Clintonistas Decry ABC Entertainment 9/11 Film

ByABC News
September 7, 2006, 2:52 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2006 — -- During the 1992 presidential election, Bill Clinton's campaign prided itself on its quick and sharp responses to attacks from the Republican side.

Now, 14 years later, little has changed, except this time the Clintonistas have aimed their fire not at Republicans but at ABC Entertainment for its two-part miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," which is scheduled for broadcast Sunday and Monday evenings.

ABC Entertainment calls the film "a dramatization, not a documentary, drawn from a number of sources including the 9/11 Commission Report, other published materials, and personal interviews. As such, for dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, and time compression."

The five-hour film, with a large cast that includes Patricia Heaton and Harvey Keitel, will air with no commercial interruptions. But some people who have screened the film in part, or have heard reports from those screenings, have already issued their reviews.

Some former Clinton administration officials have demanded that ABC correct or simply dump the film because of "misleading scenes." Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and three other Clinton-era officials expressed their concern in letters to Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Co., the parent company of ABC Entertainment (and of ABC News).

In recent days, several liberal bloggers have also complained that the film implies Clinton was too preoccupied with impeachment to deal with the threat from al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, some conservative bloggers, who are not the least bit disturbed that the film may suggest the Clinton administration was weak on national security, have praised the film.

In a statement, ABC Entertainment said the film is still being edited, leaving open the possibility that some scenes in the film could be altered in response to the criticism.

"No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing is not yet complete, so criticisms of film's specifics are premature and irresponsible," the statement said. "The attacks of 9/11 were a pivotal moment in our history, and it is fitting that the debate about the events related to the attacks continue. However, we hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast of the finished film before forming an opinion about it."