Controversial New 9/11 Miniseries

WRITTEN BY
SPIN Staff

The first half of The Path to 9/11, the miniseries tracing events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, aired last night, and it's making the online rounds today on the five year anniversary of the atrocity. Pundits are weighing in, most saying the docudrama is inflammatory and distorted. One scene seems to be particularly offensive, especially to members of the Clinton administration who were portrayed as weak and shortsighted. According to the The Path, these bureaucrats passed up opportunities to seize Osama bin Laden, a named participant in the 9/11 tragedy.

John Lehman, a Republican 9/11 commissioner, told ABC News the movie "very well portrayed the events in a way that people can understand them without doing violence to the facts, but Clinton and many Democrats object. "The scenes ABC put on its air [Sunday] night are completely false and directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report," a Clinton spokesman told the news station. "ABC regrettably decided not to tell the truth [Sunday] night and instead chose entertainment over the facts."

The second half of this two-part, five-hour miniseries airs tonight (Sept. 11).

Here's what the critics are saying:

"[A]esthetic objections pale in comparison to the legitimate complaints of those who resent the film's being passed off as truth when it apparently is riddled with errors. These are dismissed in a glib disclaimer acknowledging 'composite and representative characters and time compression...for dramatic purposes.' How much drama needs to be added to 9/11?" -- Tom Shales, washingtonpost.com

"It would be uplifting to believe, as the producers of ABC's The Path to 9/11 have claimed, that the network spent $40 million on its anniversary docudrama to educate the American people and improve the nation's defenses. And it would be reassuring to believe, as the producers have insisted in recent days, that 'our ambitions and our goals and our standards were all about accuracy.' But it is impossible to believe, after viewing their somewhat cheesy, sometimes incomprehensible and severely distorted version of the events leading up to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that they acted in good faith on either of those motivations." -- Joe Conason, salon.com

"Did the people who run ABC Entertainment...really believe that Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and Sandy Berger would watch themselves on television doing and saying thing they never did or said and not object? When these fictional incidents were portrayed as contributing to the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent people, did they think that the former Clinton administration officials and others so caricatured simply would shrug and say, 'Well, that's dramatic license for you?' Did they really expect anyone to accept the preposterous notion that -- as some at the network argued this week -- the film's facts were wrong, but its 'essence' was true? These people really need to get out more." -- Tim Rutten, latimes.com

Talk: Have you seen The Path to 9/11? Weigh in. COMMENT

On the Web:
The Path to 9/11 at abc.go.com

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