The Path to 911: “Clinton did it”

I’m too busy to join my fellow liberal bloggers who are justifiably furious at Disney and ABC for their obscene attempt to air as docudrama an intensely biased mini-series designed to put Clinton in the worst possible light, with scenes that are pure fiction. The only thing I have time to do is refer readers to this excellent post with some photoshopped images that say it all.

The Discussion: 25 Comments

“The first bombing of the World Trade Center happened on Bill Clinton’s watch. So did the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen. The president’s staff — and the civil servants who worked for them — witnessed the danger of Al Qaeda close up and personally. ” From the NYTimes review.

September 8, 2006 @ 8:17 am | Comment

ABC is wrong to do this.

I’m happy to support the Democrats’ objections to such faux history, just as the Democrats happily joined Republicans in protesting the defamatory CBS faux Reagan documentary.

Oh wait. . . .

September 8, 2006 @ 9:26 am | Comment

Bullshit, “Ming.” As I recall, on of the scenes objected to in the Reagan bio concerned Reagan’s attitude towards AIDs. CBS cut “Reagan’s” dialog that the Right found offensive. You won, okay? It wasn’t broadcast, it was edited to reflect your concerns and it ended up on a premium cable channel where hardly anyone saw it.

I watched the miniseries when it eventually aired on Showtime. Since I’m not a Reagan fan, I’m more than willing to admit that I wasn’t sensitive to what his supporters found objectionable, but the apt comparison here, to me, would be PRIMARY COLORS, the extremely “faux” Clinton rip-off. The Reagan “bio” was an Oval Office soap opera that portrayed the Reagans in a generally sympathetic light. It hardly touched on his policies and the effect they had on the country.

There’s a big difference between that and a show that lies about the historical record of an event which irrevocably changed America’s foreign and domestic policy, that traumatised a nation and has led us to a war that we’re still fighting. It is entirely different to make advance screening copies of said “dramatisation” available to right-wing bloggers and columnists only. And it’s hugely different to claim that said miniseries is “based on the 9/11 Commission Report” (a claim they’ve since retracted), the government’s document of record of the event and send out study guides to students for classroom use.

The Right’s whole game is “blame Clinton.” They’ve had six plus years in control of Congress, the executive and the Supreme Court, and it’s still “blame Clinton.”

Clinton’s record vis Bin Laden wasn’t perfect, but his administration was much more concerned with terrorism than Bush’s, pre-9/11. There’s plenty of evidence to support that.

Meanwhile, I somehow doubt that the miniseries will dramatise the presentation of the Aug. 6 Presidential Briefing Paper to George Bush in Crawford.

“All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”

September 8, 2006 @ 10:29 am | Comment

No one of us has actually SEEN this show yet so it’s early to rush to conclusions about the content (this could be simply a way to garner attention and controversy in lieu of a good product), but it would appear that Clinton was so preoccupied about the Lewinsky scandal that he ignored the terror threat. That’s a fair assumption I think, and one that should bring considerable discomfort to his fans. The reminder that he slaughtered people in missile strikes to divert attention to his personal troubles should prevent his fans from being too eager to drop everything in the rush to defend him.
Still no apology to those massacred in that Sudan pharmaceutical company….

September 8, 2006 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

The very same “mockumentary” is going to be shown on BBC2 (several hours before it airs in the U.S., incidentally) and there hasn’t been the slightest peep of protest out of Britain as far as I can tell.


Oh, and Keir: if you’re going to blame anyone for Clinton’s preoccupation with the Lewinsky scandal, blame Lucianne Goldberg.

September 8, 2006 @ 2:31 pm | Comment

There is NO evidence, none, that “Clinton’s preoccupation with Lewinsky” led to a neglect of the Osama problem, and the accusation that he bombed Somalia to take peoples’ minds off the scandal is a restatement of the Republican hue and cry every time Clinton DID take action – that it was “wag the dog.” How many times did we hear that? No anti-terrorist actions here, it was all “Wag the dog” according to the Republican opposition. Clinton got no support from Republicans. Now, of course, they criticize him for not bombing enough.

As far as the “dramatization” goes, the fact that ABC sent out preview copies to 900 right-wing bloggers and commentators, and that Clinton officials were refused when they requested copies to review (as were lefty bloggers) ought to tell you something about the program’s agenda. Richard Clarke, the former Ambassador to Yemen, the FBI officer advising the show who quit halfway through – all of these people have said that the show is inaccurate, not in “compressing time and imagining dialog” kinds of ways, but in matters that really count – it lies about the role of the Clinton Adminstration and actions taken by its officials.

BTW, for those interested, Salon examines the Reagan biopic in light of this current controversy, here.

September 8, 2006 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

Keir, I never read Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but I stil know enough from very reliable sources to condemn the book.

September 8, 2006 @ 5:51 pm | Comment

It was Clinton who is responsible for conducting his affair with Lewinsky ADMITTING HE KNEW SHE WOULD TALK ABOUT IT, lied about it (which I would have done too) and then ordered missile strikes against Sudan and Afghanistan (kiling 20 which is conveniently forgotten here) just three days after he finally admitted on TV his “inappropriate relationship”. From what I can gather, this Goldberg is simply responsible for snitching on Clinton so I don’t understand how she is responsible for the death and destruction.
Indiscriminate targetting of civilians PROVED TO HAVE BEEN DONE WITHOUT THE TRUE FACTS are not in my mind “anti-terrorist actions” any more than the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq is.
I admit occasionally seeing Clinton through rose-tinted glasses, especially as I was working in Northern Ireland when he kick-started the Peace Process (after first enjoying St. Paddy’s dinner with Sinn Fein/IRA leaders only months before saying he wouldn’t talk to terrorists after his country finally understood what terrorist bombings were in Oklahoma). He’s not evil in the the way Bush and his cronies ignore others to pursue their blatant self-interests. But to be self-righteous on behalf of someone literally caught with his pants down who then refused to take responsibility for his actions is not going to win arguments with supporters of the current administration. Those who voted for Bush as a guy you’d like to share a beer with are not those who think like you or I.
This might be getting away from the main issue of ABC’s show which I’m not able, nor interested enough, to watch. Any attempt to present on public TV lies without any way of allowing the average viewer to know which facts can be trusted is outrageous in my mind, end of story. But I’m always reading here about how great Clinton was which is possibly as jarring to those conservatives who read constantly how unspeakably evil Bush et al. are.
PLEASE CONTINUE RICHARD TO WARN US ABOUT BUSH’S UNMITIGATED EVIL!!!! But just don’t hold up Clinton constantly as an example that others should follow. Surely you could find a better replacement in FDR or even a Republican like Ike…

September 8, 2006 @ 11:09 pm | Comment

The 9/11 Commission report, upon which this miniseries claimed to be based (until they got called on the lies) concluded that Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky in no way distracted from how his administration conducted actions against terrorism and Bin Laden.

I never voted for Clinton, to be honest. He wasn’t in any danger of losing and I’m a California voter, so I could afford at that time to vote write-in and third party. So I’m in no way one of his biggest fans. But this miniseries is a deliberate distortion of history to serve a partisan political agenda.

September 9, 2006 @ 12:23 am | Comment

Keir, I didn’t say a single word praising Clinton, either in my post or comments. What are you talking about?

All I object to is a docudrama, complete with study notes from Scholastic, showing a truly false picture of historical evfents. Peroid. They even admitted the scenes were dreamed up to convey “a composite” of actual events. This is not even disputed. Not a word about Bush sitting through My Pet Goat, a matter of histoprical fact, but a lengthy scene of Samuel Berger hanging up in fear when asked to make a decision to capture Bin Ladden – an admitted falsehood. Not acceptable.

September 9, 2006 @ 5:19 am | Comment

And Keir, I want yuou to take a long hard look at your comment, with all the capital letters and shouting. I have requested we all tone it down. If you are going to come out hissing and screaming, at least cut and paste the text you are furious with. What did I write that aroused this peculiar outburst? Be specific. Let’s upgrade the conversation from hysteria to dialogue. What were my words that ignited your diatribes above?

September 9, 2006 @ 5:31 am | Comment

Gee whiz, Richard, take it easy. I wasn’t attacking anyone- I don’t have any axe to grind and I actually tried to go out of my way to sound moderate. I’m not an American, I don’t know half of what’s being discussed most of the time, and simply wanted to see what the big deal was being so used to the other guy being attacked. The words I capitalised were actually intended to come across as thanking you for your public service attacking Bush’s policies. Hissing and screaming? I took the time to write more than the usual two-sentence sarcastic comment out of respect for what vaara and Other Lisa were saying; I hadn’t heard of this Lucianne Golberg and my original comments about Clinton’s responsibility still await a response.

I did attack the deaths that arose from the strikes in Sudan and Afghanistan, but only to compare those with the ongoing war in Iraq. I would argue that comparing a TV miniseries with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a bit more shrill than anything I was suggesting… And you have to admit you give Clinton an easy ride- “As to Clinton — well, they tried to impeach him and our wonderful government, following its laws and processes, found his non-crime to be non-worthy of regime change. And his ratings soared. What a great president. What a great hero and inspiration to all Americans. Sure, he had a sex problem, but it had nothing to do with his inspiring leadership.” In fact, I found that comment of yours within 10 seconds of searching “Bill Clinton” and “great”, and I stand by my comment that his ‘leadership’ resulted in the ‘wag the dog’ moment Other lisa referred to. OK, a number Afghanis and Sudanese were killed and maimed without so much as a sorry, but what’s the point of getting worked up over that?

Please reread my comments (imagining them in Walter Cronkite’s voice perhaps) and ask yourself where I was trying to cause offence and remember that although this is your site, I see this as an open thread and so my comments aren’t necessarily directed at you. I have tremendous respect for you and your site, so my terms like ‘self-righteous’ were to liberals in general.

In the meantime I promise to keep my comments brief and innocuous, on matters not involving American politics, and always in the lower-case…

September 9, 2006 @ 6:06 am | Comment

PLEASE CONTINUE RICHARD TO WARN US ABOUT BUSH’S UNMITIGATED EVIL!!!! But just don’t hold up Clinton constantly as an example that others should follow. Surely you could find a better replacement in FDR or even a Republican like Ike…

Where did I hold Clinton up as anything at all?

Leave long, enthusiastic comments – just back them up and be as specific as possible. The caps made it seem like you were shouting – sorry if I misunderstood.

September 9, 2006 @ 6:19 am | Comment

LOL. Getting a hysterical reaction from the usual suspects around here is just too easy.

However, I’m sure we can all agree that documentaries should be honest and accurate. Which is why Democrats distanced themselves from Michael Moore and Farenheit 9/11.

Oh wait. . . .

September 9, 2006 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

Ming, please do tell us of the many factual inaccuracies in Farenheit 9/11, and while you’re at it, please do name all of us here who spoke up in favor of that documentary, and more to the point, please list all of the prominent Democratic political figures who supported it, because surely from what you’re saying every Democratic politician must have urged his/her constituents to go see it. And please do explain how it is that a documentary that people had to go to a movie theater and pay for to see is exactly the same thing as a “docudrama” that is shown on broadcast television, free to everyone, complete with study materials for public school kids.

Oh, wait…

September 9, 2006 @ 3:10 pm | Comment

See, toooooo easy.

Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 deceptions have been widely reported. Start with Newsweek’s article entitled The Deceptions of Michael Moore. Proceed from there. If you’re too lazy to do that, hell not I’m not going to prepare a list for you.

As for what “prominent Democratic political figures” supported Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11? Is that actually a serious question?

Guests for a special opening night screening of Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” last week included Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, Montana Sen. Max Baucus, South Carolina Sen. Ernest Hollings, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, New York Rep. Charles Rangel, Washington Rep. Jim McDermott, & Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe. Afterwards, McAuliffe raved about the movie, replied in the affirmative when asked if it “was essentially fair and factually based.”

Tom Harkin and Charlie Rangle praised the film and urged every American to see it. Jimmy Carter had Moore as his special guest at the Democratic National Convention.

Prominent Dems weren’t enthusiastic about Moore’s film? I mean, come on. . . . Even Bagdhad Bob couldn’t tell that whopper with a straight face.

I agree that ABC is wrong. I noted, however, the selective outrage of the usual suspects and, as if on cue, one of the dimmer of the usual suspects bursts forth to prove my point by attempting to defend the indefensible and distinguish the indistinguishable.

It’s just toooo easy. Fish in a barrel would be more challenging.

September 9, 2006 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

And how could I forget this giant “kick me” sign:

please do name all of us here who spoke up in favor of that documentary

Okay. How about this June 26th 2004 post from Richard:

[T]his review of Fahrenheit 9/11 is very special and I want every visitor here to see it. I want them to realize just how powerful Moore’s depiction of our government in action, of our tax dollars at work, actually are. I want them to get that it is almost impossible to walk out of the the theater the same person you were when you walked in.

Those with small minds who refuse to see the movie and who take comfort in their pre-conceived notions and hearsay-based prejudices may be unreachable. But because of the type of person I am, I won’t stop trying. I apologize in advance if it is redundant, tiresome, and annoying. But people have to wake up to what is going on here. They have to know what forces were at work to get us into this war. They have to know why their children are dying. They have to know who their president is. And Moore doesn’t need to tell them — his clips of Bush do all the talking. In other words, Bush himself tells you just who he is, in a way you’ve never seen him before.

One of, about a half dozen gushing mash notes in same vein posted on this site.

Toooooo easy.

September 9, 2006 @ 5:18 pm | Comment

Ming, for every argument claiming inaccuracies in F9/11, I can point you to a counter-argument claiming the opposite. I’ll give you your prominent Dems that supported the film, while pointing out that it’s hardly a majority.

But the essential point here is the difference in venues in which the two works were/are being shown, a point I notice you’ve chosen to ignore, along with the attempt to use this dramatisation in public schools as a history lesson. If you can’t see the difference, you’re not too bright yourself. And if you can’t admit it, then you’re intellectually dishonest as well.

September 9, 2006 @ 5:26 pm | Comment

Oh dear, keep digging and you’re going to join Richard in China.

F-9/11 is full of distortions. No fair minded person disputes this. See Newsweek, Kevin Drum, the NY Times, Mickey Kaus, Bob Wright, Dan Drezner (no Republican partisans these).

I noted the irony of some of Moore’s defenders shreaking over ABC’s deceptive docu-drama.

You respond by defending Moore and trying to distinguish the situations on terribly flimsy grounds. Please tell me you would not object to ABC’s documentary BUT FOR the fact it’s an network TV and comes with a lesson plan. I need a really good laugh.

So, if the thing were on HBO, sans lesson plan, we’d be hearing nary a peep from you and the Clintonistas? Ho, ho, ho. Pull the other one why don’t one why don’t you.

The fact is that I ignored that silly argument because I did not believe you expected me to take it seriously.

ABC is wrong. The past embrace of Moore by people condemning ABC is amusing.

Your attempt to rebut this observation by engaging in the observed behavior is hilarious.

My apologies for the “dim” comment, however. I thought I’d replaced it with “obtuse” I didn’t. I should have. Mea culpa for the incivility.

September 9, 2006 @ 6:46 pm | Comment

There was a lot of garbage in Fahrenheit 911. But there was not a single fictionalized scene – maybe stuff out of context, maybe stuff deceptively positioned, but it was entirely documentary footage, i.e., no actors , no composites.

September 9, 2006 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

There was a lot of silliness in Fahrenheit 911. But there was not a single fictionalized scene – maybe stuff out of context, maybe stuff deceptively positioned, but it was entirely documentary footage, i.e., no actors , no composites.

About the “dim,” remark, I’ll just say watch yourself.

September 9, 2006 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

It’s just toooo easy. Fish in a barrel would be more challenging.

If that’s your attitude, and if you’re here to shoot fish in a barrel, you’re not welcome. If it’s so painfully easy, just go elsewhere. Meanwhile, you haven’t made a single substantive point and your sneering tone tells me your not here for any serious engagement, just cheap easy thrills. If that’s the case, get out of here.

September 9, 2006 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

What Richard said re: F9/11.

And once more, since you seem to be deliberately obtuse, there’s a world of difference between making a partisan documentary, using documentary footage, that is shown in a theater, that you have to pay to go and see, and making a “docudrama,” with actors, made-up scenes and out-and-out lies that’s shown on network television, broadcast, for free, that claims to be based on the 9/11 Commission report when it contradicts that report’s own findings, that comes complete with “study guides” for public schools, just to underline its status as “official history.”

I actually have a hard time believing that you’re too dim to see the difference. So I’m sticking with “intellectually dishonest,” and I’ll raise that one “morally flawed.”

Though I guess I should be impressed that you didn’t remind us that Michael Moore is fat.

September 9, 2006 @ 11:07 pm | Comment

Taking into account all the people who have weighed in on the various films – this whole thing is going to provide plenty of opportunity to make a lot of people eat their own words. Lots of people flip flopping all over the place.

I would like to raise two points though;
1) Do you think all the protests and demands of the Clinton people just ended up getting more people to watch? and

2) How many people will change their way of seeing either the Bush or Clinton administration’s policy on terrorism after seeing this film?

September 11, 2006 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

CBS’ 9/11 documentary, on its third rerun, had almost as big an audience as the ABC program. Both were swamped by football. Digby has a post up about it.

September 11, 2006 @ 5:02 pm | Comment

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