial bias in the media. Alas, no one seems to get it…

  49. What do you consider non-agenda journalism, georgeD? Fox News?

    Try satellite radio. XM has all the bases covered. I can listen to whatever perspective suits my fancy on a given day. I strongly prefer the BBC. My TiVo records BBC World News twice a day, and I can watch it a few hours later. It’s just the best, and puts anything I’ve seen on American TV (network or cable) to shame. IMO, NPR’s fatal flaw isn’t its liberal bias…it’s the tedium. Some of those NPR broadcasts make General Conference talks seem positively gripping by comparison.

  50. What do you consider non-agenda journalism, georgeD? Fox News?

    Try satellite radio. XM has all the bases covered. I can listen to whatever perspective suits my fancy on a given day. I strongly prefer the BBC. My TiVo records BBC World News twice a day, and I can watch it a few hours later. It’s just the best, and puts anything I’ve seen on American TV (network or cable) to shame. IMO, NPR’s fatal flaw isn’t its liberal bias…it’s the tedium. Some of those NPR broadcasts make General Conference talks seem positively gripping by comparison.

  51. Ivan, I haven’t engaged the charges of attempted censorship because they’re just silly. What’s Harry Reid going to do–march into the ABC executive suite and rip their broadcast license from off the wall? Pull the plug from the big antenna so that nothing can be broadcast? Democrats do not control any branch of the federal government. There is no mechanism of executive power by which they can prevent ABC from doing whatever it wants. Expressing displeasure with a movie and reminding ABC of its duty to use the public airwaves responsibly do not amount to censorship.

    Again, you’d do much better to respond to what I actually have written, rather than what you imagine I must have been thinking about some issue.

  52. Jon Green -

    a few points:

    1.) Considering the Democratic threats to impeach Bush and retaliate against conservatives if they take the House and/or Senate, Reid’s threat does have some danger. If Republicans were out of power and wrote that same letter though, Dems would be crowing about threats of censorship anyway. If you can’t see this, you’re blinded by partisanship, assuming your side can never, ever be in the wrong.

    2.) I don’t see any reason to argue over points I more or less gave in on. We could play the “my quote can beat up your quote” or “my source has more authority than you source” all year and still figure out nothing. I see no reason to endulge in “did this really happen” in an movie that admits, up front, “some scenes never really happened” but claims artisitic license to do so in order to speak to a higher truth. I can’t tell if that higher truth is accurate, but after reading the relevant portions of the 9/11 report I see that at least they are a reasonable inference.

    But instead of seeing if that is true or not, you have just listed off partisan talking points, repeating over and over that “the movie lies” as though somehow the repition of the idea will somehow magically prove something.

    3.) It seems we’re talking past each other. You are convinced Democrats are entirely in the right to be implying they can punish ABC if it doesn’t toe the line when it comes to liberal orthodoxy over who is really to Blame (Bush, of course – never Clinton, who apparently did no wrong more or less ignoring the embassy bombings, businessman kidnapping, WTC bombings, etc.). Instead, you want to claim it’s all about whether the movie is 100% true in all its details: and that’s a worthless discussion, since we can never know that anyway, and it’s more than a bit beside the point.

  53. I should also add, I have no dog in this fight. I like neither party, and from what I’ve read about the documentary, it blames both Dems and Repubs equally.

    But Jon, you seem to keep saying that the only way you’ll accept the docudrama as factual is if Clinton comes across clean and Republcians get all the blame. Me, I hope everyone comes off looking badly, because the truth is: everyone – right, left, middle, whatever – dropped the ball before 9/11. And pretending that it’s only one sides fault does a disservace to what we need to do to stop terrorism.

    Your claims that Clinton had terrorism as a top priority, and your uncritical acceptance of Clinton’s claims that he tried to tell Bush to take it more seriously show an partisan streak that refuses to learn from the mistakes of history. Everyone (including Bush, but also including Clinton, and everyone else) screwed up – no one really comprehended what we were up against. If the docudrama does what advance reviews say it does and take everyone to task, I’m all for it.

    Jon, on the other hand, will only like it if Bush looks bad and Clinton looks good. And that’s pure partisanship (and I really need to find another word to use, I feel like I’m overusing it).

  54. Well, I’m watching the first part of the “docudrama.”

    1.) It’s actually quite boring. The camera work is annoying.

    2.) So far, Clinton and the higher-ups are non-existent except as background. This is a “people on the ground” perspective.

    3.) John O’Neil and Richard Clarke are the heroes of the film. The way its set up, they and those under them realize we are at war. Those above them (like the President and Secretary of State) don’t get that (they seem to be treating it as a law enforcement problem), but aren’t otherwise potrayed as incompetent.

    UPDATE: Okay – I can see why Sandy Berger might be upset. (but after the pant stuffing episode, Berger has lost all personal ethos anyway).

    More UPDATE: Boy, that scene with the composite character “Patricia” was way over the top and forced. An attempt at gravitas that failed. As I said: boring.

    We’ll see how the rest of it plays out tomorrow. The constant disclaimers of “this is a dramatization and contains composite characters and scenes and is not a documentary” are quite fun.

    Other commentators are commenting on it here:
    http://instapundit.com/archives/032482.php

    (which links to a fun 2001 New Yorker article that is critical of Berger).

    and

    http://austinbay.net/blog/?p=1413 which says

    The movie serves as a reminder of all of the terrorist attacks and attempted attacks. Clinton went eight years and Bush eight months playing cops and robbers while Al Qaeda was implementing unrestricted warfare.

    http://www.the73rdvirgin.blogspot.com/

    7:08 – Legacy rescue for John O’Neill, “no one gets in the building without a sticker”. Was he really at work at 7:15 am? I think I read he was out til 2:00 am the night before.

    Final Update: Well, one night for 8 years of Clinton messing up, and one night for eight months of Bush messing up – and somehow Bush will come off looking great? As I said, the only complaint so far can be if you refuse to accept the fact that no one in the highest eschalons of gov’t really understood what was going on – and that includes Clinton as well as Bush. But Clinton partisans must believe that it’s all Bush’s fault for some reason.

    This “docudrama” won’t change any minds and adds nothing to the national debate. I’ll watch it tomorrow night, but after this I feel a bit odd for having wasted so many pixels on it.

  55. Ivan, I’m checking out of this discussion because you are unable to distinguish what I write from your fantasies about what I must really be thinking. Since you wish other people would come out and admit their true thoughts, I commend to you the same. Your I’m-a-moderate, “no dog in this fight”-schtick wasn’t very convincing two years ago, and it’s really not working anymore. Everything you’ve written on political topics for the last couple years identifies you as a down-the-line movement convservative. Your politics and the Republicans’ are virtually indistinguishable. You’d be more credible if you would freely admit as much, and the reduction in cognitive dissonance would be good for you.

  56. Jon Green -

    that’s funny. It’s a total red herring (and an ad hominem), but I’ll bite: You really know nothing about my politics. I support progressive taxation, thought invading Iraq was a horrid idea, support Affirmative Action in some cases (though I feel it’s generally horribly misapplied), reject the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools, have no real problems with stem cell research (and feel the gov’t should fund it more) – I could go on.

    Overall, I admit to being conservative, but that’s only because of where I am. At BYU I was center-left. Here at UT-Austin, everyone else is so far left I seem reactionary. But in either case, I am not a Republican and not a “straight down the line” movement conservative.

    Of course, as Joe Lieberman proved – it’s all about the war now. Lieberman votes over 90% of the time with Democrats, but he got rejected as “too Republican” for his stance on one issue. That in itself shows how far gone the far left is now.

  57. Some of those NPR broadcasts make General Conference talks seem positively gripping by comparison.

    Finally. MikeInWeHo says something I can actually agree with. I knew it would happen eventually.

  58. well, mainstream fiction and science fiction only differ by one word, so saying that docudrama and documentary sound alike means little.

    You are talking about semantics. I am talking about meaning. The similarity of the words you used to discredit my opinions bears no relevance to the meaning of the words themselves. It is not how similar words are in spelling, or the letters they may have or the difference of one word that is important. It is instead how the words are defined and used. It is the expectation that the words give to the reader. And the word, “docudrama” gives the reader an expectation of a truthful portrayal of events. Which in this particular film, is not the case. This has been my point all along.

    As for censorship: I can understand where my opinions could be misconstrued as a call for censorship of this film. That isn’t the case. I’m instead calling for a fair and truthful handling of such an important subject. A call for a reasonable handling of important subjects is a valid and important part of our society. If we were to allow your arguments, Ivan, to go to their furthest extention, then your original post and many others decrying the left’s opinions against the film could also be considered censorship of our views. The rallying cry of censorship should be carefuly used in a true democracy, lest we all become the boy crying wolf.

  59. james D. -

    that’s actually fairly reasonable and I agree with most of your latest response (which, like the last few posts, for some reason is way out of order).

    The numerous disclaimers broadcast last night will, I think, prevent most viewers from thinking every scene actually happened in exactly that way. The film itself even acknowledges character compression by putting scare quotes around the names of composite characters.

    In my research, while some of the inferences the movie makes are a bit of stretch, none are so unreasonable as to be considered out of bounds. I will have to wait until tonight to see if the film is as harsh on Bush as it was on Clinton (advance reviews say yes), but since I think both administrations dropped the ball, I don’t see why being hard on Clinton’s people is such an out of bounds thing.

    But, we may just have to agree to disagree. After seeing it last night, I don’t think this film (in and of itself) will change anyone’s mind, sway any elections or cause the undecided middle to sway either way. So, in the end I think it’s a moot point: this movie will mean very little in the end (or, it would have without the controversy).

    I do think the complaing by Democrats will hurt them, because some will see it and go “huh? That’s what they were so concerned about?” and start to wonder about leaders who can’t seem to take any criticism at all. As Instapundit said “If they’d kept their mouths shut, this would be about the terrorists, which would be bad enough. Now it’s about the terrorists and the Democrats.”

    If Reid had said “this movie is a piece of crap and distorts the historical record, but ABC has a right to play it anyway” it probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But now we have Democrats threating lawsuits (and many lefty blogs calling for ABC’s head on a platter) over what would have likely (without the noise and strum und drang) been a mild ratings getter that vanished into the ether after a while and impacted political dialouge in the USA not at all. It seems like the entire Democratic response was so over the top.

    But as I said elsewhere – I found it rather boring. And the only person who I thought came off fairly badly was Sandy Berger – but after the pant stuffing episode, it’s hard to take Berger seriously anymore anyway.

  60. All new posts on this thread enter in at 57 for some reason. So for those just coming in, read backwards from 65 to 57.

  61. Forgive me for not having read all the comments. But from what I can tell it really was a drama playing fast and loose with the facts. From what I’ve read (and I didn’t see it) it was much more written from the Clarke position and his book. i.e. there was no love for Bush either.

    In any case what bugs me is whenever any drama plays so fast and loose with the facts. I don’t care whose political side it was on.

  62. Doesn’t NPR have corporate sponsors, though? These are different from advertisers how, exactly?

  63. Ivan,

    If you were center-left at BYU, how would you describe a person there who is center-right? And how would you describe a person at BYU who is right wing?

    By the way, I still like Senator Reid (and Senator Lieberman and Senator Hagel).

  64. Boy this out of order comment thing is annoying.

    DavidH -

    well, as I said – being in favor of progressive taxation and somewhat in favor of Affirmative action (as well as my acceptance of evolution and my belief good Mormons can be good Democrats as well) hardly made me a right-winger at BYU, where capitalism was considered an integral part of the gospel, many students believed automatic weapons should be available without permits and I was constanlty told Democrats were evil.

    Left and right are relative to where you are. And BYU is very right wing. Not quite as far right as the faculty here at UT-Austin are far left, but they are fair extremes.

    And if you still like Reid – well, to each his own. But for me, threats of censorship are one place where I draw the line.

  65. Tonight’s episode (part 2):

    Codi Rice comes across as clueless and petty. I doubt this event happened exactly as portrayed, yet somehow I don’t see the liberals complaing about this disservice to history.

    UPDATE: A lot of the problems are being portrayed as conflict between the CIA and FBI – but exacerbated by Bush’s insistence they work together more.

    If all of this is part of the standard right-wing narrative, I’d be shocked. I don’t recall Republicans saying Rice was partly to blame.

    It’s still rather boring

    more UPDATE: Let’s see – now, Bush and his advisors refuse to see what’s right in front of their faces and which the heroes of the movie O’Neill and Clarke see clearly.

    Yep – this must be right-wing propaganda.

    Next UPDATE: That’s interesting timing. Just after an Afgahni slams Bush for giving money to the Taliban in the form of “humanitarian aid”, ABC cuts to Bush’s speech to the nation.

    I’m more convinced than ever this movie is a neocon plot to swing the election (not).

    Even more UPDATE: well, back to the movie. Bush’s speech? Didn’t care for it: it was more or less stuff I’ve heard before, and Bush seemed out of sorts.
    Those who like Bush will like it. Those who can’t stand him will hate it or refuse to listen. I can’t see it swaying anyone, though some of his base might be convinced to reinstate their support for him.

    UPDATE: Yet another scene straight from the standard right-wing narrative that blames it all on Clinton: Condi Rice drops the ball on terrorist warnings.

    UPDATE: Condi Rice comes off as clueless, Tenet as idiotic. Richard Clarke is THE MAN, though.

    FINAL UPDATE: That last 20 or so minutes was hard to watch.

    However, now that it’s over: Those who claim this serves the right wing because it make Clinton look bad ignore tonights two hours. This movie serves no right wing agenda. It does serve Richard Clarke’s agenda – since at the end, he’s the guy they all turn to – Clarke is THE MAN in this movie, hands down.

    But the partisans will ignore that. Most people who see this will wonder what all the fuss was about. I wonder how it will do on DVD.

    But I still found it boring overall (the end wasn’t boring – just very hard to watch). It probably did play fast and loose with some history, but I’ve seen much worse in other films.

    Either way, Bush comes off at least as badly as Clinton. Clarke comes off smelling like roses and testosterone.

  66. This comment is meant to be #72 if it gets lost somehow.

    I wonder what people think now that the show has aired and it turned out to be equally critical of Republicans and Democrats (if not more critical of Republicans).

    I can say that I was never in favor of canceling the show, nor was I in favor of canceling “The Reagans” nor would have I canceled “Farenheit 9/11″ nor any of Bill Moyer’s noxious partisan “journalism,” which is arguably much worse than this docudrama because it poses as factual reporting. And my tax dollars go to support Bill Moyer’s fantasies while none of my tax dollars go to support ABC.

    So, once again, I wonder if any Democrats will stand up to defend the real issue at hand, which is censorship on the part of the Left? So far, it appears that the people on this thread are concentrating on ad hominems of the people posting rather than discussing the issue at hand. Was it right and moral, yes or no, for the Democrats to threaten ABC with canceling their license because they were opposed to a docudrama?

  67. Geoff – #72

    I’ve already been down this road. The partisans only see Reid “reminding ABC of its civic duty.”

    With the claims by some on this thread that Clinton made terrorism a top priority and Bush is the one to blame, it seems there’s no real common ground on which to meet with the left on this issue.

    Maybe we could all agree docudramas are a rather odd or pointless genre. But as far as Reid’s clear (if implied) threats to retaliate against ABC if he can – well, partisans are convinced their side can do no wrong.

    (and despite attempts to paint me as disingenuous or a liar, I am not a Republican, though I do consider myself more conservative than not. I’m still a bit befuddled by that. I think Bush deserves plenty of blame – but so does Clinton. But only one thing will satisfy the far left: making it all Bush’s fault).

  68. 73 Ivan Wolfe Bush has accepted plenty of blame. He has acknowledged that mistakes were made. When has a single Jackass accepted any responsibility for their administration’s mistakes?

    One of the characteristics of the Left (and consequently the Jackass Party) is a moral relativism. There is no objective truth to them. There is just politics. Consequently all narratives they spin are truth. They are always right. Consequently they cannot be argued with or engaged in any sort of debate. They have been discredited on WMD, on uranium from Niger, on Al-Qaeda/Iraq links and in every other imaginable way but they are in such total denial that they cannot acknowledge one established fact.

    I was a reluctant Bush supporter at first. His stature initially was that he wasn’t that detestable Gore. His response to 9/11 was galvanizing. It was long necessary in my mind but never addressed by the Jackasses. He has prosecuted the WOT as effectively as I believe humanly possible.

  69. “mistakes were made” – gotta love the passive voice. It allows a politician to acknowledge something went wrong, yet eliminate the person or people who actually made the mistakes from the sentence.

    Also – name calling is out of bounds, GeorgeD. Please cool it with the “jackass” label. You are *this* close to having your post deleted (actually, the rest of the post was fine – but the name calling just makes you look petty rather than reasonable).

  70. Here’s a good quote about the mini-series:

    The Clinton Administration clearly took every opportunity to miss an opportunity—that’s just history. . . The Bush Administration did not have as much chance to miss opportunities, but they are also portrayed as having ignored things, and then made to look dazed and unready when disaster hits. Condoleezza Rice especially was made to look like a clueless, self-important know-it-all. (She hasn’t complained; she’s a good sport.)

  71. More good comments here:

    There is no doubt about the fact that the terrorist menace grew and became increasingly obvious during the Clinton administration. To note just a few highlights:

    * January 25, 1993: Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani, fired an AK-47 into cars waiting at a stoplight in front of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Virginia, killing two CIA employees.

    * February 26, 1993: Islamic terrorists try to bring down the World Trade Center with car bombs. They failed to destroy the buildings, but killed 6 and injured over 1000 people.

    * March 12, 1993: Car bombings in Mumbai, India leave 257 dead and 1,400 others injured.

    * July 18, 1994: Bombing of Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, kills 86 and wounds 300. The bombing is generally attributed to Hezbollah acting on behalf of Iran.

    * July 19, 1994: Alas Chiricanas Flight 00901 is bombed, killing 21. Generally attributed to Hezbollah.

    * July 26, 1994: The Israeli Embassy is attacked in London, and a Jewish charity is also car-bombed, wounding 20. The attacks are attributed to Hezbollah.

    * December 11, 1994: A bomb explodes on board Philippine Airlines Flight 434, killing a Japanese businessman. It develops that Ramzi Yousef planted the bomb to test it for the larger terrorist attack he is planning.

    * December 24, 1994: In a preview of September 11, Air France Flight 8969 is hijacked by Islamic terrorists who planned to crash the plane in Paris.

    * January 6, 1995: Operation Bojinka, an Islamist plot to bomb 11 U.S. airliners over the Pacific Ocean, is discovered on a laptop computer in a Manila, Philippines apartment by authorities after a fire occurred in the apartment. Noted terrorists including Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed are involved in the plot.

    * June 14—June 19, 1995: The Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis, in which 105 civilians and 25 Russian troops were killed following an attack by Chechan Islamists.

    * July—October, 1995: Bombings in France by Islamic terrorists led by Khaled Kelkal kill eight and injure more than 100.

    * November 13, 1995: Bombing of OPM-SANG building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills 7

    * November 19, 1995: Bombing of Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan kills 19.

    * January 1996: In Kizlyar, 350 Chechen Islamists took 3,000 hostages in a hospital. The attempt to free them killed 65 civilians and soldiers.

    * February 25 – March 4, 1996: A series of four suicide bombings in Israel leave 60 dead and 284 wounded within 10 days.

    * June 11, 1996: A bomb explodes on a train traveling on the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line of the Moscow Metro, killing four and unjuring at least 12.

    * June 25, 1996: The Khobar Towers bombing, carried out by Hezbollah with Iranian support. Nineteen U.S. servicemen were killed and 372 wounded.

    * February 24, 1997: An armed man opens fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire State Building in New York City, United States, killing a Danish national and wounding visitors from several countries. A handwritten note carried by the gunman claims this was a punishment attack against the “enemies of Palestine”.

    * November 17, 1997: Massacre in Luxor, Egypt, in which Islamist gunmen attack tourists, killing 62 people.

    * January 1998: Wandhama Massacre – 24 Kashmiri Pandits are massacred by Pakistan-backed Islamists in the city of Wandhama in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

    * February 14, 1998: Bombings by Islamic Jihadi groups at an election rally in the Indian city of Coimbatore kill about 60 people.

    * August 7, 1998: Al Qaeda bombs U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, killing 225 people and injuring more than 4,000.

    * August 31 – September 22, 1998: Russian apartment bombings kill about 300 people, leading Russia into Second Chechen War.

    * December 1998: Jordanian authorities foil a plot to bomb American and Israeli tourists in Jordan, and arrest 28 suspects as part of the 2000 millennium attack plots.

    * December 14, 1998: Ahmed Ressam is arrested on the United States–Canada border in Port Angeles, Washington; he confessed to planning to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport as part of the 2000 millennium attack plots.

    * December 24, 1998: Indian Airlines Flight 814 from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi, India is hijacked by Islamic terrorists. One passenger is killed and some hostages are released. After negotiations between the Taliban and the Indian government, the last of the remaining hostages on board Flight 814 are released in exchange for release of 4 terrorists.

    * January 2000: The last of the 2000 millennium attack plots fails, as the boat meant to bomb USS The Sullivans sinks.

    * August 8, 2000: A bomb exploded at an underpass in Pushkin Square in Moscow, killing 11 people and wounding more than 90.

    * August 17, 2000: Two bombs exploded in a shopping center in Riga, Latvia, injuring 35 people.

    * October 12, 2000: AL Qaeda bombs USS Cole with explosive-laden speedboat, killing 17 US sailors and wounding 40, off the port coast of Aden, Yemen.

    and here:

    Which is where The Path to 9/11 comes in. I have no idea whether the scenes featuring Madeline Albright and Sandy Berger are accurate or not; it is certainly regrettable if they aren’t. But they are at most an incidental aspect of the series. The real reason the Democrats don’t want people to see it is that it reveals the utter failure of the Clinton approach to terrorism. Clinton’s policies failed, and the failure didn’t begin on 9/11. Over the course of the Clinton administration, there were dozens of successful attacks and near-misses, many of them directed against American interests both here and abroad. All the while, the terrorist movement grew stronger. This is certainly not a template to which we should want to return.

  72. Beijing,

    I never said that NPR didn’t have commercial support. I said it didn’t have commercials. And it doesn’t. The bias I referred to doesn’t come from who is paying the bills. It comes from who is getting the air time.

    Ivan, I have to admit I’m starting to see your point about Reid.

    You kinda have to question the mental state of a guy who gets up to make a 9-11 speech, noting how flags are “on our suit lapels, our homes, and our hearts,” and then you look at his suit and note that “he’s not wearing a flag lapel pin!” Neither are any of the other Democrats standing nearby.

    Not that I care what you pin on your suit. But if you’re going to make a freaking speech praising the emergence of patriotism via lapel pin wearing, you’d darn-well better make sure you’re actually wearing one.

    Duh…

  73. I thought it was brilliant casting having the evil Mrs. Palmer from 24 play Condoleeza Rice. I also kept waiting for Richard Clarke to ask for his red stapler.

  74. I don’t know about Reid, but I used to like Millennial Star before this glitch in the comment order. I can’t take the time to figure out where comments are supposed to be. If you don’t fix this problem I don’t have the patience to keep visiting.

  75. re: “There is no objective truth to them. There is just politics. Consequently all narratives they spin are truth.”

    You just perfectly described Karl Rove, et. al. It’s absurd to think that this is exclusive to the Left. For the last few years at least, we’ve seen more of it out of the current administration.

  76. That’s funny, Mike (81). I am sympathetic to a large number of what might be called liberal policies. It is just their grip on reality I usually have a problem with.

  77. No, no, no, no.

    I don’t care about the government control program. I don’t care if Bill Gates is writing their news copy for them. I don’t care if Karl Castle is actually a trained lemur.

    No commercials.

    No Geico Auto Insurance, no Pillsbury Doughboy, no tampon commercials.

    All clear?

    Good.

  78. Great link, Geoff.

    Here’s a nice excerpt:

    I am neither an activist, politician or partisan, nor an ideologue of any stripe. What I am is a writer who takes his job very seriously, as do most of my colleagues . . . It would have been good to be able to report due diligence on the part of those who judged the film, the ones who held forth on it before watching a moment of it. Instead, in the rush to judgment, and the effort to portray the series as the work of a right-wing zealot, much was made of my “friendship” with Rush Limbaugh (a connection limited to two social encounters), but nothing of any acquaintance with well-known names on the other side of the political spectrum. No reference to Abby Mann, for instance, with whom I worked on “10,000 Black Men Named George” (whose hero is an African-American communist) or Oliver Stone, producer of “The Day Reagan Was Shot,” a film I wrote and directed. Clearly, those enraged that a film would criticize the Clinton administration’s antiterrorism policies–though critical of its successor as well–were willing to embrace only one scenario: The writer was a conservative hatchetman.
    In July a reporter asked if I had ever been ethnically profiled. I happily replied, “No.” I can no longer say that. The L.A. Times, for one, characterized me by race, religion, ethnicity, country-of-origin and political leanings–wrongly on four of five counts. To them I was an Iranian-American politically conservative Muslim. It is perhaps irrelevant in our brave new world of journalism that I was born in Boulder, Colo. I am not a Muslim or practitioner of any religion, nor am I a political conservative. What am I? I am, most devoutly, an American. I asked the reporter if this kind of labeling was a new policy for the paper. He had no response.

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