Some of you might be familiar with an Internet movie called “Loose Change.” Addressed by NewsBusters in August, this low-budget schlockumentary suggested that much of 9/11 is a fantasy created by the Bush administration to advance the war on terror.
With that in mind, “Democracy Now” host Amy Goodman invited the writer/director and researcher of this film on her program today to debate a couple of editors from Popular Mechanics magazine about this issue (video and transcript links to follow).
Popular Mechanics was invited on due to a March 2005 cover-story it did entitled “9/11: Debunking the Myths.” More recently, PM has taken a strong position against this film in an article at its blog:
This one definitely requires readers to put down all drinking vessels if they want to save their computers from devastating harm. Agence France Presse reported Monday that Australian Prime Minister John Howard has chosen not to meet with former vice president and Global Warmingist-in-Chief Dr. Albert Gore. Apparently, Gore wants to meet with the prime minister to discuss his controversial opinions concerning man-made gases – those not emanating from him, of course – causing irreparable damage to the world’s atmosphere.
According to AFP (emphasis mine), “Howard retorted that he did not take policy advice from films and said he would not meet Gore.”
Howard wasn’t the only Australian government official to diss Gore (emphasis mine):
On this solemn occasion, our hearts go out to all who lost friends, colleagues, and family members five years ago, as well as to those who worked tirelessly and selflessly to save them. God Bless America.
For those that watched “The Path to 9/11” last evening, and were interested in which scenes were targeted by the Clinton administration for editing, you should see Dan Riehl’s post on the subject here.
Those that are interested in what apparently was altered in the final edition should see Al Brown's post here, as well as Editor & Publisher’s article on the subject.
With that as pretext, I wanted to offer my impressions of Part I.
The Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, as well as Commissioner John Lehman, were George Stephanopoulos’s guests on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, and they both spoke out strongly in favor of the upcoming miniseries “The Path to 9/11” (video link to follow).
At the beginning of this discussion, Stephanopoulos presented concerns expressed by Clinton administration officials about the docudrama, and asked Kean if the program should be aired. Kean responded:
Oh, of course, it should be aired. I mean, I'm not for censorship or not allowing people to see things. In my experience with these people who’ve been working in the film they've been responsive to criticism, mine and other people’s, and have made changes that were necessary. I haven't seen the final cut. It's a miniseries. It's not a documentary. It's not done by ABC news. It's done by ABC news entertainment, but as I've seen it, I think it'll make a contribution.
Stephanopoulos then reiterated concerns of the Clinton administration, in particular about a couple of scenes in the film, and asked, “Did you ask the filmmakers to change those scenes and did they change them?” Kean responded:
With all the ballyhoo and discussion surrounding ABC’s “The Path to 9/11,” very few people have actually seen any of the controversial docudrama about to air (hopefully) beginning Sunday. However, to whet your appetites, here is a trailer of the series that has been airing on European television.
In the middle of all the controversy surrounding ABC’s upcoming docudrama “The Path to 9/11,” something very important has been lost: Regardless of the protestations of the left, there were indeed some missed opportunities to capture or kill Osama bin Laden before our nation was attacked. In fact, on March 16, 2004, the NBC “Nightly News” did a report on one such chance the Clinton administration passed on.
What follows is a full transcript of this report, with emphasis given to draw attention to statements that are quite relevant to the current controversy. Those that are interested can watch the video here courtesy of GOP Video.
I guess we all should have expected that mere changes to the story weren’t going to placate Team Clinton, for another letter was sent to ABC President and CEO Robert Iger on Friday, this one asking for “The Path to 9/11” be cancelled. For those that are interested, and can tolerate yet another example of extraordinary political hypocrisy, here it is:
I’ve actually had to watch this segment several times, for it really is quite shocking. After careful analysis, it does indeed appear that NBC’s David Gregory, on HBO’s “Real Time” Friday night, actually defended President George W. Bush against continued personal attacks by host Bill Maher.
As a special guest via satellite, Gregory first countered Maher’s suggestion that Bush is not intelligent, and did so in a fashion that almost pointed the finger right back at Maher himself:
It’s kind of fashionable to dismiss him as a, as a dumb guy. It’s not true. I think people who don’t like him comfort themselves with that. It’s not the case. He’s certainly a very shrewd guy, and he’s a very adept politician.
Imagine that. Next, when Maher made a joke out of this by saying, “We’re just going to let you keep digging your own hole here,” Gregory parried:
Bill Maher on HBO’s “Real Time” Friday evening had some truly disgraceful things to say about America’s president that even at times seemed to shock and offend his typically liberal audience. In his seemingly habitual need to question Bush’s intelligence, Maher stated, with a picture of the president on the screen, “Amid all the 9/11 anniversary talk about what will keep us safe, let me suggest that in a world turned hostile to America, the smartest message we can send to those beyond our shores is ‘We’re not with stupid!’” Maher punctuated this vitriolic statement with a plea to his audience: “Therefore, I maintain that ridiculing this president is now the most patriotic thing you can possibly do.”
This sad episode in American history continues, folks. Now, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, is requesting that ABC reveal “who funded this $40 million dollar slanderous propaganda.”
Of course, he’s talking about “The Path to 9/11.” What else?
As reported by the left-wing blog Raw Story on Friday: "It's deeply disappointing that ABC would put something on the air that has been proven to have factual inaccuracies about one of the most important events in our nation's history," said Dean in the press release. "ABC should not air this distortion of history."
Why wasn’t Dean so concerned with the reporting of “factual inaccuracies about one of the most important events in our nation's history” back in 2004 when Michael Moore released “Fahrenheit 911”? Why has the Democratic Party’s seemingly universal support for that piece of propaganda as addressed here been totally forgotten by its members?
The following is the actual text of the letter sent to Bob Iger, the President and CEO of ABC, by folks representing former president Bill Clinton et al asking for “The Path to 9/11” to be re-edited (hat tip to TPM Café):
September 1, 2006
As you know, ABC intends to air a two part miniseries, “The Path to 9/11,” which purports to document the events leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. ABC claims that the show is based on the 9/11 Commission Report and, as Steve McPherson, President of ABC Entertainment, has said: “When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right.”
Undoubtedly, the anger fomenting as a result of a television docudrama about the most serious attacks on America since Pearl Harbor has to be confounding the most seasoned of cynics.
After prominent House Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to Disney President and CEO Robert Iger requesting a re-editing of “The Path to 9/11” even though they admitted that they “have not yet seen this program” (as reported by NewsBusters here), another such request came from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Byron Dorgan on Thursday.
Did you hear that sound Thursday afternoon? That was the Constitution weeping as one of the nation’s major political parties trampled all over the First Amendment. Remember what that is…that right bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers guaranteeing freedom of speech?
Well, if what was reported by NewsBusters here, and the Ostroy Report here (hat tip to Hot Air) are correct, and ABC really has caved into political pressure from Democrats – in particular, former President Clinton – to edit the miniseries “The Path to 9/11,” such rights have changed forever. At the very least, this would demonstrate that these rights – which Jefferson said were inalienable, by the way! – apply differently to Democrats and Republicans.
In response to an article published at NewsBusters and The American Thinker, I have received two e-mail messages from Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA that used to head up “Alec Station,” the Counterterrorist Center’s Osama bin Laden unit. (Update: Scheuer is the individual regularly referred to in the 9/11 Commission report as "Mike".) His name might ring a bell as the previously anonymous author of the books Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror and Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America. In his writing as well as his interviews, Scheuer is an outspoken critic of the current Administration’s prosecution of the war on terror, as well as an opponent of the war in Iraq. As such, he is not considered to be a friend of the president’s.
That said, after reading my piece about the smear campaign against ABC’s “The Path to 9/11,” Scheuer apprised me of an op-ed he had written for the Washington Times on July 5 of this year. Given its context to this issue, I wanted to share it with our readers, and will do so in its entirety in a moment.
However, before I do, let me first share a more recent opinion offered by Scheuer as answers to some questions I asked of him in response to his first e-mail message: “Is the scene in question as depicted by Rush an accurate account of the plan to capture or kill bin Laden in Afghanistan. If so, who do you believe gave the order to halt it?” Scheuer responded:
As the fifth anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 approaches, Americans are once again facing the horrors surrounding this event, and the ominous portent it conveyed. Yet, for some reason, one group of citizens has chosen to commemorate this solemn occasion by protesting an ABC miniseries documenting the history of this calamity.
As amazing as it might seem, the top brass in the liberal blogosphere’s “Netroots” have been frantically writing the past couple of days about “The Path to 9/11,” declaring to their readers that this docudrama is “a piece of fiction,” and that ABC’s airing it represents “gross negligence.”
At the heart of the controversy is the belief universally shared by these Michael Moore devotees that the ABC program in question doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of their Hero-in-Chief, William Jefferson Clinton. Yet, it appears that none of the disgruntled commentators has actually seen the miniseries – a fact that some hypocritically suggest represents a part of the conspiracy – and, therefore, are coming to conclusions about the program’s contents from reviews by others.
Take for example Markos Moulitsas, the outspoken proprietor of Daily Kos. On September 5, he posted a blog at his website entitled “ABC’s Work of Fiction”:
The liberal blogosphere is going nuts over a miniseries about to air on ABC dealing with 9/11. Why are they so angry? Well, because just as the 9/11 Commission concluded, this program entitled “The Path to 9/11,” chronicles some of the missteps by the Clinton administration that pertain to Osama bin Laden. And, to be sure, folks on the left never want any blame for anything to be given to one of their own.
From what I can uncover, the shouting began at the Democratic Underground on August 27 in a post entitled “ABC docudrama will blame Clinton and Dems for 9/11”:
Whenever comedians make jokes about America or its people, folks are quick to defend their statements as being innocent and intentionally sarcastic just to evoke laughter. The implication is that such entertainers really don’t hate America, or Republicans for that matter, but are just kidding. Well, on August 28, Bill Maher was Larry King’s guest (replayed on September 2), and his statements about the United States and her people should quell the view that opinions he is expressing on HBO’s “Real Time” such as those identified here are done so just to get a laugh (audio link to follow with full transcript).
For example, Maher showed little regard for America by stating (emphasis mine): “You know, this country is, I've said this before, I'm going to keep saying it, it's a pitiful, helpless giant.” Think he was kidding? Later, Maher elaborated:
Is MSNBC about to leave its offices in Secaucus, New Jersey, and be absorbed into other facilities owned by parent company NBC? According to The Hudson Reporter (hat tip to TVNewser), this appears to be the case: “The geographical division of the new leadership has helped fuel the rumors that NBC will close the Secaucus site and consolidate broadcast operations in Manhattan.”
TVNewser’s Brian Stelter, who has been following developments at MSNBC quite closely, believes such a relocation would be all about dollars and cents:
One of the marvelous hypocrisies regularly exhibited by the liberal media is their constant carping about the caustic tone in politics today while they think of new words to express their vitriol and animus for all things Republican. In a blog piece at HuffnPuff Sunday, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley demonstrated this glaring contradiction perfectly as she beseeched fellow liberals that “We can do better” with the hateful words that are used to describe President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Honestly. I’m not kidding.
Actually titled “We Can Do Better” – and cynically presented “[a]s a Labor Day celebration” – Smiley’s clarion call referenced a speech by former California Governor Hiram Johnson in which the harshest language was used to describe Harrison Gray Otis, then publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Johnson referred to Otis as being “disgraceful, depraved, corrupt, crooked, and putrescent.”
As shocking as it might seem, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Smiley wants liberals to use such language to describe America's current president (emphasis mine):
Bill Maher on HBO’s September 1 “Real Time” went on quite an anti-theistic rant that clearly demonstrated his utter disdain for Christians as well as conservatives. To be sure, this wasn’t the first time Maher went so atheistically ballistic as reported by NewsBusters here.
In this instance, Maher suggested that, “If converting to Islam is all it takes to get the terrorists off our backs, then all I have to say is, ‘Lalalalalalala!’” He referred to Americans as “Christians in name only,” asserting that "the best part is that nothing that really matters to you will be different. It’s not like we’re asking you to change your e-mail address." And, he stated that converting to Islam would make conservative Christians happy: “You mean we can stone homosexuals instead of just bitching about them on talk-radio? Thank you Jesus…I mean, Allah.”
To fully appreciate the level of the vitriol – albeit disguised as comedy with some admittedly humorous moments – one must see the video here (go to minute two). Hat tip to our old friend Ian Schwartz who now works for Hot Air. A full transcript follows:
I guess we should have predicted this. After all, in the minds of many in the mainstream media, history began on March 20, 2003, when America invaded Iraq; unless absolutely necessary, all prior events relating to terrorism are to be ignored.
As such, we shouldn’t be at all surprised that a New York Times front-page story about the recent thwarted terrorist plot in Great Britain tied the event to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the reference to Lebanon was extraordinarily specious, as this plan clearly has been in the making for many months, and hatched well before the recent escalation between Hezbollah and Israel.
Alas, consistency and logic aren’t important to America’s press anymore, especially three months prior to a crucial election. With that in mind, the following sentence won’t shock even the least cynical of NewsBusters readers:
In a special bonus feature in our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, a real barnburner took place Wednesday evening on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” In the left corner, Air America radio personality Randi Rhodes. In the right corner, nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz (hat tip to Ms Underestimated with extraordinary video to follow).
As fight lovers would expect, this was a classic battle between the conservative approach to boxing with the more progressive tactics of an extreme southpaw. This was evidenced right after the opening bell, as Boortz jabbed with why Israel has to defend itself:
In a classic “Do as I Say, Not as I Do,” the leader of the new cult the Global Warmingists, Al Gore, appears to not practice what he preaches. A USA Today op-ed by author Peter Schweizer reported Wednesday evening (hat tip to Drudge with emphasis mine):
Graciously, Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore's example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." But if Al Gore is the world's role model for ecology, the planet is doomed.
Shhhh. Wait. It gets better (coffee cups down, kids!):
If a long-time member of Congress lost a primary battle for re-election, and his/her campaign entourage shouted racial epithets at reporters and about her opponent after defeat, do you think this would have been on the evening news? Well, if said member of Congress was a Democrat, the answer apparently is “no,” for not one of the broadcast networks felt it was newsworthy to report Tuesday evening's events involving Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia).
For those that haven’t heard, McKinney’s campaign entourage now includes members of the New Black Panthers. After her primary defeat Tuesday to Hank Johnson for Georgia’s 4th Congressional district, some of these folks went on a bit of a rampage referring to white reporters as “crackers,” calling her opponent an “Uncle Tom,” blaming her loss on Israel, and shouting anti-Semitic epithets at a Jewish reporter (hat tip to Ms Underestimated with video to follow).
The National Enquirer reported Wednesday (hat tip to Drudge) that comedian Robin Williams has entered an alcohol rehab on July 11 to try and conquer “a three-year battle with booze that's threatening to destroy his marriage.” Though we certainly wish Williams well, it does seem rather odd that twelve days before he checked into the Hazelden Springbrook rehab facility in Newberg, Oregon, he was on the “Tonight Show” making disparaging remarks about radio host Rush Limbaugh’s problems with painkillers (video to follow).
He and host Jay Leno were discussing Limbaugh's recent run-in with customs agents over Viagra, and Williams quipped:
But he's got kind of a a tradition of doing that, when he used to have his maid be the mule. [ With a Hispanic accent ] "Mr. Limbaugh, I come back with your medication." Where was he staying in the Caribbean, Club Medicated?
For those that are interested, NewsBusters reported this on July 1. Here is the link to that report, which contains a video of the “Tonight Show” segment in question. However, the reader is cautioned that some of Williams’ comments about Limbaugh were rather vulgar.
If a Senate study concluded that legislation signed by President George W. Bush and supported by Halliburton was partially responsible for today’s high oil and gas prices, do you think you would have heard about it?
Well, such a report was released by the Senate. However, the president that signed the law in question was William Jefferson Clinton, and the company that strongly lobbied for its passage was Enron.
Yet, mysteriously, this study was almost completely ignored.
Remember when Cokie Roberts said on Sunday’s “This Week” on ABC that a Ned Lamont victory in Connecticut would be a “Disaster for the Democratic Party” not once, but twice as reported by NewsBusters here? Well, on Monday, in an interview on NPR with Steve Inskeep (audio link here, hat tip to American Thinker), she reversed her position -- or what many conservatives like to refer to as a “flip-flop” -- and said that this “is going to be hard for all incumbents, but it's especially hard for the party in power.”
That would be the Republicans, wouldn’t it? Inskeep, maybe aware of what Roberts said on Sunday, then asked:
The following certainly qualifies as one of the most absurd statements that I’ve heard from a member of the media lately, and as someone that often spends 18 hours a day watching and reading press reports, that’s saying something (hat tip to Hot Air with video available here).
On Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN, the Washington Post’s Thomas Ricks actually stated with a straight face that Israel is intentionally not destroying all of Hezbollah’s rockets so that some can continue to rain down on Israel killing innocent civilians. This, in Ricks’ view, “helps you with the moral high ground problem, because you know your operations in Lebanon are going to be killing civilians as well.” I kid you not.
Host Howard Kurtz was rather shocked by Ricks’ assertion, and responded almost incredulously:
Imagine if you will a conservative writer with links to Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) posting a picture at his blog of Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) in black face. Days later, Santorum goes on ABC’s “This Week” to discuss the campaign. How much do you think Santorum would be grilled over this issue? Probably rather intensely, yes?
Well, on Sunday, Ned Lamont, the Connecticut millionaire that is trying to defeat Sen. Joe Lieberman in Tuesday’s senatorial primary, was Stephanopoulos’ guest (hat tip to Hot Air with video link available here). Although the host challenged Lamont about his knowledge of the blogs that are backing him, he never actually mentioned the blogger in question, nor did he refer to the picture. Instead, the following is the actual transcript of this exchange:
For those that are interested, Charles Johnson, the proprietor of Little Green Footballs, was interviewed on CNN earlier today. He discussed at length the issue of Adnan Hajj, the Lebanese photographer at the center of Reutersgate.