Disney/ABC's "docudrama" "The Path to 9/11", is a slanderous and
fictional illusion about that tragic day five years ago. It will not
only be peddled on our public airwaves, the corporate media is seeking
to manipulate our cherished public school teachers. "The Path to 9/11"
an ABC miniseries, touted on their tagline as "based on the 9/11
Commission Report" plans to rewrite history and further invoke the
bogeyman of terrorism. It airs at 8:00 P.M. (east coast time) on Sunday,
September 10th and Monday, September 11th .
100,000 letters apparently were sent to high school teachers so they may
collude in this travesty and only muddle the real history behind the
tragic day of 9/11. Scholastic, Inc., known to children nationwide as
the home of "Clifford, the Big Red Dog" is the catalyst behind the
mailing. Go to the Scholastic website and you may download the "Setup
and Prepare lessons" for September 7th and 8th. There is a follow-up
lesson for 9/12. They are misleading and woefully deficient lessons.
Crucial information about the "apparent" Iraq-9/11 connection, the
origin of most of the 9/11 terrorists and hard data about Osama Bin
Laden is missing in action. Disney and Scholastic have no shame and
little integrity for a serious investigation into the 9/11 tragedies.
Shouldn't we applaud such a civics lesson that ensures a logical and
factual discussion surrounding 9/11? If we ever needed a serious
dialogue it is now. Yet, historians and educators like myself would
probably point to five key points that cast a dark cloud of suspicion on
the ABC/Disney production:
- Richard Clarke, the respected counter-terrorism czar for President
Clinton (and consultant for ABC News) describes a key scene in the
movie. In the footage, a CIA agent places calls to get an okay on a plan
to kill Osama Bin Laden: yet, a senior Clinton official hangs up the
phone. Clarke states it is "180 degrees from what happen." A Bush and
Clinton counter-terrorism official, Roger Cressey, calls it, "something
straight out of Disney and fantasyland. It's factually wrong."
- Once again, the Washington Post is accused in the film of blowing the
secret that American undercover experts were tracking Bin Laden's
satellite phone calls: a blatant falsehood.
- If the "Path to 9/11" program is "based on the 9/11 Commission Report"
why was only the Republican co-chair of that Commission, Tom Kean, asked
to be an advisor?
- Why are conservative media outlets screening the program: is this
another example of the liberal media myth?
- Lastly, historic and the 9/11 Commission evidence shows that President
Bill Clinton used every effort to track down Bin Laden. The chief script
writer of "Path to 9/11" Cyrus Nowraseteh chooses to rewrite history by
depicting Clinton as lacking the will to stop terrorism? Ironically, Mr.
Nowraseteh is a friend of Rush Limbaugh.
The discussion guide for teachers includes some noble goals: encourage
students to gain a global understanding of cultures, engage in critical
thinking skills and promote media literacy? Media literacy? If their
trusted teachers are encouraging high school students to watch this
film, isn't that validation enough of its accuracy? Only the most fluent
and well-read teachers could lead their students through this media fiasco.
Teachers must give facts, Scholastic doesn't, ABC misleads
On Student Sheets #1 provided by Scholastic (the last page) it states,
"as part of the war on terror, President Bush has led the United States
into Afghanistan and Iraq and has reorganized the national government in
an attempt to combat terrorist activity." Really? Mr. Bush misled
Americans to believe that Iraq had connections to 9/11. Where is the
activity sheet that discusses that 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11 were
from Saudi Arabia? Where is the CIA data on how Bin Laden was trained
and supplied with equipment in the 1980's by US interests? This "fact
sheet" claims that Pakistan's President Pervez Mu sharraf is an ally on
the war on terror? Didn't ABC just report that Pakistan is offering
Osama Bin Laden a safe haven in Pakistan? Reorganize our national
government? How? Is the undermining of civil liberties, the illegal
wiretapping of phones and the deliberate desecration of the Bill of
Rights the new centerpiece of a democratic republic?
The general and misleading questions in this "discussion packet" are far
from a farce. It stinks of the worst form of a lie: omission. They
denigrate the role of young adults as civic-minded decision makers. A
potentially healthy discussion is instead a healthy serving of fear and
falsehoods. This is a dangerous exercise that attempts to simplify and
sanitize the truth: at the expense of millions of young minds. During
these contentious times in our democracy where Muslims are grouped
together as "Islamofacists" and akin to the Nazis and high ranking
government officials hide facts and distort information: our citizens
are entitled to taste the truth. To enlist teachers to poison that
fountain of knowledge is beyond contempt. The shrill propaganda machine
of commercialized television only breeds more apathy, fear and bumper
Teachers, if you have received that letter from Scholastic, send it back
to Scholastic's CEO Richard Robinson and tell him you are ashamed of
Scholastic. Explain to your students that "good television" doesn't make
for good history. Contact Robert Iger (CEO of the Walt Disney Company
500 S. Buena Vista Street Burbank, CA 91521) and insist that ABC tell
the truth. Overt and calculated propaganda for any political cause has
no place on the airwaves or in our public schools. Teachers refuse to be
bamboozled, don't play into the fear game: teach facts. Your students
will only make our country stronger.
John F. Borowski, teacher of 26 years enlists citizens to fight the
corporate invasion of schools. His pieces have appeared in the NY Times,
UTNE Reader, CommonDreams.org and other sites, he may be reached at