08 September 2006

A quick look at the 9/11 brouhaha and other things

So, ABC puts together a 5 year retrospective on 'The Path to 9/11' and uses the 9/11 Commission Report as a basis for their script. They sent out copies of their final work to a few hundred people on DVD to review: some on the 9/11 Commission and some Clinton Administration aides amongst others. The basic charges are that the film has made false and defamatory portrayals of various folks in the White House during Clinton's term in office. The main parts that are seen as fictional are (WaPo article):

1) Berger is seen as refusing authorization for a proposed raid to capture bin Laden in spring 1998 to CIA operatives in Afghanistan who have the terrorist leader in their sights. A CIA operative sends a message: "We're ready to load the package. Repeat, do we have clearance to load the package?" Berger responds: "I don't have that authority."

Berger said that neither he nor Clinton ever rejected a CIA or military request to conduct an operation against bin Laden. The Sept. 11 commission said no CIA operatives were poised to attack; that Afghanistan's rebel Northern Alliance was not involved, as the film says; and that then-CIA Director George J. Tenet decided the plan would not work.

2) Tenet is depicted as challenging Albright for having alerted Pakistan in advance of the August 1998 missile strike that unsuccessfully targeted bin Laden.

"Madame Secretary," Tenet is seen saying, "the Pakistani security service, the ISI, has close ties with the Taliban." Albright is seen shouting: "We had to inform the Pakistanis. There are regional factors involved." Tenet then complains that "we've enhanced bin Laden's stature."
Albright said she never warned Pakistan. The Sept. 11 commission found that a senior U.S. military official warned Pakistan that missiles crossing its airspace would not be from its archenemy, India.

3) "The Path to 9/11" uses news footage to suggest that Clinton was distracted by the Republican drive to impeach him. Veteran White House counterterrorism official Richard A. Clarke, who also disputes the film's accuracy, is portrayed as telling FBI agent John P. O'Neill: "Republicans went all out for impeachment. I just don't see the president in this climate willing to take chances."

O'Neill responds: "So it's okay if somebody kills bin Laden, so long as he didn't give the order. . . . It's pathetic." The Sept. 11 commission found no evidence that the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal played a role in the August 1998 missile strike, but added that the "intense partisanship of the period" was one factor that "likely had a cumulative effect on future decisions about the use of force against bin Laden."
Initially ABC and their parent company Disney, stood by their work, until just a few days ago when political pressure was applied to them. After reviewing their work they told the public that they had slightly altered one scene and then changed the attribution to make the 9/11 Commission Report the major contributing information source for the docu-drama.

This, apparently, did not appease those in the opposition and the Democrats responded with this missive, emphasis via bolding mine:

September 7, 2006

Mr. Robert A. Iger

President and CEO

The Walt Disney Company

500 South Buena Vista Street

Burbank CA 91521

Dear Mr. Iger,

We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney’s plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.

Disney and ABC claim this program to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report and are using that assertion as part of the promotional campaign for it. The 9/11 Commission is the most respected American authority on the 9/11 attacks, and association with it carries a special responsibility. Indeed, the very events themselves on 9/11, so tragic as they were, demand extreme care by any who attempt to use those events as part of an entertainment or educational program. To quote Steve McPhereson, president of ABC Entertainment, “When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right.”

Unfortunately, it appears Disney and ABC got it totally wrong.

Despite claims by your network’s representatives that The Path to 9/11 is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, 9/11 Commissioners themselves, as well as other experts on the issues, disagree.

Richard Ben-Veniste, speaking for himself and fellow 9/11 Commissioners who recently viewed the program, said, “As we were watching, we were trying to think how they could have misinterpreted the 9/11 Commission’s findings the way that they had.” [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]

Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism czar, and a national security advisor to ABC has described the program as “deeply flawed” and said of the program’s depiction of a Clinton official hanging up on an intelligence agent, “It’s 180 degrees from what happened.” [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]

Reports suggest that an FBI agent who worked on 9/11 and served as a consultant to ABC on this program quit halfway through because, “he thought they were making things up.” [MSNBC, September 7, 2006]

Even Thomas Kean, who serves as a paid consultant to the miniseries, has admitted that scenes in the film are fictionalized. [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]
That Disney would seek to broadcast an admittedly and proven false recounting of the events of 9/11 raises serious questions about the motivations of its creators and those who approved the deeply flawed program. Finally, that Disney plans to air commercial-free a program that reportedly cost it $40 million to produce serves to add fuel to these concerns.

These concerns are made all the more pressing by the political leaning of and the public statements made by the writer/producer of this miniseries, Mr. Cyrus Nowrasteh, in promoting this miniseries across conservative blogs and talk shows.

Frankly, that ABC and Disney would consider airing a program that could be construed as right-wing political propaganda on such a grave and important event involving the security of our nation is a discredit both to the Disney brand and to the legacy of honesty built at ABC by honorable individuals from David Brinkley to Peter Jennings. Furthermore, that Disney would seek to use Scholastic to promote this misguided programming to American children as a substitute for factual information is a disgrace.

As 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick said, “It is critically important to the safety of our nation that our citizens, and particularly our school children, understand what actually happened and why – so that we can proceed from a common understanding of what went wrong and act with unity to make our country safer.”

Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid

Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Charles Schumer

Senator Byron Dorgan
Which is quite a lot for such a small piece of dramatic fictionalization of historical events.

Now, what everyone is comparing this to is the CBS miniseries 'The Reagans' which had factual challenges, also. In a PBS NewsHour exchange between Sen. Tom Daschle and Michael Reagan, with Terence Smith moderating, we see this exchange:
TERENCE SMITH: Conservatives have won one more for the Gipper.

After weeks of rumors that a planned CBS miniseries presents a less-than-flattering portrait of former President Ronald Reagan, the network today announced that it is pulling the broadcast off the air.

It will instead license the film to Showtime, a cable channel owned by CBS parent Viacom.

The network denied that it acted under pressure, but in a statement, CBS said it does not believe the film presents "a balanced portrayal of the Reagans," a criticism leveled by the Republican National Committee and admirers of the 40th president.

President Reagan's son, Michael, and the Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle, both spoke about the controversy today.

MICHAEL REAGAN: We're going to talk about it because we're going to stand up for my father. They can put it on cable, they can put it anywhere they want to put it. The reality of it is so much of it is a lie and not the Ronald Reagan that we know; it's the Ronald Reagan only the Hollywood left knows because that's the way they want to see him.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE: It smells of intimidation to me, it sounds like they were intimidated in making decisions that reversed earlier ones, and I'm disappointed.

TERENCE SMITH: Showtime announced late today that it will televise the film next year, and because of the controversy, will pair it with an on-air forum about the movie.
So one of the main objections to it was a slur on the personal perspective of President Reagan which the producers of the docu-drama could not know save via asking. Later in this program Terence Smith talks with Bernard Weinraub:
TERENCE SMITH: What about the decision itself? CBS insists it was not made because of the pressure that has been brought upon them by the Republican National Committee, by the drumbeat of talk radio, by the friends of the former president.

But I wonder if you find that credible given the fact that just two weeks ago some executives at CBS thought they, said they thought it was a perfectly fair portrayal.

BERNARD WEINRAUB: Yeah. I don't find the CBS version very credible. Certainly there was a drumbeat of opposition to the movie based on stories, based on an original story that on Oct. 21 in the Times, The New York Times by Jim Rutenberg, who talked about the screenplay and talked about the fact that there was this tide of opposition from people who had worked for President Reagan or Republicans, and a tide of uneasiness about what was going to take place.

But I think certainly CBS was hit by a lot of phone calls and certainly conservative commentators, the Drudge Report, a lot of people began weighing in on this whole thing.
Ah, the company is getting a lot of phone calls and negative coverage from people who actually like Ronald Reagan! Nasty, nasty pressure, no doubt. Then comparisons with another recent docu-drama are made and the impressions of how 'The Reagans' is being seen:
TERENCE SMITH: Have you seen this before? Where a network faced with this sort of controversy pulls a fairly big production? This was to have been a four-hour miniseries to be broadcast on two nights later this month.

BERNARD WEINRAUB: Yes, it was a very high-profile show, it was going to be at the height of the sweep season, and they had invested a lot of money in it, and they had two stars, Judy Davis and James Brolin, and it was produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who won an academy award for Chicago and did the Judy Garland Show.

I think there was, there was a real sense that this show was biased, that's why I think they dropped it.

TERENCE SMITH: You know, in its own statement CBS noted that it has done controversial historical films before, they mentioned one about Jesus and one about Hitler.

What made this different?

BERNARD WEINRAUB: Well, Hitler was the most recent one of course, where there was pressure and CBS did make some editorial changes, that is they made some editing changes, which apparently pleased them and, and in the end turned out to be positive. I mean there wasn't any complaints insofar as I know once the film was aired.

I think what made this different was that there were certain elements in the film that were probably untrue, certain statements that were attributed to Reagan, certain statements or actions that were attributed to Mrs. Reagan, that seem to have been untrue. And also I think one of the additional problems is, although CBS did pass on the script, and CBS executives certainly saw the movie, they saw it over the past couple weeks, I don't think the head of CBS, Les Moonves, actually saw the film, the full, you know, version of the film until after that Times story came out on the 21st.

And I think then he got involved in it, and he saw it and I can't speak for him, but I think he then realized that from his point of view, there were problems in terms of its not just accuracy, but I think he felt fairness.
Again, certain elements about The Reagans, the actual couple, were seen as untrue. Not only unfactual but unfair in their casting of events and personalities. Finally the political angle is examined as well:
TERENCE SMITH: Is there any evidence of any connection between this decision by CBS and the fact that their parent company, Viacom, has issues pending before Congress right now that will certainly depend in part on Republican support?

BERNARD WEINRAUB: There could be. I mean I think Sumner Redstone is -- the man who runs Viacom is a Democrat. And I actually spoke to him today over the phone, and he denied any, he said he did not have any dealings at all on this whole thing, that it was really Les Moonves' call.

I'm not sure that Viacom's dealings on Capitol Hill would have that much of an impact in terms of the Reagan miniseries.
So maybe the hint of possible pressure for some things before Congress, but nothing definitive nor certain. While I can find some accounts here and there of Republicans speaking out against this from Congress, there are no veiled threats against CBS, just warnings about the wrongheaded portrayal of Reagan as a cold and callous man. As the Wikipedia entry points out, this is just the thing that really got to some people:
One of the most controversial points in the script was the depiction of Reagan telling his wife during a conversation about AIDS patients, "They that live in sin shall die in sin." The screenwriters admitted that there was no evidence that Reagan ever said this; however, they pointed to Edmund Morris' fictionalized biography of Reagan, which quotes him as saying, "Maybe the Lord brought down this plague [AIDS]." This line was dropped in the Showtime and DVD versions of the film. The Reagans producers, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, have insisted that every fact, though not every line of dialog, was supported by at least two sources. However, according to Patti Davis, one of Reagan's daughters, no family members, or close friends of the Reagan's, were consulted by the filmmakers throughout the production. During the Reagan administration many critics said Reagan should have made the government spend more money to find a cure for AIDS. Critics further claimed that scriptwriters were attempting to smear Reagan, perhaps for espousing the belief held widely by Christians that homosexual sex is sinful.

Another factor which has caused critics to claim bias was that Reagan is played by James Brolin, who is the husband of Barbra Streisand, a stridently outspoken critic of the Republican Party.
Yes, a factual misrepresentation of the man and his beliefs as he LIVED THEM. A 2004 CNN Showbiz piece looks to this very problem:
The movie was made by producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who also made "Martin and Lewis" for CBS. James Brolin portrayed Reagan. He is married to the outspoken liberal Barbra Streisand, which drew complaints from some conservatives.

In a portion of the script published in The New York Times last month, Reagan was depicted as uncaring and judgmental toward people with AIDS. "They that live in sin shall die in sin," Reagan's character tells his wife as she begs him to help AIDS victims.

Supporters of the former president, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, said there's no evidence he said that.

There was also a concern about its depiction of Nancy Reagan. The former president's son, radio talk show host Michael Reagan, said he had seen eight minutes of movie highlights and Nancy Reagan was depicted as basically running the White House.

"I said to Nancy, they don't like dad, but they hate you," Reagan said Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."
That was seen as a personal smear upon a man who had said no such thing. By not consulting with anyone who was actually CLOSE to the Reagans, the producers of the mini-series were seen as making a counterfactual smear on the beliefs and honor of a man now suffering from Alzheimers who COULD NOT DEFEND HIMSELF.

Needless to say that the various members of the Clinton Administration are, by and large, hale, healthy, leading productive lives and able to take ABC to court on defamation of character suits.

The stepping in of the Democratic Party to use threats for a partisan viewpoint is not the FIRST time they have done so. From The Nation - The Online Beat by John Nichols we get this entry 28 JAN 2004:
CBS officials are still refusing to air a MoveOn.org Voter Fund commercial during Sunday's Super Bowl game because that the 30-second advertisement criticizes President Bush's fiscal policies. There is no question that the network's determination to censor critics of the president damages the political discourse. But the network has not exactly silenced dissent. In fact, CBS's heavy-handed tactics are fueling an outpouring of grassroots anger over the dominance of communications in the United States by a handful of large media corporations. More than 400,000 Americans have contacted CBS to complain already, and the numbers are mounting hourly.

At the same time, the controversy surrounding the censorship of the MoveOn ad has heightened Congressional concern about lobbying by CBS's owner, Viacom, and other media conglomerates to lift limits on media consolidation and monopoly. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, says CBS should be seen as: "Exhibit A in the case against media concentration."

"The CBS Eye has been closed to the truth and to fairness," he said. "CBS has a great, great legacy. It is a storied name when it comes to public information in America. This chapter is sad and disgraceful," argues Durbin, who took to the floor of the Senate to express his concern that CBS was censoring the ad as a favor to the White House that has aggressively supported removing restrictions on the number of local television stations that can be owned by the network's parent company, Viacom.

CBS officials deny they are censoring the MoveOn ad as part of a political quid pro quo deal with a White House that has been friendly to the network's lobbying agenda. But U.S. Representative Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, the leading Congressional critic of moves by the Federal Communications Commission to allow the "Big Four" networks to dramatically increase their ownership of local TV stations, says that the censorship of the MoveOn ad highlights the potential for abuse of the public trust by media corporations that grow large enough – and arrogant enough -- to constrict the political discourse at both the local and national levels.

"Denying MoveOn's 30 second spot about the federal budget deficit seems a thinly veiled political decision," explains Sanders. "I hope that Viacom's move is not in any way payback to the Bush Administration for its ongoing efforts to loosen federal rules to allow large companies like Viacom to own a larger and larger share of the media in this country. I hope it's not but the timing of CBS' censorship is troubling. Regardless, this seems to be the latest example of how concentrated power in the media system harms the public interest."

With US Representatives Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois and Maurice Hinchey. D-New York, Sanders penned a letter to CBS President and CEO Les Moonves, which rebukes the network for refusing to sell air time to MoveOn. More than two dozen members of the House have signed on to the letter, which reads:

"We are writing to express our concerns about the decision of Viacom's CBS television network to deny MoveOn.org paid airtime during this year's Super Bowl. We believe this action sends a negative message to the American people about your network's commitment to preserving our democratic debate. Censoring this ad is an affront to free speech and an obstruction of the public's right to hear a diversity of voices over the public airwaves.

"CBS has said that the ad violated the network's policy against running issue advocacy advertising. However, the network has run a White House issue advocacy spot on the consequences of drug use during a past Super Bowl. CBS also will air a spot by Philip Morris USA and the American Legacy Foundation advocating against smoking during this year's Super Bowl. Additionally, the network profits enormously from the thousands of issue ads which air on CBS stations nationwide during election campaigns year after year. Because of these facts, we must call into question why CBS refuses the advertisement by MoveOn.org.

"Issue ads are commonplace and important for democratic debate. Yet, CBS seems to want to limit that debate to ads that are not critical of the political status quo, and in the case of the MoveOn ad, of the President and by extension the Republican-controlled Congress. Apparently, CBS feels that the topic covered in this paid advertisement--the federal government's budget crisis--is inappropriate or irrelevant for American viewers, despite being one of the most critical issues of our day.

"The choice not to run this paid advertisement appears to be part of a disturbing pattern on CBS's part to bow to the wishes of the Republican National Committee. We remember well CBS's remarkable decision this fall to self-censor at the direction of GOP pressure. The network shamefully cancelled a broadcast about former President Ronald Reagan which Republican partisans considered insufficiently flattering.

"Perhaps not coincidently, CBS's decision to censor the Reagan program and to deny airtime to this commercial comes at a time when the White House and the Republican Congress are pushing to allow even greater and greater media concentration - a development from which Viacom stands to benefit handsomely. The appearance of a conflict is hard to ignore. There may not be a fire here, but there certainly is a great deal of smoke.

"As Members of Congress, it is our responsibility to point out the negative direction in which we see CBS heading. You have been entrusted by the American people as stewards of the public airwaves. We ask that you not violate that trust and that you not censor this ad."

In addition to Sanders, Schakowsky and Hinchey, signers of the letter include Representatives Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; George Miller, D-California; Bob Filner, D-California; Diane Watson, D-California; Barbara Lee, D-California; Lynn Woolsey, D-California; Pete Stark, D-California; Sam Farr, D-California; Jerry Nadler, D-New York; Louise Slaughter, D-New York; Jose Serrano, D-New York; Major Owens, D-New York; Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin; Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona; Jay Inslee, D-Washington; Brian Baird, D-Washington; John Olver, D-Massachusetts; Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi; Robert Wexler, D-Florida and Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Illinois.

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, a Democratic presidential contender, also signed the letter.
And there you have it: Public Health advertising IS Political advertising according to these fine folks upon the Hill. Someone is definitely blowing smoke and, perhaps, needs to see the anti-smoking ad... but, be that as it may, to say that Public Health ads and Political ads are both within the same sphere of partisanship is something that is completely overblown. The White House, using its 'bully pulpit' has put out ads in previous Administrations on drug use, condom use, smoking and many other items for the PUBLIC'S HEALTH. The circumspectly *buy* political time or announce when a major speech will be given so as to afford the 'opposition' time to have their say. But no one, at no time, has ever confounded public health awareness advertising with political advertising.

ABC, however, seems to have lost its fortitude that it had with ANOTHER, fully fictional drama that it broadcast 20 NOV 1983 - 'The Day After'. And, what they did was make this a 'teachable moment' by handing out media guides and were *not* castigated for that... a wholly fictional representation of Nuclear War:
The Day After received one of the largest promotional campaigns prior to its broadcast. Commercials aired several months in advance, ABC distributed half a million "viewer's guides," which discussed the dangers of nuclear war and prepared the viewer for the graphic scenes of mushroom clouds and radiation burn victims. Discussion groups were also formed nationwide. Schools required their students to watch it as a homework assignment and discuss it the next morning in class.
It seems that making 'teachable moments' is in the ABC history and the last time they did not get assaulted for that aspect of it. That said there was political controversy over that film, too:
Nearly 100 million Americans watched The Day After on its first broadcast, a record audience for a made-for-TV movie. Producers Sales Organization picked up international distribution rights to the film for the sum of $1,500, and released the film theatrically around the world to great success in the Eastern Block, China, North Korea and Cuba (this international version contained six minutes of footage not in the telecast edition). Since commercials are not sold in these markets, Producers Sales Organization lost an undisclosed sum of money. Years later this international version was released to tape by MGM.

Some critics argued that the film's message was misplaced. Commentator Ben Stein, who was critical of the movie's message (i.e. that the strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction would lead to a war), wrote an article in the Herald Examiner asking what life might be like in an America under Soviet occupation. This article provided the inspiration for the TV miniseries Amerika, about life in America ten years after its conquest and occupation by the U.S.S.R.
Do note that the best reception this film got was in the Communist Bloc where nuking the United States was something that would go down quite well, indeed. And even at that time the NYT reviewer admits to some of the politics behind it in this piece by John Corry, 20 NOV 1983:
This is a political position, of course, and ABC is being disingenuous when it says ''The Day After'' makes no political statement. Deterrence is a political position, and in the movie deterrence has failed. ''We knew the score,'' a pregnant woman (Amy Madigan) says from a hospital bed. ''We knew all about bombs. We knew all about fallout. We knew this could happen for 40 years. Nobody was interested.''

Presumably, a nuclear freeze, or unilateral or bilateral disarmament would not have failed, and they would have meant that someone was interested. ''The Day After,'' meanwhile, avoids the question of which side fired first, and given the didactic purpose of the movie - making real the horror of thermonuclear war - the question does not even matter.

What does matter, however, is what the movie will mean, how it will be interpreted. The Campaign Against Nuclear War, a disarmament group in Washington, said that ABC was ''doing a $7 million advertising job for our issue.'' Representative Edward T. Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who sponsored the nuclear-freeze resolution in the House, said that ''The Day After'' would be ''the most powerful television program in history.'' Mr. Markey was being excessive, although the Campaign Against Nuclear War was right.
Yes, a dramatized made-for-TV-movie that is seen as political advocacy by one of those political advocates. Which actually spurred on a debate on the merits of the movie between scientists, pundits and Reagan Administration officials as written about by Jon Niccum from Lawrence, KS on 19 NOV 2003:
Immediately after the broadcast, Ted Koppel hosted a live panel discussion to help viewers cope with what they'd witnessed. Dr. Carl Sagan, Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, William F. Buckley and George Shultz were among those who participated.

Representing the Ronald Reagan administration, Secretary of State Shultz was in full-damage control mode, making comments such as, "The only reason we have for keeping nuclear weapons is to see to it that they are not used."

It was also during this gathering where Sagan first introduced the phrase "nuclear winter" into the lexicon (an event actually depicted in the film). And he presented the vivid analogy that the arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union was akin to "two men standing waist deep in gasoline -- one with three matches, the other with five."
Luckily, Mr. Sagan did not add the word 'billions' anywhere. And note that the Reagan Administration did NOT try to squelch the movie before it came out, but engaged in dialog afterwards to try and clarify things. No matter on the merits of the movie or its accuracy, they were willing to stand up for what they thought was right. Which brings me full circle in one manner to the matter at hand of 'The Path to 9/11'.

For those on the 9/11 Commission that are criticizing it: the Commission always has stated that they will decide on things as a Commission for things dealing with such Commission matters. So, by speaking out as those members do, they are doing so NOT as Commission members, but as THEMSELVES. Which is a fine and dandy thing to do, but they do need to divorce their Commission title from their OPINIONS or else end up staining the whole Commission with their words.

Of the individuals, and just working from personal memory, Richard Ben-Veniste was, perhaps, the most partisan bloviator on the entire Commission and did not see any fact or any report or any documentary evidence that did not need pontification upon from a partisan viewpoint. Even if it was just to impress everyone how important he was.

Richard Clarke has shown interesting service under both Administrations, and his partisanship for himself is also something that is pretty well demonstrated. He did warn about terrorism in the deaf Clinton Administration and said about invading Afghanistan, that 'Osama would boogie to Baghdad.' Then turns around and COMPLAINS about taking out a known safe haven for terrorists which WAS IRAQ.

Jamie Gorelick is the one I find most disturbing on the panel as she made the infamous 'wall' between INTEL and Law Enforcement and her time in various capacities pushing that vision crippled the National Intelligence apparatus from sharing information with the Law Enforcement apparatus as that information would somehow 'taint' an investigation.

Those are personal attitudes and recollections ONLY, but I believe them to be a fair summary of some of their partisan problems not only politically but personally.

With Democrats now invoking FCC regulations against ABC and Disney, is it any wonder that they feel pressure? Where WAS this equivalent pressure from the Reagan Administration on 'The Day After' or the Republicans in Congress on 'The Reagans'? Why is it that when purely political advocacy is not put on during sporting events, but public health ads are, that those putting on such ads are seen as 'partisan'? And then why bring Congressional attention to such a matter? C. Everett Coop fought hard to get his ads on over the objections of the Reagan Administration because he thought that public health outweighed mere political partisanship. He had a duty to The People.

So does Congress.

All of the People.

Not just Democrats.

And why can they not bring lawsuits AFTERWARDS like everyone else has to do?

What is it that they fear?

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