From Pine View Farm

Dick Polman on the Path to 9/11 and Partisan Hypocrisy 0

I present this with the proviso that I had no position on the CBS film about Ronald and Nancy Reagan. For one thing, I was going through a divorce which consumed a lot of energy; for another, I can’t remember the last time that I watched a major network television show that didn’t involve a ball of some kind.

But I do have a thing about liars and lying. And with presenting as fact something directly contrary to the historical record.

Furthermore, as I have said in a comment to another post here, freedom of speech does not mandate an obligation to publish. The Constituion of the United States of American says that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

This provision, which is reflected in most, if not all, state constitutions (I’m too lazy to do the research) restrains the government; it does not compel individuals or the press.

The argument used by some liberals that the CBS film about the Reagans had to be shown because not showing it somehow violated freedom of speech was, frankly, hogwash. Any similar argument advanced to support the broadcast of “The Path to 9/11” is, similarly, hogwash.

Just as a newspaper has no obligation to publish every letter to the editor or every story off the AP wire, a broadcaster has no obligation to air a show. It is the government which is restrained from prohibiting individuals, the press and, by extension, broadcasters, to express themselves.

Freedom of speech is not compulsion to speak.

A newspaper and a broadcaster–and bloggers, too–are obligated to ensure that what they publish is as accurate as possible and that the line between fact and opinion is clearly drawn–and area where many bloggers, I fear, have a lot to learn.

And now to excerpts from Mr. Polman’s comments (emphasis added):

The current flap over the upcoming ABC docudrama The Path to 9/11 is a textbook case of partisan hypocrisy. And that label applies to liberal and conservatives alike.

Let’s start with the liberals — not all liberals, of course; I am referring to activists and bloggers — since they’re the ones who are ticked off at ABC. Their outrage is directed at various fictionalizations of the 9/11 saga that the Hollywood types have either dreamed up or improvised.


Looking at this case on the merits, it’s clear that the liberal camp does have a legitimate beef; even ABC has admitted taking some dramatic liberties with the known facts. But I don’t recall the liberal camp acting with similar concern back in 2003, when a CBS docudrama about Ronald Reagan was planning to take some dramatic liberties in its depiction of the former president.

Quite the contrary, in fact. Liberals thought that the Reagan show should air just as the miniseries producers intended it to air — in the name of freedom of speech.


Most conservatives, however, are also selective in their outrage. They don’t seem very concerned that the Hollywood types (whom they generally dislike) have filmed fictionalized scenes that depict a former president in a negative light.


Yet the scene was very different in October 2003, when they were so outraged that Hollywood had filmed fictionalizeed scenes depicting their favorite former president in a negative light. Back then, when a major network acted in this fashion, it was viewed as fresh evidence of liberal-media perfidy.

As Ed Morrow of the National Review said, “Attempts to distort our history must be resisted. Historical truth is simply too valuable to be made a plaything for biased filmmakers rewriting it to fit their politics.” . . .


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