It's also obvious that Bill Clinton is alert and healthy and able to defend himself against whatever the ABC movie would suggest. At the time CBS prepared to air "The Reagans," Ronald Reagan was unable to defend himself, deep under the veil of Alzheimer's disease and just months away from death. A docudrama that created a sense that Reagan's policies were failures would have been debatable, but a movie cartooning him on his deathbed as stupid and evil was beyond the border of good taste. No such similarity existed with "The Path to 9-11."
During the fuss over the Reagan movie, the liberal media were beside themselves denouncing that dastardly thing called censorship. The New York Times even editorialized that conservatives "helped create the Soviet-style chill embedded in the idea that we, as a nation, will not allow critical portrayals of one of our own recent leaders."
So where was the Times -- and everyone else -- finding Soviet-style censorship in Team Clinton's demands that the ABC film be pulled? Instead, they sympathized with Clinton, editorializing: "One suggestion: When attempting to recreate real events on screen, you do not show real people doing things they never did." For the record, the Times was utterly silent when CBS planned to feature Ronald Reagan declaring people deserved to die of AIDS.
It should be precisely explained that in 2003, the Media Research Center sent letters to advertisers asking them simply to review the script before associating themselves with the anti-Reagan film. For a liberal, that is Soviet-style censorship.
ABC ultimately aired its "Path to 9-11" movie, editing a minute or so out of scenes in the movie that were not historically accurate. This was the correct solution. But the full-court press from the Clintonistas clearly had an effect, too. ABC claimed the film would roll "without interruption," but broke in several times for disclaimers -- not to mention that in Washington, the local ABC affiliate ran its own disavowals.
Both segments were also followed by ABC News programs for more context (and some Clinton-pleasing spin). In the final analysis, ABC showed that it listened to both sides, and stuck with its film, with added caveats. It's just too bad that Team Clinton seemed to have more rhetorical fire for ABC now than they had in their day for Osama bin Laden.
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