Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: <i>Path to 9/11</i> Linkfest

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Path to 9/11 Linkfest

We're coming up to the airing of the first part of the error-ridden miniseries The Path to 9/11 on Disney/ABC. Apparently it's already aired in New Zealand (and just for good measure, Madeleine Albright's name is misspelled).

The complaints and protests have continued. Bill Clinton (through his lawyer), Albright, and Sandy Berger have each sent letters protesting ABC's broadcast. So has the Democratic leadership of the Senate and a group of historians led by Arthur Schlesinger. Meanwhile, over at The Huffington Post, Bruce Kluger argues that, for all the misinformation about the Clinton administration, the miniseries does the Bushies no favors, either. He offers a litany of their failings that will also be on display. But Chicago Sun-Times TV critic Doug Elfman might provide the best reason not to watch: It's bo-ring. Some of his review is worth pulling out.

I once sat in a car forever waiting for my mom to come out of a grocery store. I thought that was the definition of "interminable." I had no idea "The Path to 9/11" was in my future.
. . .

This is the most anticlimactic, tension-free movie in the history of terrorist TV.

Matt Stoller has an interesting speculation about what happens after Disney insists on keeping The Path to 9/11 on the air. John Aravosis has some suggestions about what steps those of us unhappy with the program should start to take on September 12.

In comments to a post I wrote on the topic on Thursday, Jason Fliegel passed along a post from Glenn Greenwald summarizing some of the conservative reaction when CBS planned to broadcast a Ronald Reagan mini that they felt didn't demonstrate the proper amount of fealty to the former president. One quote from Bill O'Reilly was particularly interesting. He felt that green-lighting the Reagan movie "would be like CBS commissioning a movie about the Clintons written by Rush Limbaugh and starring Dennis Miller and Ann Coulter. Do you think that would ever happen?" Max Blumenthal, also at the Huffington Post, doesn't describe exactly that happening, but close enough.

In fact, "The Path to 9/11" is produced and promoted by a well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias. This is the network within the ABC network. Its godfather is far right activist David Horowitz, who has worked for more than a decade to establish a right-wing presence in Hollywood and to discredit mainstream film and TV production. On this project, he is working with a secretive evangelical religious right group founded by The Path to 9/11's director David Cunningham that proclaims its goal to "transform Hollywood" in line with its messianic vision.

Before The Path to 9/11 entered the production stage, Disney/ABC contracted David Cunningham as the film's director. Cunningham is no ordinary Hollywood journeyman. He is in fact the son of Loren Cunningham, founder of the right-wing evangelical group Youth With A Mission (YWAM). The young Cunningham helped found an auxiliary of his father's group called The Film Institute (TFI), which, according to its mission statement, is "dedicated to a Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Televisionindustry." As part of TFI's long-term strategy, Cunningham helped place interns from Youth With A Mission's in film industry jobs "so that they can begin to impact and transform Hollywood from the inside out," according to a YWAM report.

Last June, Cunningham's TFI announced it was producing its first film, mysteriously titled "Untitled History Project." "TFI's first project is a doozy," a newsletter to YWAM members read. "Simply being referred to as: The Untitled History Project, it is already being called the television event of the decade and not one second has been put to film yet. Talk about great expectations!"
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Early on, Cunningham had recruited a young Iranian-American screenwriter named Cyrus Nowrasteh to write the script of his secretive "Untitled" film. Not only is Nowrasteh an outspoken conservative, he is also a fervent member of the emerging network of right-wing people burrowing into the film industry with ulterior sectarian political and religious agendas, like Cunningham.

Nowrasteh's conservatism was on display when he appeared as a featured speaker at the Liberty Film Festival (LFF), an annual event founded in 2004 to premier and promote conservative-themed films supposedly too "politically incorrect" to gain acceptance at mainstream film festivals. This June, while The Path to 9/11 was being filmed, LFF founders Govindini Murty and Jason Apuzzo -- both friends of Nowrasteh -- announced they were "partnering" with right-wing activist David Horowitz. Indeed, the 2006 LFF is listed as "A Program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center."

Blumenthal has quite a few more details, so take a look at the whole thing if you're interested.

As for me, I'm going to take a pass on the mini. Why encourage ABC or Disney by rubbernecking the disaster. Instead, I'm on my way out to enjoy a very pleasant dinner.

UPDATED--to add a couple of links I inexplicably left out.


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