Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Path to 9/11 and other atrocities


The ABC television network is a cog in the Walt Disney empire. On the fifth anniversary of 9/11 the network plans to broadcast a two-night mini-series, which is a shameless attempt to re-write history. It was written by right-wing extremists to blame Clinton for 9/11, and to benefit the Republican ‘we have nothing to sell but fear itself’ crowd as we approach what may be the most important election in American history.

Here’s how ABC is touting the show:
On September 11, 2001 the world stood still as terrorists used four planes as lethal weapons against innocent Americans. The 9/11 Commission was formed to determine how such an attack could happen, and its report documents the trail from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the tragedy of that autumn morning. The bipartisan commission effort created a comprehensive record of events and provides valuable insight into what must be done to protect the nation in the future.

ABC will present “The Path to 9/11,” a dramatization of the events detailed in The 9/11 Commission Report and other sources, in an epic miniseries event that will air with limited commercial interruption.
Since that announcement, ABC has determined that the best strategy for airing this disgraceful slander is with no commercials whatsoever. One can conclude that ABC was unable to attract advertisers, but the more cynical among us might wonder if ABC fears the boycotting of advertisers who underwrite revisionist history.

To spread the word about “The Path to 9/11,” ABC is sending 100,000 high school educators a letter from 9/11 Commission co-chair Tom Keane informing them of the various platforms on which the mini is available.

ABC and Scholastic have produced an online study guide, according to Variety, the entertainment industry’s magazine. As I write this, MSNBC is reporting that Scholastic has pulled out of the deal.

Also according to Variety,
[President of ABC Entertainment] Steve McPherson said by offering the show for free on iTunes and via streaming video on, the network hoped to expose as many people as possible to the findings of the 9/11 Commission, whose report forms the basis of the script.
By giving it this platform and by dramatizing it, we’ll get more people to get that information,” he said. “We spent $30 million on this and we're putting it on without commercials. How important we think this is speaks for itself.”

There are sites all over the internet where you can sign on to a letter to ABC urging them not to air this despicable propaganda. My sense tells me that it will not work. Anyone who might sign such a letter is not within the target audience, and ABC Entertainment is already bragging about taking a $30 million bath.

So, what will work?

It strikes me that the ABC-Disney(world)-Florida-Bush connection is part of this story. Should there be an organized boycott of Disneyworld explicitly in response to this? On a good day, I have worse ideas than this before breakfast.

What about boycotting selected corporations that advertise on ABC on September 11th and 12th? ABC is in business to do business. Advertisers need to get the message that advertising on the network of Republican agi-prop is bad mojo. A hundred thousand emails from upset viewers will get the message across. You can’t hit a corporation in the heart, so you must aim for the pocketbook.

And since ABC Entertainment is in the business of making money, what are they doing giving away a miniseries that cost $30,000,000. For that kind of money they could have given a dollar dividend to each of 30,000,000 shareholders. (Correction: Fiscal results for 2005 showed an 11% increased income compared to the previous year. Add in 30 million, and it would have been a 12% increase.) Folks who invest in Disney have a right to expect that the business will be run, well, like a business. When it is run like a charitable propaganda organ for the Republican Party, the law provides a remedy, viz., a shareholder lawsuit.

This story is developing quickly. It is now being reported by the L.A. Times that ABC is still in editing mode. (It does make you wonder what the network made available for previews to Rush Limbaugh and his fellow travelers.) In any event, according to the LA times, this is “after leading political figures, many of them Democrats, complained about bias and alleged inaccuracies.” It is also after they network discovered that there was 10 minutes of time that had been set aside for advertising that needs to be filled. Whatever the reason for the rewrite, it enables ABC to say that any criticism of the mini-series is “premature.”

Stay tuned – to this channel,

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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