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Go Beyond the Miniseries Controversy

posted by doug howe

As Kris describes, several of former President Clinton’s advisors and administration officials had put pressure on ABC to cancel–or at least change the story and dialogue–of its 9-11 miniseries, which began last night and ends tonight. I am struck by the hypocrisy of it.

The show that ran last night contained changed and deleted scenes. For Democrats to influence that is absolutely counter to everything they posit about artistic freedoms and civil liberties, not to mention their accusations of the insider influence of the Bush administration upon government service contracts, oil, and the media.

According to CNN and AP reports, the original version “indicated President Clinton’s preoccupation with his potential impeachment may have hurt the effort to go after Osama bin Laden,” including a scene with “an actor portraying White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke” telling FBI agent John O’Neill: “The Republicans are going all-out for impeachment. I just don’t see in that climate the president’s going to take chances” to “give the order to kill bin Laden.”

In last night’s version, Clarke said “The president has assured me this… won’t affect his decision-making.” In another deleted scene, Clarke says the “Lewinsky thing is a noose around his neck,” but that scene was cut in full. And there were many others.

I have personally enjoyed the long relationship between Hollywood and Washington, D.C., going back to Jimmy Stewart’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Movies, television, and docudramas have long brought the slow pace of government bureaucracy and behind-the-scenes plots and decisions into the entertainment arena. No one is ever confused, though, as to the “entertainment” part of the arena, and everyone knows that docu-dramas usually carry more “drama” than “docu.”

The culture war between the two political parties is as clear as the difference between CNN and Fox News. Whether it’s government service contracts or oil or television, there will be two sides to stories as long as there are two dominant political parties.

To that end, this controversy is a “repeat.” I’m looking forward to the second half of the show tonight. It’s a good reminder that plotters are plotting, terrorists are terrorizing, governments are governing, and operatives are operating and its enough to remind me to pray for all of the heroes who work on my behalf and give thanks to our Lord that we have the freedoms we do, starting with life itself, something robbed from thousands of people five years ago today.



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