Friday, September 08, 2006

Democrats And Free Speech

"Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do." ~ Dale Carnegie

The following letter was sent to Disney CEO Robert Iger:

September 7, 2006

Mr. Robert A. Iger

President and CEO

The Walt Disney Company


We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney’s plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.



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. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.


Disney and ABC claim this program to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report and are using that assertion as part of the promotional campaign for it. The 9/11 Commission is the most respected American authority on the 9/11 attacks, and association with it carries a special responsibility. Indeed, the very events themselves on 9/11, so tragic as they were, demand extreme care by any who attempt to use those events as part of an entertainment or educational program. To quote Steve McPhereson, president of ABC Entertainment, "When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right.”



Unfortunately, it appears Disney and ABC got it totally wrong.



Despite claims by your network’s representatives that The Path to 9/11 is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, 9/11 Commissioners themselves, as well as other experts on the issues, disagree.




Richard Ben-Veniste, speaking for himself and fellow 9/11 Commissioners who recently viewed the program, said, "As we were watching, we were trying to think how they could have misinterpreted the 9/11 Commission’s findings the way that they had.” ["9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]



Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism czar, and a national security advisor to ABC has described the program as "deeply flawed” and said of the program’s depiction of a Clinton official hanging up on an intelligence agent, "It’s 180 degrees from what happened.” ["9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]


Reports suggest that an FBI agent who worked on 9/11 and served as a consultant to ABC on this program quit halfway through because, "he thought they were making things up.” [MSNBC, September 7, 2006]


Even Thomas Kean, who serves as a paid consultant to the miniseries, has admitted that scenes in the film are fictionalized. ["9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]


That Disney would seek to broadcast an admittedly and proven false recounting of the events of 9/11 raises serious questions about the motivations of its creators and those who approved the deeply flawed program. Finally, that Disney plans to air commercial-free a program that reportedly cost it $40 million to produce serves to add fuel to these concerns.



These concerns are made all the more pressing by the political leaning of and the public statements made by the writer/producer of this miniseries, Mr. Cyrus Nowrasteh, in promoting this miniseries across conservative blogs and talk shows.



Frankly, that ABC and Disney would consider airing a program that could be construed as right-wing political propaganda on such a grave and important event involving the security of our nation is a discredit both to the Disney brand and to the legacy of honesty built at ABC by honorable individuals from David Brinkley to Peter Jennings. Furthermore, that Disney would seek to use Scholastic to promote this misguided programming to American children as a substitute for factual information is a disgrace.


As 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick said, "It is critically important to the safety of our nation that our citizens, and particularly our school children, understand what actually happened and why – so that we can proceed from a common understanding of what went wrong and act with unity to make our country safer.”



Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. 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 look forward to hearing back from you soon.



Sincerely,


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid

Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Charles Schumer

Senator Byron Dorgan

Funny. I don't recall Senate Republicans sending ;etters to Michael Moore demanding
he not release his so-called documentary, Farenheit: 9/11.

Why aren't Liberals complaining about Nazi book burning now?

39 comments:

Dan Trabue said...

I don't think it shouldn't be broadcast but if it is as politically-motivated and disinformational as it sounds, I think there ought to be equal time given to an alternative view.

This is election season and it's not right to present a 2 hour Republican commercial right now.

The difference between Moore's film and this is that this is on OUR airwaves, not something I'm paying to go see. We have rules governing politicking and giving equal time on public airwaves.

I would be opposed to a 2 hour broadcast that presented false information about Bush during election time, too.

This is especially troubling when many of these same stations won't even run commercials that MoveOn and their ilk offer to pay for. It makes you question the whole myth of a "liberal" media, doesn't it?

Liam said...

If it's just a TV series then I agree with you; free speech is free speech whoever you think is 'to blame' for 9/11.

I'm a bit concerned though about the implication that it would be used as teaching material as well. A movie is just entertainment, but if it's used a teaching aid, then it should be held to a higher standard of accuracy.

Henry said...

The libs are all about hypocrisy!

I'm still stunned that Democrat leaders are trying to censor this film.

What happened to the Dems and their "Party of Tolerance"?

Nothing. It never existed.

Gayle said...

Republicans didn't write letters of protest Mark, because Republicans actually do believe in free speech. Democrats believe in free speech too, but only for themselves. Sort of like freedom of religion you know? Everyone has a right to freedom of religion except for Christians. *sigh*

rusty shakelford said...

just one more case were there is a double standard in favor of Democrats

jgf said...

It isn't about politics. It is about the 5th anniversary of 9/11.

Lone Ranger said...

As an underworked, overpaid member of the media, I was able to compile a listof the factual errors in the series. The liberals are right. Fiction has no place on television, even if the producer clearly says it's fiction. There are some people out there who might see it as the truth. You know how stupid the average red-stater is. Instead, we should have patriotic programs showing our brave men and women in uniform singing military operas, and parades of weaponry down Constitution Ave. Oh, wait. Make it Independence Avenue, then I'll have a bird's eye seat.

ELAshley said...

"...politically-motivated and disinformational..."

Only because you have nothing but disdain for Republicans... Or because you worship the ground the Clinton Administration (and Democrats) walks on... OR because you believe the opinions of the morally bankrupt; ie Democrats such as Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, Kennedy, Kerry, Gore, Clinton, etc et al... OR because you're believe the last 3 Republican Presidents are War Criminals!!! You probably believe every foul gobbet of tripe that comes out of Bill Maher's mouth.

"...on our airwaves...

Does this mean I get to object to NBC News? CBS News? ABC? MSNBC? CNN? Hey, they're my airwaves too! Also, how do you get off complaining about this miniseries, when it's being aired by ABC? A full-fledged card-carrying member of the Democratic party: media division!

The only myth here is that you're capable of seeing/hearing the truth. And if 'MoveOn and their ilk' can't run commercials you can thank that abomination more popularly known as the McCain Feingold Amendment. That's why we have groups like MOveOn and SwiftBoat! That's why incumbants get to run the last 60 days of their race unopposed-- verbally speaking.

Sheesh! You love to tout how middle-of-the-road you are, but it's just a facade. I don't care what you call yourself, you've posted enough here and elsewhere to pigeon-hole yourself... A nice neat little box aptly labeled 'LIBERAL'.

I am constantly amazed at your obtuseness!

And no! I will not apologize for saying any of this! I'm exercizing my first amendment right to free speech. So until the Democrats/Liberals, in cahoots with the ACLU and their pet Judiciary finally take that right away... Deal with it. I. AM. SICK. AND. TIRED. of democratic Namby Pamby doublespeak!

SHEESH!

And I'm tired of being nice about it...

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I don't think it shouldn't be broadcast but if it is as politically-motivated and disinformational as it sounds, I think there ought to be equal time given to an alternative view.

Dan...much of the criticism I think is hysteria from people who haven't seen it. Ben-Veniste, who I've heard was the most partisan member of the 9/11 Commission, offered his criticism right after viewing part one. Part two is critical of the Bush Administration.

The Clintonistas are narcissistic and are too thin-skinned to handle any criticism that damages the Clinton legacy. The left always moan about Bush not taking any responsibility for misteps and mistakes; but what about Clinton? The movie is about what led us to 9/11. That means covering 8 years of Clinton and 9 months of Bush, among other things.

This is election season and it's not right to present a 2 hour Republican commercial right now.

The timing is inconvenient. But just because Dems don't come out smelling like roses doesn't make it a Republican commercial; and it can't be helped that September 11th comes close to November. Should a show about an important date in our history not be shown on that date?

The difference between Moore's film and this is that this is on OUR airwaves, not something I'm paying to go see. We have rules governing politicking and giving equal time on public airwaves.

It is not a campaign commercial. It is a docu-drama. And from what I understand, it's not about laying blame at Clinton or Bush, although it definitely shows that we were all asleep; dems and repubs. Except for men like John O'Neill, none of us were paying attention prior to 9/11. The movie is about our failures to recognize a growing and gathering threat.

I would be opposed to a 2 hour broadcast that presented false information about Bush during election time, too.


That's all fine and dandy Dan. But with all the cries of hypocrisy coming from the Left and citing the Reagan miniseries, were people like you out there raising a stink over the Reagan miniseries?

I'm a bit concerned though about the implication that it would be used as teaching material as well. A movie is just entertainment, but if it's used a teaching aid, then it should be held to a higher standard of accuracy.

Liam, I think I can agree to that.

Unfortunately, none of us can agree with what the facts are. I've heard several different versions of the main "controversial scene" in the movie. What is the truth? How did it really happen? It is frustrating that no one can agree on the facts.

Mark, this comment moderation absolutely is the pits. Unless you are at your computer, for all I know there are 25 comments before mine but I can't see 'em; I might just be repeating what's been said. You run a debate-style comment section, but comment moderation runs counter to having good dialogue.

Poison Pero said...

Hey Trabue, you don't think Michael Moore has had an equal opportunity to smear Bush?

Give me a break. Turn the tables and tell me you'd be sticking up for Bush or any other Republican........I doubt it.

That said I'm going to watch the show, and I bet the whole thing is over-hyped.......Here's betting the show is brutal on Bush, Condi, Rummy, Cheney, etc., just as it will be for Clinton, etc.

The 9/11 attack was a cumulative failure of both parties, and a general apathy among most Americans as well.....There should be no need to hide behind this reality. If anything we should show our warts in order to make sure we are awake in the future.

Also, the country is so frenetic I doubt many will even watch the show.......They'll be watching football, Seinfeld re-runs or who knows what.

If the show does put Clinton in a bad light, he has made a huge mistake of making a big deal of the issue........Had he not the show would have passed by and gone away. Instead he's made an event of it, and will cause many more to tune in and take note.

Seamus said...

"I don't think it shouldn't be broadcast but if it is as politically-motivated and disinformational as it sounds, I think there ought to be equal time given to an alternative view."

Oh, you want alternative views given equal time when your point of view is being challenged? Wait a minute, this sounds familiar...oh yeah, something like Intelligent Design Theory and evolution being given equal treatment...

Building from that issue, your best bet is to be quiet and stop oppressing us with your bigoted "other views". At least, that's how you treated us when we proposed equal treatment of a controversial issue...

What's that? ID isn't science because non-ID scientists don't think so? Why, that's about as sensical as saying that this film isn't right-winged because right-wingers don't think so...

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

Do you folks remember the TV MOvie a few years ago about Ronald and Nancy Reagan?

I distinctly remember the left waving complaints from Republicans away like it was rediculous to even question the film's authenticity!

Remember that? James Brolin?

Dan--I wonder how you'll spin an answer to my question this time!

Jim said...

Um, the Michael Moore film was clearly an opinion piece, not a historical accounting of events. It had a point of view which was unmistakeable.

On the other hand, ABC markets PT911 as "The Official True Story". As such it should be the official true story and not include made up scenes which contradict The 9/11 Commission Report, which I believe you all have previously cited as the "official true story".

Erudite Redneck said...

Repubs don't understand the concept of "public airwaves" and hopw it applies to broadcasting and not to cable or movie theaters or DVDs or whatever. So, they think the Fairness Doctrine is unfair.

BTW, what part of the following do y'all not rememeber???

In 2003, supporters of President Reagan were incensed by a CBS movie that fictionalized scenes and put words into Reagan's mouth. CBS yanked "The Reagans" before its airdate and moved it to a much-less-watched sister network, the pay cable outlet Showtime.

IT CUTS BOTH WAYS.

Wasp Jerky said...

Well, Moore's film is obviously opinion. This film, in contrast, purports to be a dramatization of what actually happened. But it is filled with factual errors. They, for example, don't even get the airline and airport that Mohamed Atta flew out of right. That's pretty pathetic, and actually borders on slander, given that people have made many attempts to correct these errors.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I absolutely love that Dale Carnegie quote at the top!!!!! Great post!!

Dan Trabue said...

"But with all the cries of hypocrisy coming from the Left and citing the Reagan miniseries, were people like you out there raising a stink over the Reagan miniseries?"

I was opposed to the Reagan series not being shown and I was opposed to this show not being shown. That's consistency.

Some Rightwingish folk demanded the Reagan series not be broadcast and now demand that this be broadcast. That's inconsistency.

Am I wrong?

Elashley said (in a bit of a snit towards me, it seems):
"Does this mean I get to object to NBC News? "

Yes. Object away. ESPECIALLY if they're broadcasting misinformation. AND EVEN MORESO if they're advancing a known fiction as plausible facts.

What's your point?

Elashley also opined:

"how do you get off complaining about this miniseries, when it's being aired by ABC? A full-fledged card-carrying member of the Democratic party: media division!"

Your source?

And E, I'll thank you not to continue to bear false witness against me. Keep breaking them big Ten C's and see where it'll get you.

Thank you, Wordsmith, for your never-failing polite and reasonable disagreement with me. I could disagree with you all day and it would be a pleasure. And I mean that in a nice way...

Goat said...

I watched both episodes and found a fair critique of several administrations and their failures on Islamic terrorism. Dick Clarke and John O'Neil both are portrayed very favorably. I found it to be a very good informative docudrame, the worst method of portyaying history. It slammed the Clinton and Bush teams pretty evenly.I know this Goat won't forget our country being ruthlessly attacked. I know the lefts "Blame America" excuses, lets see them actually defend that position! Dan you are not worth the keyboard time.

Goat said...

BTW, I love Dale Carnegie, "How To Win Friends And Influence People" is the salesman's bible, so to speak. It is a book every person should read.

BRUISER said...

Really ? Are you serious about not hearing Republicans bitch and moan about Disney releasing Farenheit 9-11 ???!?! Wow talk about rewriting history Mark.

Besides Mark if you know anything at all about television you would know that they make their money on the advertising dollar not the actual content. In this case "someone" or in this case the RNC was bankrolling the republican fairytale "commercial free"...unprecedented in this day and age. Mark, when have dems been so up in arms over censorship? I'll tell you ... its called the "Fairness Doctorine" which Reagan abolished and allowed media like Fox to brand themselves "news"

Are you allowed to yell fire in a crowded public space ...when your lying? I thought not.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I was opposed to the Reagan series not being shown and I was opposed to this show not being shown. That's consistency.


Thanks for clearing that up.

Mark said...

Thanks to all who commented. I noticed a common thread in most the L:beral's comments, and that is that Republicans objected to the movie about Reagan.

Yes they did.

But they did not write letters to Babs Streisand or the network demanding they not show it. They did not attempt to censor it, or block it from the netwoerks.

Bill Clinton and just about all of the current Democrat leadership demanded that ABC not show the mini-series.

That is quite different than simply objecting to the objectional content.

If they had been successsful in blocking the series from being shown, they would have been no different than the same Nazis that they accuse Republicans of emulating.

Their duplicity is secondary only to their selective blindness. How they can make such demands and not see that they are guilty of attempted censorship is beyond me.

Jim said...

So tell me, Mark. Why did CBS PULL IT from the network and only show it on cable? Just had a change of heart?

Goat said...

Well, Jim and the other raving loonies here there is a difference between truth and straight out lies.ABC's docudrame was based on fact, the CBS fictional movie was based in untruth. What Senator or Congressman from the GOP threatened to pull CBS's liscense if they aired it? UMMMMM, zero, how many Clintonistas threatened ABC with the same, quite a few.
I watch very little TV and when I do it is news, Cspan or sports and I have seen a move to be more objective and balanced with Foxes success and the total embarrassement of CBS and memogate. Conservatives are way to big a demographic to ignore or slander as the NYT, LAT and lefty broadcast television moguls are learning with their bankaccounts, Air America is filing for bankruptcy as well.

Mark said...

Yeah, whaty Goat said.

Toad734 said...

Free speech is one thing but selling lies as truth is well, obviously the Republican way (WMDs Come to mind)so you can see why people want the conservative media to start telling the truth. Sure they have a right to spout their lies but that doesn't mean they should. I have the right to say you have sex with monkeys but that doesn't mean I should.

Jim said...

Lie. Air America is NOT filing for bankruptcy.

Memogate, hmmm? That's the one where NOBODY EVER PROVED that the documents were phoney.

Goat said...

It seems some are so well uninformed they actually believe the MSM, ignorant may be a better word. Umm, Toad, Joe Wilson has been totally discredited as lying scum and WMDs have been found in Iraq as well as the facilities to manufacture them. It is a big desert and alot can be buried under the sand including fighter jets. Your point was, Toad? It seems to have slipped my mind. The ABC film was dramatized fact, the Reagan CBS film was dramatized fiction, a very big difference, if you disagree provide facts to back it up. I can offer quite a few, want to try me? The 9/11 Report, the duelfor Report, the IAEA just to get it started. Ouch, that must sting a bit.

Jim said...

Goat, please tell us how Joe Wilson has been proved to be a "lying scum". What are your sources?

Goat said...

Jim so sorry, Al Franken has admitted it on air and admitted he has not beeen paid in months and launched an unsuccessful donation campaign. Ignorant is as ignorant does, bye bye, so sad to see you go. I know, maybe Rosie O'Donnell, Gloria Steinham and Jane Fonda will have better luck. ROFLMAO

Heidi on Vashon said...

I think we all pretty much agree, airing this program was a ba-a-ad idea no matter what broadcaster was airing it. Bush has a low enough rating, this kind of programming only salts the wound.

Jim said...

Goat? Joe Wilson?

Goat said...

Jim, you must not read very much, that whole argument has no legs, my sources can be found in my blogroll. The Washington Post even fessed up after Armitage came forward.
Mark, check this out and think of some of your commenters, LOL.
http://onecosmos.blogspot.com/2006/09/fourteen-characteristics-of-fascism-is.html
and this
http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/conspiracy_cranks_opedcolumnists_james_b__meigs.htm. You should get a kick out of them.

Jim said...

Goat,

You are making no argument. You said Joe Wilson was proved to be lying scum, but you have not given either examples or citations to back up those examples.

I have read plenty. I'm really pretty knowledgeable on the subject. Don't know everything, but I know the Republic talking points bullshit.

Goat said...

Jim. if you would like more details you can refer to Robert Novak, other than that it is irrelavant to Mark's premise. May I return serve in asking for your sousrces other than the discredited ones? Joe Wilson was a lieing partisan fraud and he and his wife have made a mint off the fake scandal. That is fact, take it and enjoy it, it may hurt at first.

Goat said...

Sorry for the double Mark.
Jim you are the least of my concerns so if I don't jump when you bark it means you have no bite in Barnyard parlance.

Jim said...

Goat,

Using Novakula as a source for "truth"? You have GOT to be kidding me.

Novak has changed his story more times than Bush changes his justification for invading Iraq.

Novak has no credibility whatsoever. So you can point me to something specific by Novak where he "proves" that Wilson is lying scum, and I'll read it. But I doubt you can.

Goat said...

Richard Armitage, end of debate, brick zero. This story is so moldy it has been submitted for lab tests, is this really the best you loonbats have?

Jim said...

Dick Armitage, Robert Novak. These are names. They are not proof of lying scum. Goat, try to put a couple of sentences together in a way that makes sense. You said Wilson was proved to be a lying scum. You have not provided one iota of proof of that. You haven't even provided an accusation other that your own.