Liberal television reporter AlessandraStanley's surprises in her mostly favorable review of ABC's much-anticipated (and attacked by high-level Clintonistas) upcoming miniseries "The Path to 9-11," by suggesting her personal opinion.
"ABC has been under assault by bloggers and former officials who claim the film paints an unfairly censorious portrait of the Clinton administration, with a lobbying campaign reminiscent of the one that drove CBS to cancel 'The Reagans' biopic in 2003. (CBS's parent company, Viacom, kicked it to the cable channel Showtime.) Some kind of reaction was inevitable this time.
"All mini-series Photoshop the facts. 'The Path to 9/11' is not a documentary, or even a docu-drama; it is a fictionalized account of what took place. It relies on the report of the Sept. 11 commission, the King James version of all Sept. 11 accounts, as well as other material and memoirs. Some scenes come straight from the writers' imaginations. Yet any depiction of those times would have to focus on those who were in charge, and by their own accounts mistakes were made."
Stanley surprises by taking a long view of the history of terror attacks, one that admits that America-hatred didn't begin with the inauguration of George W. Bush in January 2001: "The first bombing of the World Trade Center happened on Bill Clinton's watch. So did the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen. The president's staff - and the civil servants who worked for them - witnessed the danger of Al Qaeda close up and personally. Some even lost their lives.
"In 2001 President Bush and his newly appointed aides had ample warning, including a briefing paper titled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,' and they failed to take it seriously enough, but their missteps are not equal. It's like focusing blame for a school shooting at the beginning of the school year on the student's new home room teacher; the adults who watched the boy torment classmates and poison small animals knew better. (It's safe to assume that any future mini-series about American foreign policy will not delve flatteringly into Mr. Bush's march to war in Iraq.)"