One of the Right's favorite activities is propagating the concept that the news media, and the media in general, in America are inherently left-leaning. Wikipedia has a breakdown of the media bias issue. I have always found this perceived bias to be odd because, with the exception of a handful of genuinely independent newspapers and radio or television stations, usually located in major metropolitan areas, the vast majority of American media outlets are owned by some segment of corporate America. I mean, who holds sway over the choices made in NBC's boardroom; 1) a bunch of dope-smoking liberal college kids playing hacky-sack on the quad at UC Berkeley, or 2) a bunch of suits at General Electric? Since General Electric, a corporation not known for its liberal activism, is NBC's parent company, my money is on them. The fact of the matter is that most of America's media outlets fall under the umbrella of a handful of parent corporations who are major players on Wall Street, which, of course, is no bastion of American liberalism. It's a long way from the campus at Berkeley to the financial canyons of southern Manhattan.
Well, there's some fresh meat to add to the media bias pot. ABC (a pillar of the so-called left-wing media) is all set to air a two-part miniseries called The Path to 9/11. The miniseries is labeled as a "docudrama." Why "docudrama" as opposed to "documentary?" Well, it seems that some parts of the miniseries stray from the factual and enter into the fantastical. ThinkProgress.org quotes former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, "I have been informed by some who had been given the right to view the broadcast that the drama depicts scenes that never happened, events that never took place, decisions that were never made and conversations that never occurred; it asserts as fact things that are not fact." However, per ABC.com, "...it is a narrative movie based on facts and dramatized with actors."
Okay, but if the miniseries is based in fact, why did decidedly right-wing propagandists such as Rush Limbaugh and right-leaning bloggers such as Patterico receive advance copies of the film for review? This allowed them a chance to comment and promote the film employing their conservative filters, while Clinton Administration individuals represented in the film were denied copies of the film for review, even upon request. ThinkProgress.org presents the core of the issue . ABC.com has a defense of its decision to air the film here http://blogs.abc.com/thepathto911/ . Word is getting around that the comments at ABC.com are heavily "moderated."
Not everyone on the right side of the political spectrum is buying the miniseries at face value. Dean Barnett, writing at Hugh Hewitt / Townhall.com says of a scene in the miniseries, "They phone NSA chief Sandy Berger for authorization to make the hit (on Bin Laden). Berger refuses to make the decision and in the scene actually hangs up on the operatives. I've done a lot of reading and research regarding 9/11, and I have to admit that this story is new to me." Barnett proceeds to opine that, "The preceding leaves us with two possible explanations regarding the controversial scene. One is that the filmmakers have unearthed a previously unknown jewel that they can fully document... The other explanation is that, being a docudrama, the filmmakers included a fabricated scene..." Barnett goes on to offer a sober assessment to his fellow right-wingers, "...conservative analysts who back this movie as a historical document will mortgage their credibility doing so." Read Barnett's piece in its entirety here (it is worth the read).
The five-year anniversary of 9/11 is fast upon us. It is entirely possible that ABC simply sees an opportunity to make a few extra bucks by cashing in on Americans' lingering fears and memories of that fateful morning. However, it is also uncannily conveniently timed vis-à-vis the impending elections and the Bush Administration's and Republicans' sagging poll ratings. Could it be that the good people at ABC really want to provide a boost to the Republican cause this coming November by portraying Democrats as ineffective in the War on Terror? To answer this question, one would have to ask a conservative pundit, as liberals and centrists seem to have conveniently been kept out of the loop.
Election Day is 11/7/2006.