Saturday, September 09, 2006

ABC's "Path to 9/11"

I debated about writing this, merely because it's all over the place, especially on the internet and talk radio, but I have a beef and as I'm trying to be more elaborative on this blog about all things 'me'--I figured I'd address this here as well.

If you're not aware of the miniseries scheduled to air this Sunday and Monday on ABC, you'll find plenty of information through a quick google search. I'm going to get right to, what I see as, the heart of the matter.

There are two kinds of researchers in this world--those who care to uphold a fixed belief (an agenda)--and those who want to find out what that belief is based on the facts. (A Truth Seeker of sorts.)

I've rarely come by anything in the media these days that doesn't have it's own agenda. Whether it's to avoid scorn by a sitting administration and keep their connections, those lines of information open, or those who are actively seeking a way to showcase an administrations failings or triumphs--it makes no difference to me, neither one is journalism, neither one is fact-finding. Both ways are insincere and both ways betray the trust of the general public.

ABC has a higher standard to reach when depicting anything to do with 9/11. The dead bodies of American fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters demand it. To fictionalize any part of a 'docudrama' and excuse it for the sake of 'entertainment' is to spit on the graves of those who died. The American public is sick to death of being misled, lied to, and otherwise crapped on by those in charge of informing us.

This is not a political debacle, this is a MEDIA debacle.

As a writer, I'm forever terrified that I'll miss something in my research, that I'll make a glaring mistake or in other ways falsely portray that which I'm trying to share. From character's occupations, to settings and locations, I research, sometimes until my brain hurts. Therefore, I can SMELL when someone has done shoddy research.

The claims made by the author of "Path to 9/11" Cyrus Nowrasteh in this interview at Frontpage are based on an EMAIL circulated on the internet--one I myself received, and then discovered to be false at

To have another writer research so shallowly the material used in his work, and to also ignore the findings in a document written by researchers (The 9/11 Commission Report) in order to fulfill his own agenda--on the backs of dead Americans, makes me want to pull my (his) hair out.

In a day and age where the amount of information greatly outpaces the quality of that information--I hold writers of all stripes (journalists, fiction authors, columnists) to a higher standard than ever before.

If you want to create a fully fictional movie (such as "V for Vendetta") and depict events however you want to--be my guest, more power to you. Just don't tout the fictionalized story as a historically accurate portrayal--especially when scenes in the film never even happened. That's not distortion, but lies made from whole cloth.

Shame on ABC for not vetting what it will air more carefully. Shame on Cyrus Nowrasteh for not more carefully researching his work. And shame on those who are using politics to attack others for standing up for the truth and demanding our media not perpetuate lies.

But good on Scholastic for dropping their original "Path to 9/11" study guide and using this as an opportunity to educate children on the difference between fact and fiction. At least someone cares about the accuracy of what our children are taught.

And as Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that."


D.S. Dollman said...

Well said, jenny. There should be some sort of effort made to let the readers/viewers know that they are not reading a work of fact, or journalism. It seems as if journalism, or news, no longer means objective reporting of the facts, it now means subjective reporting with a heavy dose of personal opinion from the writer. I was very much under the impression that path to 9/11 would be an objective news story. How sadly disappointing.

J.R. Turner said...

I know how you feel! I've been angrier and angrier with the 'media' these days. I call them nothing more than gossip mongers. They think "He said/She said" reporting is journalism. *SNORT* Not even close.

Journalism reports on what someone says--but then goes beyond to find out if that statement has any veracity.

For instance, if Jane Smith says, "AFDC is destroying America and Americans!" The reporter has an obligation to discover that AFDC no longer exists, that it hasn't for a decade, and that in it's place is a new program called TANF. But no! They don't do that, and whay? Because words like "Destroying America!" are great news-sellers, never mind the horrible consequences--such as millions of voters not knowing the facts!

Ugh. It just makes me so angry sometimes. *Sigh*

Thanks for chiming in!!!