ABC stands by 9/11 miniseries

As of today, ABC still plans to air The Path to 9/11, the miniseries that has sparked controversy and criticism. Some say the first part, which covers events during the Clinton administration, is politically motivated right-wing propaganda that should result in fines for the network if aired in its current state.

Not having seen the film, I can’t judge whether this charge is true or not. I admit it’s not encouraging that director David Cunningham says he and other production staffers received conflicting information: “These might be from experts who were there in the same room, and they’re telling us completely opposite things.” Nor does it inspire confidence when one of your lead actors — in this case, Harvey Keitel — says that the project was presented to him as history, but turned out not to be entirely factual. With admissions like that, it’s easy to see why there are already demands for the show to be edited or cancelled entirely.

In ABC’s defense, the network hasn’t made a documentary, but a dramatization of events, and events that played out over years instead of days or even weeks. When you only have a few hours, there is simply no way to present any such story without condensing, simplifying, and leaving out material. What remains to be seen is whether the miniseries manages to tell a story that’s both compelling *and* believable. Omitting minor details is one thing, skewing the big picture is another.

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