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Tuesday, March 11, 2008
CNS Writer Misrepresents 'Path to 9/11' Controversy
Topic: NewsBusters

What happens to stories so bad that even CNS won't run them? They apparently end up at NewsBusters.

A March 11 NewsBusters post by CNS reporter Kevin Mooney (which does not appear at CNS) misrepresents the controversy over the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" and leaves out facts about ABC/Disney's purported refusal to market a DVD of the series. Mooney writes:

Disney’s unwillingness to make the film available on DVD suggests Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger is working to advance his own political interests at the expense of shareholders, Tom Borelli, a portfolio manager with the Free Enterprise Action Fund contends. Iger has been a consistent and steady contributor to Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.), Borelli pointed out. He also asked Disney officials to explain why they have thus refused to sell the film rights to Lionsgate.

1) Mooney never explains what the Free Enterprise Action Fund or why its manager is making a political statement about it. From the fund's website:

Left-wing social and political activists are harnessing the power, resources and influence of publicly-owned corporations to advance their social and political agendas. (1) Frustrated by their failure to advance their agendas in the public political process, these activists use capitalism against capitalism under the guise of “corporate social responsibility” and “socially responsible investing.” (2) Their movement threatens shareholder value and the American system of free enterprise.

Leveraging its status as an institutional shareholder in hundreds of America’s largest companies, the Fund aims to defend free enterprise from the Left’s use of capitalism against capitalism.

2) Mooney and Borelli never explain why Disney should allow Lionsgate to distribute the DVD when Disney has its own distribution arm. Further, Mooney fails to note that the Hollywood Reporter stated: "Contacted after the meeting, Lionsgate insiders said that there is no serious interest in acquiring the DVD rights to 'Path.'"

Mooney goes on to note that "Top Democratic Party officials, including former members of the Clinton administration, claim the film is laced with inaccuracies. Madeline Albright, the secretary of state under President Clinton, Sandy Berger, the former national security advisor and Bruce Lindsey, a Clinton attorney all expressed strong reservations about the film to Disney," but he doesn't mention specific inaccuracies to which they objected.

Meanwhile, Mooney uncritically repeats Borelli's claim that "The film has come under criticism not because Democratic officials are suddenly concerned about objective facts but because they are concerned about safeguarding President Clinton’s legacy particularly as it pertains to the ineffective counter-terrorism practices in the 1990s that are exposed in the film." Mooney also promotes an upcoming film by "former Los Angles radio host" John Ziegler who claims (without evidence, of course) that "The Path to 9/11" "was easy on the Clinton administration."

Mooney adds:

However, the overriding point the filmmaker hopes most to drive home most in this new documentary – tentatively entitled “Blocking the Path” – is how constrained Clinton became in fighting back against terrorism in the midst of impeachment.

“Clinton was relying on his approval ratings to remain in office,” Ziegler said. “So he couldn’t go after Bin Laden and risk disaster and risk losing American operatives”

Does this mean that Ziegler will detail how Republicans share some of the blame for forcing an impeachment action against Clinton that constrained him in fighting terrorism? Don't count on it.

Mooney, by the way, makes no mention of Ziegler's politics; Ziegler's Wikipedia page calls him "a strong supporter of President Bush's policies following 9/11" and notes that Ziegler describes himself as "more libertarian than conservative, more conservative than liberal."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:39 PM EDT

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