Sunday, September 10, 2006

Editor and Publisher seriously misrepresents Tim Rutten's column.

Media: An amusing cut and paste job by Greg Mitchell's left falling Editor and Publisher who chooses to highlight only one part of Rutten's media column on this path to 9/11 debacle.

'L.A. Times' Media Critic Hits 'Irresponsiiblity' of ABC On 9/11 Film By E&P Staff Published: September 10, 2006 9:30 AM ET NEW YORK Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times joined many of his media and TV critic colleagues on Sunday in raising serious questions about "The Path to 9/11" TV movie, scheduled to start a two-day run tonight, but went further in judging its home network, ABC. The movie has been criticized for factual errors, taking too much artistic license in conflating or inventing events, and for alleged pro-conservative bias. The filmmakers were hastily re-editing all weekend but it is not known what the final product will look like. Commentary in newspapers across the country simmered on Sunday, but even the favorable reviews were based on apparently out-of-date review copies. Rutten described ABC's reputation as a "smoking ruin" and ripped its "irresponsibility" to history. He observed that "it's hard to know whether you're looking at the consequence of unadulterated folly or of a calculated strategy that turned out to be too clever by half. "At the end of the day, it probably doesn't make much difference because, either way, the lacerating controversy surrounding the network's docu-dramatic re-creation of events leading to Sept. 11 is an entirely self-inflicted wound. For most of the week, ABC rather haughtily attempted to characterize itself as the victim of philistines, or self-righteously as a champion of free speech or, more pathetically, as just plain misunderstood by people who just don't understand how television is done. "It is none of those things. "It's an opportunistic and self-interested organization that somehow thought it could approach the most wrenching American tragedy since Pearl Harbor with the values that prevail among network television executives — the sort of ad hoc ethics that would make a streetwalker blush — and that nobody would mind." The rest of the lengthy column can be found at www.latimes.com
What they failed to highlight were other parts of the column that lashes out at the Dems for thuggery and for the media including E&P for overlooking this aspect of the situation.
One of the most unfortunate consequences of all this was that most of the news media completely overlook a stunning affront to 1st Amendment freedoms that occurred when the Democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate sent Iger a letter Thursday appearing to threaten the network's licenses unless "The Path to 9/11" was altered or killed: "The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest … ," the lawmakers wrote. "We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program." We've all become accustomed to a Congress that behaves as if it's divided between Bloods and Crips rather than Republicans and Democrats — but this was a thuggish new low. If we were inclined to dramatic license, the guys with thick necks in "On the Waterfront" would come to mind, though it's doubtful even Harvey Keitel could plausibly play Harry Reid as threatening.
Of course I have no doubt if the situation was reversed and the GOP was hitting out, this part of the column would have been highlighted.

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