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Saturday, 09 September 2006 07:47

ABC’s "The Path to 9/11" Isn’t a Documentary. It’s Not a Docu-Drama. It’s a Swift-Boat Hit Job

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Forget about any pretense of the Disney-ABC $40 million (commercial free) "The Path to 9/11" being a project that accidentally went astray. With the facts available as of Saturday afternoon, September 9, one thing is already clear. It is a pre-meditated hit job, in the Rovian-GOP Swift Boat tradition.

Forget that the head of ABC is allegedly a Democrat; so is Sumner Redstone, who runs Viacom. But Redstone said in the 2004 election that while he preferred Kerry personally, Bush was better for Viacom profits, so he would vote for Bush. That’s what we got going here at ABC, which is owned by the often Republican connected Disney.

Before we get into some of the facts of the production – which are so glaringly reminiscent of the Swift Boat operation against Kerry and the Arkansas Project against Clinton – let’s propose a hypothetical – although highly plausible – scenario.

Let’s consider the strong possibility that last year Rove or an emissary met with the head of Disney. Rove knew that reality was running 180 degrees away from the rhetoric of the Bush/Cheney script for the "War on Terrorism." He needed fantasy to help reinforce a fictional narrative that the Bush Administration was and is peddling as fact.

Rove knows that research has shown that most television viewers can’t distinguish between fictionalized docu-dramas, negative advertising, the news, and news satire. In the end, it all blends together in the minds of most viewers. Fiction becomes fact if presented about a real event. Accusation becomes reality if presented about a real person.

So, Rove was already planning the 2006 fall campaign season and he had his eye – as he does every election year – on vigorously exploiting 9/11 for political gain.

So he needed to undercut the reality that has been emerging over the last few years. This reality, as just reconfirmed in a senate report released with the greatest of reluctance by Pat "Bush Boy Toy" Roberts that Bush and Cheney lied us into the war with Iraq when they told us Saddam had clear connections to al-Qaeda. But there were so many other realities that contradicted the Scheherazade Rovian "War on Terror" narrative that reality – particularly the dire and deteriorating conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan -- was in danger of overtaking the Bush fictional script.

So Rove or an emissary went to the head of Disney, we are theorizing, with a deal.

The deal might go something like this.

The Bush Administration wanted Disney to have ABC air a 9/11 miniseries on the anniversary weekend of the event in 2006. It would provide ABC with the people that the White House wanted to produce and direct the miniseries and would provide the promotional strategy to ABC. It would also provide secret funding -- through GOP donors (the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife, perhaps) -- to underwrite the $40 million project, so as not to negatively affect the shareholders of Disney.

In return, Disney would get future legislation, regulatory relief and/or federal contracts that would far surpass the airtime that it would be giving up running the 9/11 miniseries commercial free.

In short, the White House (perhaps through a cut-out) would get to decide who did the movie and its partisan content – and, in return, Disney would get a future financial windfall at the expense of the taxpayers.

Disney, figuring that the Democrats usually lie down like a carpet for Swift Boating attacks, thought it was a safe move, under this scenario. It also believed, with Tom DeLay then still in power, that the Republican juggernaut was unstoppable – and that the Dems had no chance of taking back power in any branch of government.

So Disney, such a theory goes, shook hands with Rove and said, "We’re on. Just let us know who you want to do the film, and we’ll contract them. Also, we prefer that the funding source of the $40 million remain extremely well-hidden, but we will leave that to you to work out."

And so, one such theory would hold, "The Path to 9/11" was born.

Rove would have his miniseries that would trash Clinton on Sunday – and exonerate and immortalize Bush on Monday. It would be like the old Soviet textbooks where history was selectively rewritten to vilify the good guys and glorify the bad ones.

And to top it off, Rove would have Bush give a speech exploiting 9/11 right before the final installment of the miniseries – as the intermission, so to speak, between the "betrayal" of Clinton and the "courageous" leadership of Bush. (Isn’t it starting to sound a little bit like the propaganda that that fool in North Korea doles out?)

In fact, the beginning of the last segment of the miniseries will have to be delayed 20 minutes so Bush can give his politically self-serving speech, so it is actually tugged neatly into "The Path to 9/11," as if it were Alistair Cook introducing "Masterpiece Theater."

It’s the morally bankrupt, cynical plan of a genius.

All it would take is a morally corrupt corporation with a big media outlet to hijack the national sacred event of 9/11 and make partisan political fiction a reality.

Disney/ABC meet Karl Rove.


Do you think this is what went down? Tell us your opinion below.

Part II of this editorial will appear later on Saturday, September 9.