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Wednesday, September 6, 2006
NewsBusters Defends ABC 9/11 Miniseries
Topic: NewsBusters

As criticism of the upcoming ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" mounts over its alleged inaccuracies regarding the Clinton administration, the ConWeb is rushing to defend the program -- and attack the critics.

A Sept. 6 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard, for example, is all about attacking the critics, dismissing them as "Michael Moore devotees." First, Sheppard cites Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, "the outspoken proprietor of Daily Kos," calling the series a "piece of fiction." Sheppard retorts: "That’s some truly objective review-work there, isn’t it? Wouldn’t every movie and television critic have an easy job if all he or she had to do was reference the opinions of others rather than actually see the film or program in question? Imagine the time you’d save!" Sheppard did not note that non-conservatives, and even people depicted in the show, can't get preview copies of it so they can judge for themselves. Has Sheppard seen it? If so, perhaps he can explain how he got a copy; if not, why is he defending a show he hasn't seen?

Sheppard also accused Moulitsas of committing a "cardinal sin of journalism," forgetting the fact that Moulitsas has never proclaimed himself to be a journalist.

Sheppard then reported that "Kos then listed reasons why the miniseries was presenting falsehoods. Nowhere did Markos inform the reader that this analysis was apparently made by former counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke ." Yet, rather than refuting Clarke's specific criticisms (which he doesn't repeat for the benefit of his readers), Sheppard assailed Clarke's credibility, repeating one critic (Michael Scheuer, who Sheppard insists is "no friend of the Bush administration!") calling him "a risk-averse poseur."

Sheppard also assailed a claim by Think Progress' Judd Legum that a scene in the miniseries depicting Osama bin Laden as being cornered and the Clinton administration refusing to give final approval to capture him, "never happened" and was "completely made up" by screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh. Sheppard then created a straw man, falsely claiming that Legum was denying that there was no plan: "Does it sound like Nowrasteh 'completely made up' this plan?"

Additionally, Sheppard tried to rewrite history by falsely stating the circumstances surrounding the Sandy Berger case, claiming that Berger "was so intent on covering up the missteps of the Clinton administration that he actually stole documents from the National Archive just prior to testifying before the Commission." In fact, as we've repeatedly noted, Berger took no original documents.

It appears that Sheppard is committing a "cardinal sin of journalism" by not getting his facts straight before writing his post. (Hey, if he thinks Kos is a journalist, he must think he is one too. Scary.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 PM EDT

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