On today's episode of Meet the Press (Sunday, September 10, 2006), Tim Russert interviewed Vice President Cheney. In the interview, Russert took issue with the fact that the Vice President once stated on his show that it was "pretty well confirmed" that Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague in April 2001.
Here's the craftiness by Russert: Mr. Cheney made the "pretty well confirmed" remark in a December 9, 2001, appearance, over four-and-a-half years ago. Russert failed to inform his audience this morning when the remark was originally made. In addition, in three following appearances on Meet the Press (3/02, 9/02, and 9/03), when the Vice President breached the topic of the Atta-Prague allegation, he essentially told Russert that he "[didn't] know" if the visit occurred, that it was "unconfirmed," and that intelligence had been unable "to nail down a close tie between the al-Qaida organization and Saddam Hussein." The Vice President's stance on the issue was certainly modified from the one he originally aired in 2001.
In fact, in the very last appearance that the Vice President made on Meet the Press (in September 2003), Mr. Cheney specifically told Russert that "we just don't know" if such a meeting ever happened. And in his September 2002 appearance, the Vice President said almost the opposite of it being "pretty well confirmed"; he said the meeting was "unconfirmed"! Yet this morning Russert harked back to the original 2001 appearance over four-and-a-half years ago to try and hammer the Vice President for the "pretty well confirmed" words. Fairness, anyone? Not at all.
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:
Sometimes, in spite of itself, ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" shines a light on liberal thinking that liberal political strategists would prefer remain dark. Today Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the Left's answer to Michael Savage, revealed that her thinking remains firmly stuck in pre-9/11 mode.
This is not a source I would normally search out, but I have to admit that actor Donnie Wahlberg gives one of the most thoughtful responses I've seen to the controversy over ABC's "The Path to 9/11" miniseries in this TV Guide interview:
TVGuide.com: What do you think of the brouhaha that's going on now? You had to know that this project could be a hot potato. Wahlberg: I didn't think it was a hot potato. I think there's a stink being made because certain people aren't happy with the way they're being portrayed, but the reality is that in most cases, the producers took a gentle hand with this stuff. The writers and the producers and the director tried to use as much integrity as possible.
While it remains unclear to what extent ABC may alter their upcoming 9/11 docu-drama based upon pressure from the Democrat Party, six clips said to include the controversial footage have made their way onto the Internet.
They can be viewed here via RedState. In the event of trouble with that link, they are also available via a website identified as The Traditional Values Coalition.
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:
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 Washington Post has a way of celebrating anniversaries in an odd way -- say, highlighting an anti-war activist on Memorial Day. Friday's Washington Post, just days shy of the fifth anniversary of 9-11, devoted a long lead article in the Style section to the idea that the Bush administration was behind the almost 3,000 deaths on 9/11. That's a horrendous concept to entertain. But reporter Michael Powell not only found it entertaining. He praised the reasonableness of its proponents.
Notice how he pays tribute to one liberal expert:
It was a year before David Ray Griffin, an eminent liberal theologian and philosopher, began his stroll down the path of disbelief... "To me, the report read as a cartoon." White-haired and courtly, Griffin sits on a couch in a hotel lobby in Manhattan, unspooling words in that reasonable Presbyterian minister's voice. "It's a much greater stretch to accept the official conspiracy story than to consider the alternatives."
This morning’s Wall Street Journal carries an editorial summarizing the findings of a new study from the Media Research Center that documents how the broadcast networks have skewed their coverage of the War on Terror in favor of those most concerned about civil liberties, not protecting the American people from another homeland attack. Here’s how it begins:
The title of a CBS special report Wednesday night posed the question that haunts us all after 9/11: "Five Years Later: Are We Safer?" Given the show's brevity--an hour minus commercials--and the complexity of the subject, CBS's treatment was predictably shallow. After host Katie Couric asked President Bush a few questions of the "your critics say . . . how do you respond?" sort, and we toured the federal antiterrorism command center, there was little time left for an in-depth examination of anything.
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.”
MRC president Brent Bozell appeared on Friday's "Fox and Friends" in the 8am hour beginning at 8am Eastern. The topic discussed was the censorship campaign mounted by Democrats against the ABC miniseries, "The Path to 9/11."
9/7 14:08. Just
heard a quick news report make that claim on WABC radio out of NYC
while in the car. No statement or confirmation from Disney at this
time. The report claimed at least one scene drawing criticism from Dems
may be altered.
network has in recent days made changes to the film,
set to air Sunday and Monday, after leading political figures, many of
them Democrats, complained about bias and alleged inaccuracies.
Meanwhile, a left-wing organization has launched a letter-writing
campaign urging the network to "correct" or dump the miniseries, while
conservative blogs have launched a vigorous defense.
After much discussion, ABC executives and the producers
but did not eliminate entirely, a scene that involved Clinton's
national security advisor, Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, declining to give
the order to kill Bin Laden, according to a person involved with the
film who declined to be identified because of the sensitivities
This is getting entirely out of hand. What a crock. This is disgusting.
New York, NY (September 7, 2006) -- Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today announced that it is removing from its website the materials originally created for classroom use in conjunction with the ABC Television Network docudrama, “The Path to 9/ll,” scheduled to air on the ABC Television Network on September 10 and 11, 2006. A new classroom discussion guide for high school students is being created and will focus more specifically on media literacy, critical thinking, and historical background.
“After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues,” said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic. “At the same time, we believe that developing critical thinking and media literacy skills is crucial for students in today’s society in order to participate fully in our democracy and that a program such as ‘The Path to 9/11’ provides a very ‘teachable moment’ for developing these skills at the high school level. We encourage teachers not to shy away from the controversy surrounding the program, but rather to engage their students in meaningful, in-depth discussion.”
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.
Egged on by NBC’s Ann Curry, 9/11 widow and media fave Kristen Breitweiser attacked Ann Coulter and the President on this morning’s Today. On to promote her new book, Wake-Up Call, Breitweiser was portrayed as merely a non-partisan 'stay-at-home-mother,' as Curry never mentioned her 2004 support for John Kerry.
Before playing a clip of Coulter with Lauer, Curry asked Breitweiser: "You know conservatives, as you know, well know, have attacked, criticized heavily 9/11 widows for, including you, for, for some of what you've said over these years, over these five years. In fact on this program, Ann Coulter, the writer, said something to, to Matt Lauer. Let's take a quick listen to what she said."
Four would-be committee chairmen, all Democrats in the House of Represenatives, just sent ABC a letter demanding that the network review its upcoming miniseries, "The Path to 9/11." No overtly threatening language is used in the letter (reprinted below the fold) but the implication seems pretty clear: If Dems take control of the House in November, ABC should expect hell from the various committees John Conyers, John Dingell, Jane Harman, Louise Slaughter head.
Which party was it that advocates censorship of "incorrect" speech again?
Thursday’s off-lead story in the New York Times on a new CBS/NYT poll, “9/11 Polls Find Lingering Fears in New York City,” dwells on the fears that remain five years after the terrorist attacks in Manhattan and at the Pentagon.
But the national poll itself (the consortium also conducted a separate poll of just New Yorkers) found some interesting responses to three questions not mentioned in the story, perhaps because they conflicted with one of the Times’ irresponsible security scoops -- its revelation of the National Security Agency’s program to monitor communications between terror suspects without warrants
A few months back, 9/11 widow Kristin Breitweiser suggested that former CIA Director George Tenet and named FBI agents are as deserving of the death penalty as Zacarias Moussaoui. You might think that with opinions such as those, Breitweiser had made her liberal bones. Apparently not enough to suit Ann Curry's taste. On this morning's Today show, Curry found Breitweiser's comments on Ann Coulter insufficently bitter, and tried to lure her into even a more avid condemnation of the conservative commentator.
Curry began with this bouquet: "From your grief, you have drawn strength. You have given that strength to us." Ann, I'd say that even before Kristin came along you and your MSM colleagues had all the strength necessary to bash the Bush administration.
Later, it was on to Curry's Coulter-bashing invitation:
"Conservatives as you well know have attacked -- criticized heavily 9/11 widows, including you, for some of what you've said over the years, over these five years. In fact, on this program, Ann Coulter, the writer, said something to Matt Lauer." Today then played the clip of Coulter saying "these broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, revelling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefarazzis, I've never seen people enjoying their husband's deaths so much."
When Breitweiser decided to take the high road, offering 'kudos' to Coulter for having her 'voice heard' and being 'engaged in the political process,' Curry reacted in horror:
"But she's saying that you used your grief! She's saying --"
Top officials of the Clinton administration have launched a preemptive strike against an ABC-TV "docudrama," slated to air Sunday and Monday, that they say includes made-up scenes depicting them as undermining attempts to kill Osama bin Laden.
Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright called one scene involving her "false and defamatory." Former national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger said the film "flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions."
The Daily Kos is currently in an uproar over ABC's The Path To 9/11 as you can see in the current edition of the DUmmie FUnnies. Their big objection to this movie is the portrayal of the Clinton administration not taking the terrorist threat seriously. Well, guess who recently wrote off the terrorist threat as nothing but a bunch of Republican fear mongering? The Daily Kos. Here is a sampling of their "What, Me Worry" postings on the topic of terrorism:
That "Fear" thing you've been peddling for the past five years? Over with. Done. That is, like, sooo 20 minutes ago. Pre-9/12 mindset, and all that. That Dog Don't Hunt. That ship has sailed. It's not playing in Peoria. You might be sellin', but we're not buyin'.
A furious Bill Clinton is warning ABC that its
mini-series "The Path to 9/11" grossly misrepresents his pursuit of
Osama bin Laden - and he is demanding the network "pull the drama" if
changes aren't made.
Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.
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:
Taking its cue from left-wing bloggers (as noted by NB's Noel Sheppard), California-based New York Times reporter Jesse McKinley files a respectful story today on left-wing complaints about the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11," "9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized As Inaccurate And Biased." "Criticized" by left-wingers and former Clintonites, though the Times tries its best to hide that fact.
"Days before its scheduled debut, the first major television miniseries about the Sept. 11 attacks was being criticized on Tuesday as biased and inaccurate by bloggers, terrorism experts and a member of the Sept. 11 commission, whose report makes up much of the film’s source material.
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”:
In the coming hours and days, my colleagues at MRC and NewsBusters are sure to provide comprehensive, in-depth analysis of Katie Couric's debut this evening as the anchor of the CBS Evening News. From the opening segment, whose message was that things are worse in Afghanistan than you realize, to an interview with MSM foreign policy fave Thomas Friedman decrying tax cuts, to anti-McDonald's hypster Morgan Spurlock, ahem, spuriously trying to pass himself off as an opponent of hype, it was all pretty predictable liberal stuff.
But Katie did - unintentionally no doubt - permit a telling moment of candor to slip through the MSM filter. Introducing a segment on Pres. Bush' speech today on matters of national security, Couric said:
"The war on terror began of course with the September 11th attacks on the United States."