I have just a few thoughts on the controversy surrounding the ABC mini-series, The Path to 9/11. Unfortunately I have not seen the movie. Since many of those most prominently calling for its cancellation or drastic editing have yet to see it either, I feel pretty comfortable throwing in my two cents.
First, before anything else, I have to ask why the heck Sandy Berger is invited to go on television and say anything whatsoever about national security? If he had any sense of shame he would have crawled under a rock and never set foot in front of a television camera for the rest of his life after stealing classified documents. Of course if he had any sense of shame he would have never been a part of the Clinton administration. At the very least it seems to me that journalists interviewing him should point out his complete and total lack of credibility. They won’t though, because then their viewers would start asking why they were bothering to interview him. They would have a good point, too.
Now for the movie. I am not crazy about words that were not said and actions that did not occur being attributed to real people, especially living ones, in movies. I do understand the need to use character composites and other dramatic methods to make a story flow properly or to shorten it to a reasonable length, though. I have watched many movies that were based on true stories, however, only to find out later that major parts of the story were complete fiction. In one case I learned that my favorite character in a “true story” was completely fictional. Another time I learned that in real life a character that died in the movie actually lived. If you are watching a movie based on real events, you tend to want to see real events portrayed as closely as possible.
What I have read about the ABC 9/11 movie, though, is that most of the portrayals are at least consistent with the pattern of behavior of those being depicted. That makes the hysteria from the Clinton crowd particularly ridiculous. Those on the left whining (and worse) about this movie are completely without standing to do so unless they also objected to, and called for a cancellation of most all of Oliver Stone’s movies, all of Michael Moore’s movies, CBS’s Reagan fantasy, and several dozen other movies that have inaccurately portrayed conservatives.
I agree with most other conservative bloggers that if ABC has significantly edited this movie, their credibility will suffer for it. It is hard to know how much, though, since their credibility (with me anyway) was already pretty darn close to non-existent.
Carol Platt Liebau found some amazing commentary at The Huffington Post on this subject and she makes some good points about the controversy.