Paved With Bad Intentions?
The leftist blogosphere and various Democratic groups are up in arms about ABC's upcoming docudrama, The Path to 9/11 (scheduled to air Sept. 10 & 11). A lot of people seem to think it's election-year hatchet-work by filmmakers who ignored the 9/11 Commission report and then used "Based on the 9/11 Commission Report!" as their tagline.
It always aggravates me when people react hysterically to art and entertainment that they haven't seen, so I'm trying to give ABC the benefit of the doubt. The blogosphere might be overreacting. (When has that statement ever been untrue?)
But the problem with a one-off like this one is that if you wait until you've seen it, the damage is already done. And given the election-year timing and the mainstream credibility the show will get from being on ABC, that could be substantial damage.
So I've resorted to the deadliest weapon in the arsenal of the radically inconsequential: letter-writing. Below is a copy of a letter that I sent to the president of Disney (ABC's parent corporation). Feel free to send letters of your own (or just copies of this one, though it's always nicer if a letter is personalized) BEFORE the show airs. You'll note that I didn't say that the show is reputed to have a right-wing bias. If that's important to you, make sure to add it. I was trying to take the high-road--I don't think 9/11 should be a cheap partisan issue for anyone. There's enough blame, shame, and heroism to go around.
(You can also, as I did, send pretty much the same letter and e-mail to Disney (firstname.lastname@example.org), to your local ABC affiliate, and to ABC [Anne Sweeney, CEO, ABC, Inc., 500 S. Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-4551.])
Mr. Robert Iger, CEO
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4873
Dear Robert Iger,
I write you regarding the docudrama The Path to 9/11, currently scheduled to air on ABC Sept. 11.
Obviously, I haven’t seen the program yet, but reports from advance screenings are disturbing. I’ve heard a great deal of credible worry that the show is biased and factually inaccurate. It’s my understanding that at least one member of the 9/11 Commission has already said precisely that.
9/11 was a traumatic and deeply important moment in our recent history, and both ABC and Disney should know better than to deal with it sloppily, much less dishonestly. I urge you, Anne Sweeney, and everyone else ultimately responsible for the content of Disney production and broadcasting to reexamine The Path to 9/11 scrupulously.
If it fails to meet the standards of accuracy and impartiality appropriate to the subject matter, then please don’t run it. In this case, dead air would be better than irresponsible programming.
Not only would irresponsible programming be bad for the country, it would be bad for Disney and for ABC. It would call into question the fairness and reliability of ABC’s news programming, and it would almost certainly create a backlash against ABC and Disney in general. In fact, if this docudrama proves to be election-year hackwork, I and many others will agitate for a boycott of Disney products.