Thursday, September 07, 2006

Crimes Against History Volume II

Given this administration's propensity for varnishing, hiding and erasing "reality," if I wrote about recent history often, I could do two or three "crimes against history" entries here every day. Nonetheless, the news about ABC's recent "docu-drama" "The Path to 9/11," posted by an anonymous commenter the other day is worth its own special space in the annals of distortion.
America Blog has the basic overview of a tv show that distorts the history of 9/11 so intensely that the democratic leadership of the Senate has written a letter of outrage. In the alternate universe of conservative bloggery, David Horowitz's crowd proclaims it an "outstanding" and "epic" piece of work.
Sheldon Rampton at Firedoglake has an excellent and well-researched articlee on the propaganda piece, which gets to the bottom of some of the conservative talking points in the show's current promotion, such as the claim that some on the right are calling it Bush-bashing leftism. Not so, he indicates,

When challenged to explain why the right-wing blogosphere is abuzz with praise for the film, director David Cunningham responded that "we are also being accused of being a left wing movie that bashes Bush" — a claim for which there is absolutely no evidence. I searched Technorati for mentions of the film and found 260 references, mostly from conservative websites, every single one of which had nothing but praise for the film. And although I found numerous examples of conservative pundits and bloggers who reported seeing pre-broadcast screenings, no leftist pundits or bloggers had been given a chance to see it (unless you count’s roundup of several 9/11-themed movies).

I'll be asking my students if they watched it. My guess is that they won't have, but despite one commenter at FDL saying that "nobody's going to watch this turkey" my guess is that many will and will come away believing a lot of the inaccuracies. Most Americans don't keep up with the history of events that happened last year, much less back in the 1990s. Everyone thinks there is a "secret truth" behind 9/11. You can't go to a public event in NYC without encountering 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Believe me, people are able to incorporate both the scenes of Clinton mismanagement and Bush intentionality with no cognitive dissonance.
On a certain level...should there be? Is it the job of anti-war and anti-Bush activists to protect Clinton's treatment of Bin Laden in contrast to Bush's? After all, both Bush and Clinton are responsible for maintaining policies that antagonized people in the Middle-East, such as the US bases in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. But recognizing a long term policy continuity doesn't mean that, as the ABC show purports to show, 9/11 is just "Clinton's fault." I'm annoyed by the inconsistancy in the average right winger's view of foreign policy. There seems to be no underlying principle in any of it. Moreover, there's just no debate about the competence issue.
I do remember when Bin Laden first hit the US news, and the main thing that people were saying on the street in my mostly Somalian neighborhood at the time was, "Bin Laden is the CIA's man." Of course most of those folks got crushed during the post-9/11 crackdown because of their immigrant status and their habit of sending money home to who knows where that kind of historical memory is now.
I'd say that being suspicious is no guarantee of protection against ABC's fakery. Without a clear way of measuring various pieces of evidence, people do and will believe almost anythiing they see on television news shows or read on the internet. People are both suspicious of everything and willing to believe anything. It makes it hard to come up with a way to talk about anything real at all. All our news has a fantastical quality to it these days. What Larry Beinhart calls "Fog Facts" are around by the hundreds, but instead of paying attention to them, people are concerned instead with glimpsing whatever mystery "truth" some pr flak is handing out on the corner.
and now, time for bed.


Anonymous said...

Commentor at Berube's blog (about Dinesh D'Souza's latest):

"What’s hilarious is that, in equating the Left with the terrorists, D’Sousa and Ponnuru also sympathize with the terrorists. The Right really needs to get this straight: either my love of the New Deal and Jessica Simpson makes me the ally of the terrorists or it makes me their true enemy. You can’t have it both ways.

But I suppose you can have it both ways. That’s what an ideology does, right? To oversimplify Jameson on Levi-Straus, ideological narrative allows wingnuts to hold two contradictory thoughts in their minds at one time, and to fashion them into a mace to smack the Left around with. "

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest "9/11: Press for the Truth" as an alternative viewing suggestion. This documentary focuses on the "Jersey Girls," four of the 9/11 widows who have been pushing for a more serious and accurate accounting of why our government let the events of Sept. 11 occur.

They keep asking why no one, save the Administration not in office at the time is being held to account for it.

Their website is at:

Anonymous said...

Seeing the Forest:

"David Horowitz was involved from the start in ABC's Path to 9/11 smear blaming Clinton for 9/11"

Anonymous said...

Air America Radio's new schedule

IMO most of these changes are for the better - now if only they had a decent broadcast signal in NYC!!!!

Anonymous said...


Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."