Politics

Published on September 10th, 2006 | by Hans Fruck

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Taking the Mickey out of History

Tonight Channel 7 is screening the first part of an American “docudrama” called The Path to 9-11. This “docudrama” (TV lingo for made-up shit) has been marketed as “based” on the 9-11 Commission Report, an official report by a bipartisan commission that investigated the whys and wherefores of September 11 and produced a battery of recommendations intended to protect America from future terrorist attacks.

Problem is, as far as words go, “based” is a slippery little fucker. In this case, it means the fakeumentary makers have followed history where it suits them and completely made shit up when it doesn’t. In a nutshell, this is a lying, despicable attempt to rewrite history, sheeting as much blame for 9-11 home to the Clinton adminstration as possible, portraying Clinton as too distracted by the Lewinsky scandal to deal with Osama Bin Laden, and putting words into the mouth of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Clinton national security advisor Sandy Berger.

One of the most hotly disputed episodes in the first part of this crockumentary is a completely fictional scene in which US forces have Bin Laden surrounded in Afghanistan, only for Berger to knock back the opportunity to take OBL out. This never happened. Makers have defended the scene, saying it’s a “conflation” or a “composite” of several different incidents. What they really mean is that this is a big, fat, fucking lie, in which they make stuff up to blame Clinton and his people for an attack that actually happened on the Bush the Dumber’s watch.

This is but one inaccuracy in this piece of shit masquerading as history (TV spots promoted it as the “Offical True Story of 9-11”). All this deception and truth-molesting shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone. Fact is, this film has been produced by David Cunningham, whose father is the founder of a right-wing evangelical Christian sect called Youth with a Mission (YWAM). Cunningham founded The Film Institute (TFI) as an offshoot of YWAM. TFI’s mission statement says it’s “dedicated to a Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Televisionindustry.” That is, the nutjobs are trying to infiltrate Hollywood so that they can spread their extremist take on Christianity via Hollywood, which is widely percieved as a bastion of liberalism.

This show is scheduled to play on America’s ABC network this weekend. (Not only are the screening this offal, they’re also screening it uninterrupted by ads.) The ABC, which is owned by Disney, has thus far refused to pull the shitumentary, despite public pressure from — to name a few — Clinton, Albright, the Democratic Party, and even prominent conservatives (even — ye gods! — Chris Wallace on the Fox network has castigated the film).

The ABC and the film’s makers have issued statements pleading with critics to hold their criticism until they’ve actually watched the show. Of course, that’s simply bad faith. Fact is, that many of the most critical people have intimate knowledge of the project. A former FBI agent hired to be a consultant on the project quit because he was dissatisified with the liberties the filmmakers were taking with matters of historical record. His replacement, also a former FBI agent, quit for the same reasons. Excerpts of controversial scenes have been shown on TV, and people who should know, people who were actually there — including some who sat on the 9-11 Commission — have said that they are egregious lies.

What’s more, once this lying piece of shit is out on the airwaves, it’s too late. The damage will, in many ways, already have been done. In a recent poll 43% of Americans still believe that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9-11. This despite the fact that this link has been disproven countless times over the years since 9-11. This despite Bush the Dumber himself acknowledging that there was no link — contrary to his own past statements.

Once facts of this kind lodge in the public consciousness, recent events show that it can be near impossible to dislodge them, no matter how erroneous or cynical they are.

As an indication of the bad faith that ABC — and by extension Disney, the parent company — have displayed on this matter, they distributed the film to 900 right-wing bloggers and commentators. Yet despite repeated requests have refused to distribute advance copies to subjects of the ducumentary like Albright and Clinton or, basically, to anyone who’s not a rabid right-winger.

How credible, then, are their claims that this is a non-partisan production? Exactly. This is a project that was started in bad faith, promoted in bad faith, and now — once the firestorm of criticism has engulfed it — is being defended in bad faith.

This is a shameful attempt to rewrite history. A shameful attempt to exonerate Bushco and blame Clinton. A shameful series of misrepresentations masquerading as truth. It trivialises the lives lost on 9-11 by turning them into a partisan political football. It’s also a cynical attempt to turn the course of the US mid-term elections, which are a mere 60 days away, by playing up the idea that Democrats are soft on national security.

Disturbingly, a educational corporation called Scholastic was initially a partner to the project and had planned on distributing The Path to 9-11 to tens of thousands of schools all over the US. That’s right. This festering, putrid turd of a film was going to be taught to American children as history. That’s not a public service, and it’s definitely not education. It’s indoctrination of the scariest and most cynical kind. Fortunately, once the controversy erupted a few days ago, Scholastic beat a hasty retreat. (Whether they were cynical or merely naive to get involved in the first place, only they know.)

Quite frankly, in addition to everything else, this may be one of the most costly corporate miscalculations in history. In recent times Disney has refused to distribute Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9-11 because it didn’t want to enter the political fray. This didn’t stop Disney embarking on project that put Mel Gibson in charge of a film about the Holocaust. Yes, that’s right. Mel Gibson. And more to the point, it hasn’t stopped them funding a disgraceful and blatantly partisan — not to mention false — account of the most important event in recent US history.

 

Decades of branding Disney as wholesome family entertainment are about to disappear down the shitter, all because Disney has — for reasons best known to itself — become captive to wingnut extremists. Maybe it’s because Disney are arm-in-arm with the religious right in their attempt to turn Narnia into the next mega film franchise. Who fucking knows? Personally, I don’t give a shit. The Mickey Mouse Corporation can right royally go fuck themselves. If they want to turn themselves into corporate whores for the crooks, liars, and incompetents in the Bush Administration, go right ahead. But don’t expect any of my dollars to fund it, you fuckos.

I’m boycotting Disney and its affiliates. You should too.

Update: Bill Clinton is not at all happy with the film, the ABC, or Disney, and he’s written two letters telling them so.


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