Disinfo-tainment: The Path To 9/11
Friday September 08th 2006, 11:20 pm

image: Lalo Alcaraz

The Seven Network is scheduled to air the ABC (America) ‘docudrama,’ The Path to 9/11 in Australia, without commercial interruption (see edit below), in two segments, on Sunday, 10 September, at 8:30pm and on Monday, 11 September at 9:30pm AEST.

The program is highly controversial with regard to depictions of history. The program tries to blame the 9/11 attacks on Bill Clinton, attempts to assert that Iraq indeed had WMD, claims that there was a connection between the 9/11 attacks and Saddam Hussein and implies that ‘media are hindering the war on terror.’

Educational publisher Scholastic has pulled from publication their classroom guide for Path, on the basis of criticism that it looked like Karl Rove’s daily Iraq War talking points. Prior to Scholastic pulling the classroom guide, Media Matters for America commented:

ABC, Scholastic injecting conservative misinformation into the classroom

“Discussion guide” suggests Iraq had WMD; miniseries blames Clinton for 9-11

In conjunction with the September 10 premiere of its flawed, partisan miniseries The Path to 9/11, ABC has teamed up with Scholastic Inc. to urge 100,000 high school teachers nationwide and their students to watch the controversial miniseries and then use Scholastic’s “discussion guide” in class. A Media Matters for America review of the ABC/Scholastic material has found it to be rife with conservative misinformation.

The ABC/Scholastic material is deeply flawed because, in addition to omitting key information, it promotes conservative talking points:

* It tells students that the United States went to war in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction — but fails to note that, in fact, Iraq did not have WMD. Nor does it note the increasing evidence that the Bush administration knew this all along and manipulated intelligence in order to make a dishonest case for war.

* It falsely suggests a tie between Iraq and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

* It gives unjustifiably upbeat accounts of reportedly dire conditions on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

* It suggests that military responses to Osama bin Laden by the Clinton administration could have “hinder[ed] the U.S. stance on the war on terror.”

* It asks students to debate whether the media “hinder our national security.”

Former US President Bill Clinton has lodged complaints that the program contains significant material falsehoods and should not be broadcast.

ABC (America) is reported to be doing some last minute editing of the program before airing, but has claimed that criticisms are ‘premature and irresponsible’ despite having released copies of the ‘docudrama’ to right-wing news outlets and conservative US bloggers, as well as screened the program before the National Press Club.

Bush’s war on Iraq is a major problem for candidates in the 2006 ‘midterm’ US Congressional elections. The vast majority of Americans now believe they were led down the rosy garden path over the causes for Bush taking the US to war with Iraq. Path is little if not miniseries-length GOP propaganda.

What I’d like to know is who exactly is funding the uninterrupted broadcast of Path To 9/11 on the Seven Network in Australia. (edit: Seven says that the program will not be aired commercial-free… but I’ll still be interested to see what sponsors’s ads will be appearing during the broadcast. The program will air with 1/3 the usual number of commercials on ABC (America).)

Perhaps Seven considers disinfo-tainment to be public service broadcasting.


MORE: Editor & Publisher have a detailed preview and critique of Path. See also the discussion, “Strike a blow for accurate history,” on Road to Surfdom. Thinkprogress.org has numerous entries on the firestorm surrounding the program. Barista as gracefully as ever, weighs in.

AND MORE: The Path To 9/11 was produced and presumably will be broadcast by ABC (America). ABC is owned by Disney. The chairman of Disney’s board is former Democrat Senator for Maine, George John Mitchell. Mitchell replaced Michael Eisner as Disney chairman in 2004. Sozzy breaks it down for Mitchell, noting the hypocrisy in Disney’s decision not to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11 in movie theatres immediately before the 2004 US presidential elections, while Disney apparently has no problem with putting the partisan Path on free-to-air US television ahead of the November 2006 Congressional elections.

3 Comments so far
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I’ve just been on the phone to Seven. The receptionist said that Seven are not intending to air the program commercial free.

I asked if Seven will be airing Path in the ‘corrected’ form or in the more objectionable earlier version. The receptionist said that Seven will already have the program in house on tape and will be airing that version.

Comment by weez 09.09.06 @ 1:08 pm


I think this program clashes with Australian Idol ?

Comment by Accountant in a Bad Tie 09.09.06 @ 5:31 pm

ABT, I think it’d clash with about anything. Australian Idol is at least ‘reality’ television, as it were.

Comment by weez 09.09.06 @ 10:31 pm

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