While former President Bill Clinton is angry with ABC over the content of it’s miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," he shouldn’t find much to complain about regarding the network’s news coverage of his wife. The entire Wednesday edition of ABC’s "Nightline" was devoted to anchor Cynthia McFadden’s day of campaigning with Senator Hillary Clinton in upstate New York. The half hour was full of softball questions and Bush bashing. While no Clinton critics were highlighted in her report, McFadden did find a New York Republican supporter of Clinton who gushed:
Unidentified female: "I think she’s fabulous. I think she’s more beautiful in person. But more than her beauty, she’s genuine and very intelligent and well-spoken."
Look no further than NewsBusters for complete coverage of Katie Couric’s debut as the anchor of the "CBS Evening News." The MRC’s Brent Baker began the week by noting a previous Couric claim that she’s not biased, but Fox is. Additionally, the new anchor has hired liberal Douglas Brinkley as the show’s historian. On September 5, Couric appeared on "The Early Show," only to apparently forget the program’s name! (Perhaps the perky anchor should do some homework on her new network.)
Ms. Couric wasn’t the week’s only big news. On September 6, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews talked to a Green Party candidate who called for President Bush’s execution. He later told the man, "I like you already." Somewhat ironically, this was only a day after Matthews wondered if Republicans would be using "fear tactics" and other extreme strategies to get elected. (Perhaps calling for the President’s execution could be an example?)
In another Chris Matthews story, NewsBusters Editor Matthew Sheffield talked to the host and was told the Valerie Plame story is now too complicated for coverage. In international news, Mr. Sheffield also noted the BBC’s continuing refusal to disclose the religious background of terror suspects.
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.”
We're all familiar with this definition of a conservative: "a liberal who's just been mugged." This morning, Ted Koppel devised a variation on the theme that could be taken as an insult to his fellow lefties: "a liberal is a conservative who just got arrested."
Koppel's line came in the course of a Today show interview with Matt Lauer to discuss a special that Koppel is about to air in his role as Managing Editor of the Discovery Channel [so that's where he went after leaving ABC!]. As Lauer described it, the documentary, entitled 'The Price of Security,' addresses "the balance between securing the nation and protecting our individual liberties."
It's been natural for some to link the Clintonista campaign against ABC's "The Path to 9/11" with the efforts of MRC and other groups protesting CBS's flimsy biopic on "The Reagans." (Rich Noyes makes one obvious point of difference: Clinton is cogent enough to defend himself. In the fall of 2003, Reagan was deep into his Alzheimer's disease and dying.) Brent Bozell columns from that time are here and here. Brent still believes that if ABC corrects its docudrama if it doesn't have documentation for something being challenged, it's doing the right thing.
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
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.
Rush Limbaugh revealed that ABC has reported that the mini-series, Path to 9/11, is still being edited only two days before its air date. This likely means that the producers of the film are bowing to Democrat Party operatives' pressure to edit the film even at this late date.
As mentioned in my earlier Newsbusters posting, all of this flurry of edits are at the behest of Democrats who are "outraged" over the fact that the Clinton administration looks so bad in this film.
Rosie O’Donnell used the Sept 7 edition of "The View" as a platform to show off her "get rid of the President" bumper stickers and to mock her partner’s "rabid Republican" parents. The new co-host also mentioned that she enjoyed annoying her mother in-law:
Barbara Walters: "How are your in-laws?
O’Donnell: "Yes, my in-laws, Melanie and Joel Safer. (ph?) I love them, from Baton Rouge Louisiana. (Laughs)...And when they come, you know, I like to annoy them in my own way. And we have two cars and my car, the Volvo, has all of these, you know, ‘no war, peace, get rid of the President’ bumper stickers."
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?
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.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attack on America, ABC Entertainment is presenting a six-hour miniseries titled "The Path to 9/11," a forceful, compelling docudrama chronicling the struggles faced by America's counter-terrorist experts between the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 and the fatal one in 2001. Unlike the tone of too much of our reporting on terrorism, where anyone who fights terrorism is depicted as either assembling naked Muslim pyramids if in Iraq, or listening to Grandma's phone calls if at home, this film treats the fight against terror as deadly business, and not just deadly business but a noble struggle for the survival of our nation.
Serious scholars of current events, not to mention some of those named in the film, may take issue with parts of this presentation. The movie is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, which itself is not infallible in its conclusions on what went wrong and what needs to fixed. Moreover, up front the moviemakers note it has composite characters and manipulates the time of events for a better movie experience. As a "docudrama" it has taken certain poetic license with history.
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”:
As you may or may not know, this coming weekend, ABC is presenting a movie about the events that led up to the attacks on the WTC in 2001, called "The Path to 9/11".
It has leaked out by various critics and folks who have been offered an advanced screening of this flick that the Clinton administration does not come out looking too strong on National defense in the years prior to the attacks on that fateful day. In fact, it shows them as responsible for one misstep and failure after another in the face of plenty of forewarning that the situation was quickly escalating.
In light of that depiction, for the last week or so, there have been some pretty persistent rumors that, after these screenings, various members of the Clinton administration, including the ex-president himself, began a campaign of calls, meetings and efforts to cajole ABC into altering and editing the film to make the Clintons look better.
"The View," with new co-host Rosie O’Donnell, debuted its tenth season today. O’Donnell, known for her extreme left-wing politics, steered clear of any overt displays of liberalism. There were, however, hints of conflicts to come. After co-host Joy Behar playfully mocked Rosie’s use of baby talk, Ms. O’Donnell looked right into the camera and observed, in reference to conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselback, "...You all thought I was going to have problems with Elizabeth!" Barbara Walters wryly responded, "And trust me, you will!"
Rosie’s "View" debut, which aired on September 5, saw many of O’Donnell’s old standbys: Odd stories about her children and free giveaways to the audience. The comedian appeared to be making an attempt to remind viewers of the "Queen of Nice" Rosie, and not of a loud, political liberal. At 11:09, Behar, possibly in an attempt to set off a rant, asked O’Donnell how many times she had been married:
O’Donnell: "Once. I’m only doing it once."
Behar: " But didn’t they nullify it?"
Rather then take the bait, the new co-host decided to stay polite:
O’Donnell: "We were married and then un-married. But, you know, it’s, you know, we'll get to that, not on the first day."
"Last Days on Planet Earth" was the alarming title of ABC's 20/20 special tonight, a show that presented seven frightening scenarios that could lead to our extinction. But the bottom six in the countdown, things like supervolcanoes and asteroid strikes, nuclear annihilation and superbugs (natural and man-made) were only window dressing for the real point of the show; the number one threat to human existence...global warming.
Hostess Elizabeth Vargas trotted out carefully selected environmental scientists to explain the concept to anyone who has been comatose for the past decade or so, leading up to the star of this 20/20 special - Al Gore. Gore sonorously (and soporifically) intoned his orthodoxy, and declared a fatwah against any heretics who might disagree with his conclusions.
Near the end of Tuesday's "World News with Charles Gibson," ABC's "A Closer Look" segment explored racial tensions in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Reporter Steve Osunsami recycled wild black conspiracy theories about how the levees were blown up in a racist plot, complete with Spike Lee soundbites and documentary footage. Whites were said to be delighted that Katrina would make the city much whiter. Lance Hill, the Tulane University professor ABC selected to describe white opinion, claims the government ordered no food and water be distributed to Katrina victims, and spurred local Holocaust-survivor outrage by comparing the government's Katrina response to Hitler's Holocaust. ABC didn't explain any of that.
On ABC's World News Tuesday night, a story on President Bush's day in New Orleans aggressively underlined the liberal theme that the response to Hurricane Katrina is a scandalous, indelible black mark on Bush's legacy. Reporter Martha Raddatz told viewers "the slow response was indeed a political disaster for the President, from which he is still trying to recover." Raddatz ended the story with an anecdote about a waitress joking to Bush that he wasn't going to turn his back on her, and Bush reportedly replied: "No, ma'am, not again."
Anchorman Charles Gibson began the segment, the second story after a general recounting of how New Orleanians commemorated the one-year anniversary, with a brief mention of responsibility at all levels of government. But as usual, ABC had no time for the Democratic mayor or governor and their failures, even as Raddatz highlighted the Democratic senator slamming the federal response. Gibson theorized:
Read all about it: a new MRC special report called “Election in the Streets,” that demonstrates that ABC, CBS, and NBC behaved like protester publicists in late March, April, and May, in complete contradiction to public opinion polls showing America had a serious problem with the tide of illegal immigration. Gooey stories about illegal aliens “emerging from the shadows” to fight for their “rights” piled up the soundbites for amnesty, and the protest organizers somehow evaded ever being described as liberals or leftists, despite talking about the “fascist clauses” in the Sensenbrenner bill. Check it out before the next round of protests heats up next weekend. Here's a summary:
We all knew that the one-year Katrina anniversary was going to be a festival of MSM Bush-bashing. And while Good Morning America certainly fulfilled that expectation this morning, who could have guessed that they would have thrown in a two-fer - the beginnings of the beatification of Bill Clinton?
Check out the graphic. Move over, Jimmy Carter: ABC has proclaimed Bill Clinton the new Philanthropist-in-Chief! Interviewed by Robin Roberts, Clinton allowed as to how if he had been in charge during Katrina "I might have done something more just because I feel so close to the area." Darn that 22nd Amendment!
Earlier on, Charlie Gibson ensured that America wouldn't forget what was portrayed as a low point for Pres. Bush during Katrina. As the screen showed W peering down at the devastation from a plane window, Gibson told us that with regard to government plans to deal with future hurricanes:
"There's a certain doubt, even though it's all on paper, whether it would actually work. Because one of the sad parts of this is that there's been an erosion in confidence in government . . . I think everybody
On his "Political Punch" blog (formerly "Down and Dirty"), ABC reporter Jake Tapper reports that the ethical scolds in the Democratic Party are somehow overlooking the corruption of Congressman Bill "Cold Cash" Jefferson as the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina rolls around:
The Democratic Caucus's Katrina Task Force will travel to the Gulf Coast region from August 27 through August 30 to mark the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. One special part of this trip? On Monday, August 28, roughly 20 House Democrats will be guided on a tour of the region by Rep. William Jefferson, D-LA and the National Guard.
That may seem especially odd considering the history of Jefferson and the National Guard in New Orleans. You may remember Jefferson from a year ago, when we broke the story that in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina he used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops. (Read the story HERE)
ABC’s Claire Shipman appeared eager to trot out more Democratic hyperbole on President Bush’s handling of Iraq during Tuesday’s "Good Morning America." Setting up Shipman’s piece, GMA anchor Robin Roberts reported on the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, which found President Bush’s overall job approval rating up to 42%. Minutes later, discussing the President’s stance on the war in Iraq, Shipman asserted that during his Monday news conference, the President "offered no real softening of a policy that grows more unpopular by the day, even among Republicans."
An examination of the same USA Today/Gallup poll that Roberts reported on shows that 36% of those polled approve of President Bush’s handling of Iraq. This is actually a one percent increase since USA Today/Gallup last measured public opinion on the issue in July.
TV Newser reports that ABC has made it official that Chris Cuomo, the son of long-time liberal New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, will be the news anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America" starting September 5. Cuomo's been at ABC since 1999, just a little shorter than...
George Stephanopoulos, another Democrat in media clothing. George is a hot property at ABC that CBS wanted to steal, as TVNewser cited a report from Michele Greppi:
"CBS News courted but couldn't land George Stephanopoulos, who recently signed a new deal, with a nice raise, to stay at ABC News for four more years."
Stephanopoulos and his agent Alan Berger initiated the talks and "the conversation never turned into an actual offer." Sean McManus "made an aggressive pitch that included talk about multiple plum roles, including Washington bureau chief and chief political analyst, and a high-profile position as the chief on-air political foil for Ms. Couric. He is said to have been told that he would be able to contribute to '60 Minutes.'" But McManus couldn't offer a Sunday show "because Bob Schieffer is assured that he will be moderator of 'Face the Nation' for as long he wishes."