Friday, September 08, 2006

There's No Such Thing As A "Docu-Drama"!

I just caught a second or two of Fox "News" as I was fetching some coffee this morning and heard what I had been expecting for days concerning ABC's "The Path to 9/11" RNC campaign commercial...err..."docu-drama": a justification comparing it to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11". Some lovely coiffed but intellectually vacant Fox commenter opined, and I quote as nearly as I can remember: "Democrats certainly weren't up in arms about Michael Moore's "docu-drama" blaming Bush for 9/11". The quote is surely not exact but it captures the flavor of what she meant even if I made part of it up. ABC's new standards for integrity are good enough for "A Beginner's Mind", right? Apparently there's an ethical exception to the truth as long as something can be called a "docu-drama", which is what this young spokesmodel for movement conservatism actually called Moore's documentary.

The differences between "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "The Path to 9/11" are many and no doubt the conservative talking heads pushing this bogus argument understand and are attempting to obscure those differences. Let's explore a few of them to see why Fox remains on the cutting edge of fabricated news...

First of all, "Fahrenheit 9/11" is a documentary, not some meaningless pop-culture doublespeak term of no substance. Moore's film, which I have seen, takes a huge amount of factual information and then draws conclusions from it that are open to debate. It's certainly an opinion piece but those opinions are drawn on well-documented factual information. At no time does Moore create events out of whole cloth the way ABC's "docu-drama" does, such as the "Sandy Berger refusing to go after Osama bin Laden" scene that's elicited letters from former Clinton administration personnel. "Fahrenheit 9/11" is a documentary which draws opinionated conclusions based on actual facts. "The Path to 9/11" is an historical fiction that attempts to re-write history to match what the GOP wishes had happened. They want to absolve Bush of all responsibility for the mistakes made by his office, while casting the blame for the worst terrorist attack in history onto the one President with the best anti-terrorism record of any we've had. I guess we'll have to scratch "integrity" and "accountability" off the list of those much vaunted "conservative values" about which we hear so much...

Second, Moore didn't advertise "Fahrenheit 9/11" as anything other than what it was: an opinionated documentary. He made no bones about his disgust with the Bush administration. "The Path to 9/11", on the other hand, has continually been marketed as an unbiased look at the events leading up to 9/11 based on the 9/11 Commission report, which is patently untrue. Notables such as Richard Clark, the former anti-terrorism director under Bush, has himself said that the movie presents scenes which are complete fabrications. This, along with the fact that only rightwing blogs and media outlets were allowed an advanced screening, surely indicates that "The Path to 9/11" has a clear and intentional agenda which ABC is deliberately trying to hide.

Finally, ABC, like several other major networks, refused to air "Fahrenheit 9/11" when it was released, deeming it to be too "politically charged". That much hypocrisy almost speaks for itself. Apparently being "too politically charged" is OK as long as it's the "right" politics. Disney (ABC's parent company) no doubt loves those Bush tax cuts and, thus, has a very vested interest in making sure nothing unfortunate, like, for instance, the democratic process, happens to that corporate welfare.

As a matter of course, I don't see anything so much wrong with ABC airing it's historical fiction about 9/11 as much as I mind how ABC is marketing this mess. ABC, sans Monday Night Football, is now easily the most useless non-Fox "News" station on the cable dial. If they wanted to air a GOP-approved mini-series about 9/11 for their hundreds of viewers, more power to them. But they must present it for what it is: a poor conservative's History Channel special.

[Lazy Blogger's Note: Rather than populate this post with 50 links to Atrios, I'll just suggest that anyone interested in doing so can use Eschaton as a works-cited page for all things related to this "docu-drama".]

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