Bloggers jaw about the disputed new ABC miniseries, The Path to 9/11. They also parse President Bush's speech on Guantanamo detainees and coo over Tom Cruise's bundle of joy.
Grill Bill: Clinton administration officials are fuming over ABC's upcoming Path to 9/11, claiming certain scenes are inaccurate or fabricated. The six-hour docudrama allegedly depicts White House National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bungling opportunities to capture Osama Bin Laden. Bloggers debate the limits of artistic license. Late this afternoon, the Los Angeles Times reported that ABC has edited the film in response to the complaints.
Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt's conservative blog argues that Clinton's failures don't need embellishing: "I'm especially uncomfortable with this controversy since it's so unnecessary. The record of the Clinton administration on terrorism is an embarrassment and a disgrace." Dan McLaughlin at RedState offers a lengthy critique of Clinton's terrorism record, pointing out that "his military aggressiveness tended to wane when he wasn't in extreme political/legal peril."
At free-market blog QandO, Dale Franks highlights a disputed scene in which an operation to capture Bin Laden is aborted and writes that ABC's "fake but accurate" standard isn't high enough: "Obviously, some dramatic license is necessary for storytelling purposes. But a film that purports to be a docu-drama—especially about such an important event—and that purports to tell the story of that event, has to make a clear distinction between forgivable artistic license and factual inaccuracy. In at least this scene, which is the one that's primarily causing the uproar, that distinction was blurred."
Several conservative pundits, including Rush Limbaugh, have already seen the film, while ABC has withheld the tape from their liberal counterparts. Greg Sargent at TPM Café reports that "Clinton's office … requested a copy of the tape, but it was denied." Cartoonist/blogger Tom Tomorrow at This Modern World knocks what he considers the network's right-wing sympathies: "This is the same network that was going to let Mel Gibson helm a project about the Holocaust, until his anti-Semitism could no longer be politely overlooked. What the hell is going on over at ABC?"
Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice likens this film to CBS's canned Ronald Reagan docudrama from 2003, only this time it's the Democrats trying to pull the plug. Without actually using the word "hypocrisy," Gandelman points out that "conservatives INSISTED on accuracy and not cheap political shots in the Reagan documentary and blasted those who had taken liberty with what they said were the facts. But it's election year now."
Read more about The Path to 9/11.
Terrorists on trial: President Bush announced Wednesday that the United States would transfer the remaining terrorism suspects in CIA custody, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, from foreign prisons to Guantanamo Bay, where they will await trial under new rules Bush sent to Congress. Bloggers tip their hats, in some cases grudgingly.
Mario Loyola at National Review Online's The Corner calls the speech one of Bush's best political maneuvers yet: "By transferring most major Al Qaeda terrorists to Guantanamo, and simultaneously sending Congress a bill to rescue the Military Commissions from the Supreme Court's ruling Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the President spectacularly ambushed the Democrats on terrain they fondly thought their own. Now Democrats who oppose (and who have vociferously opposed) the Military Commissions will in effect be opposing the prosecution of the terrorists who planned and launched the attacks of September 11 for war crimes."
Larry Johnson at BooMan Tribune, congratulates the president—"a great propagandist"—for finally taking some responsibility: "Bush at least fessed up that he was witting of the secret prisons. This is good because at least the CIA won't be fingered as the rogue elephant who took it upon itself to torture muslim prisoners. That was a decsion made at the highest levels by political officials."
Wonkette provides a handy recap of Bush's remarks: "Terror, Iraq, Terror, Bad People … and oh, by the way, all those secret CIA prisons where U.S.goons torture people? The ones we always denied even existed? Well, uh, yeah, they all exist."
TomKitten: This month's Vanity Fair includes a 22-page Annie Leibovitz photo spread of Tom Cruise, fiancee Katie Holmes, and their daughter, Suri. After months of mystery surrounding the child's whereabouts, bloggers ogle.
Apexad is glad to see all that controversy dispelled: "I was one of many who had my doubts that the baby really existed, or was really Katie and Tom's, but I'm convinced now."
But plenty of bloggers are still suspicious. "There is just something slightly off about the child," writes greenmelinda at Boston-based Daily Slag. "I mean, it appears to be a normal healthy baby (I have never purported to be a medical expert), but if it truly is the spawn of Tom Cruise, something must be not right?" The DarkHat suspects possible Photoshopping: "I'm not sure what Japanese orphanage they stole this Suri kid from, but there's no way that kid even looks real. You can plop a wig on the top of a cucumber, but it doesn't make it human."
Gossip blogger Janet Charlton mongers a rumor or two, namely that the child belongs to former Holmes beau Chris Klein: "She started dating Tom in April, 2005, and according to this tale, when Tom found out she was expecting, he not only didn't MIND , but he insisted on taking credit for the pregnancy. They abruptly got engaged in June 2005. Since the baby was scheduled to be born too soon into their relationship, Tom and Katie faked the birth date." (Meanwhile, TMZ obtained a copy of Suri's birth certificate.)
Read more on Suri.