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Tuesday, September 12, 2006
On 'Poetic License'
Topic: Media Research Center

In his Sept. 11 MRC CyberAlert, Brent Baker mostly repeated his Sept. 8 NewsBusters post defending his boss Brent Bozell from Keith Olbermann naming him "Worst Person in the World." (We say "mostly" because rather than repeating his claim that this very blog may have inspired Olbermann's awarding of the honor to Bozell, he lumped us in with unnamed "left-wing bloggers.") This gives us a chance to address one more Baker claim that we missed in our last analysis of his post.

If you'll recall, Olbermann (as we did) pointed out Bozell's double standard on the issue of factual accuracy in TV docudramas; in 2003, he smacked around CBS for "'adding' to the historical record" in a miniseries about Ronald Reagan, but merely stated that ABC had taken "poetic license with history" on the "Path to 9/11" miniseries. In the NewsBusters post, Baker responded, "Olbermann ignored how saying the movie takes 'poetic license' is criticism"; for the CyberAlert, that was tweaked to state, "Olbermann ignored how saying the movie takes "poetic license" is acknowledging inaccuracies."

But Baker misses the point: The problem is not that noting "poetic license" isn't "acknowledging inaccuracies," it's that "poetic license" is the harshest thing Bozell had to say about those inaccuracies in "The Path to 9/11." By contrast, in his Oct. 23, 2003, column castigating CBS for inaccuracies in "The Reagans" miniseries, Bozell called it "dramatic and quite fictional," said that "no one should expect ... lessons" about "leadership of Ronald Reagan" "to come from leftist Hollywood," asserted that "Hollywood will never catch a glimpse of Reagan’s moral vision," and concluded by stating, "Inquiring minds should also remember that CBS chief Les Moonves won’t be making any Clinton-bashing TV movies." 

Bozell may have suggested that inaccuracies in "The Path to 9/11" be edited, but he made no effort to push or fight for those edits, and he certainly didn't castigate the "Path to 9/11" producers for their inaccuracies they way he bashed the producers of "The Reagans" for theirs. That's the double standard Baker apparently can't see.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 12:38 AM EDT

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