Friday, September 08, 2006

And wait, there's more!

Call Flagrant Falsehoods Gross Disservice to the Public

CHICAGO, IL -- SEPTEMBER 8, 2006 – A group of leading American historians today sent the following letter to Mr. Robert Iger of ABC.

Signatories include Pulitzer Prize winner Arthur Schlesinger and Sean Wilentz,
Princeton University, this year's winner of the Bancroft Prize, the American history profession's highest honor. Stressing the significance of the “traumatic” events of 9/11, the signers of this letter are calling on Mr. Iger to stand up for responsible media treatments of such important historical moments and withdraw the program from circulation.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Robert Iger:

We write as professional historians, who are deeply concerned by the continuing reports about ABC’s scheduled broadcast of “The Path to 9/11.” These reports document that this drama contains numerous flagrant falsehoods about critical events in recent American history. The key participants and eyewitnesses to these events state that the script distorts and even fabricates evidence into order to mislead viewers about the responsibility of numerous American officials for allegedly ignoring the terrorist threat before 2000.

The claim by the show’s producers, broadcaster, and defenders, that these falsehoods are permissible because the show is merely a dramatization, is disingenuous and dangerous given their assertions that the show is also based on authoritative historical evidence. Whatever ABC’s motivations might be, broadcasting these falsehoods, connected to the most traumatic historical event of our times, would be a gross disservice to the public. A responsible broadcast network should have nothing to do with the falsification of history, except to expose it. We strongly urge you to halt the show’s broadcast and prevent misinforming Americans about their history.

Arthur Schlesinger
Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
Lizbeth Cohen, Harvard University
Nicholas Salvatore, Cornell University
Ted Widmer, Washington College
Rick Perlstein, Independent Scholar
David Blight, Yale University
Eric Alterman, City University of New York

(List in formation)

The scheduling of the docudrama has raised a firestorm of criticism from educators, congressional leaders and former President Bill Clinton.

For additional information on the controversy and the opposition from leading Americans, please check: Open Letter to ABC, Think Progress, and Firedoglake.