Patterico's Pontifications


So Who Really Did Get Advance Copies of “Path to 9/11”?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:59 am

I need your help with something. The Democrats have themselves in a tizzy because they are convinced that Disney and ABC sent copies of “Path to 9/11” exclusively to wild-eyed conservatives.

For all I know, this is true. But I’m wondering if it may be entirely a myth — explainable by the fact that it was marketed to talk radio.

There has been plenty of misinformation on this topic, and a lot of it has swirled around Justin, and a misunderstanding of his connections to talk radio. We heard (from folks like Glenn Greenwald) that he got a copy because he is a guest blogger on my obscure blog, with its tiny audience. Then, when that turned out to be untrue, they said it’s because he works for a conservative talk-radio host. Then, when that turned out to be untrue, they said he works at a talk-radio station that broadcasts mostly conservatives.

In other words, one that makes money.

I’m trying to get to the facts. From what little I know, many of these actual facts seem inconsistent with the theory that “only conservatives” got advance copies.

For example, my commenter Loafing Oaf says:

I watched Bill Maher’s show tonight and he had a lefty editor from on who had rec[ei]ved a screener copy. So…another Greenwald theory doesn’t hold up in court.

(My emphasis.)

I have heard that, as you would expect, major newspapers and magazines have been reviewing advance copies. Wild-eyed conservative publications like TIME, and the New York Times.

To me, it sounds like virtually all of the complaints I have heard are explainable by Disney and ABC choosing to market the film to talk radio. In other words, in many cases where Democrats complain that “x got a copy and y didn’t” . . . you’ll find that x has connections to talk-radio, and y doesn’t. For example: “Rush Limbaugh got a copy, and Bill Clinton didn’t.”

Because I haven’t been all over the blogosphere in the past few days reading about this, I could be wrong, so I’m soliciting your input. I’m putting most of this in the form of questions, which compares apples to apples, rather than comparing apples to people in talk radio.

Maybe you folks have the answers to my questions. Let’s gather information on this, with links to hard news and not questionable liberal blogs — like Think Progress, FireDogLake, and Greenwald, who spread the myth that my guest blogger got his copy because he is a conservative blogger. I don’t trust anything they say. Keep that in mind.

And if the truth really is that only conservatives (and Salon, and TIME, and the New York Times) got a copy — that’s fine. The facts are the facts.

Here are my questions:

Democrats complain that ex-President Clinton didn’t get a copy. Did current President Bush? His Administration is apparently portrayed in the movie as having dropped the ball.

Democrats complain that Sandy Berger didn’t get a copy. Did Condoleeza Rice? She is apparently portrayed badly in the movie. Did Dick Clarke? He’s apparently a hero.

Democrats complain that Kos didn’t get a copy. Is anyone familiar with a conservative blogger who is not in radio who was sent a copy by Disney/ABC publicists?

(Again, I’m not making claims here; I’m just asking a question. Since Greenwald fans are reading the blog today, it’s a guarantee that his sycophants will misread this and claim that I am a “liar” because I am “claiming” that right-wing bloggers haven’t gotten copies — if it turns out that some did. Message to the Greenwaldites: I’m not making any claims. I haven’t done much blog reading lately, so if there are such bloggers, don’t call me a “liar” — just tell me who they are, with links, and not links to lefty sites.)

I just went to Instapundit’s site and did a control-F search for the term “9/11.” I didn’t see anything that indicates he has been sent a copy of the movie. [UPDATE: I e-mailed Glenn to ask if he did, and he confirms he didn’t — unless one arrived at his office on Friday.] I did the same thing at Power Line and got the same result. [UPDATE: Hinderaker e-mails to say he didn’t get a copy either.] Maybe these blogs have posted something that indicates they got a copy. If they have, tell me. [UPDATE: A review of Malkin’s site doesn’t reveal that she got a copy either.]

Hugh Hewitt apparently got a copy, but he’s in radio. Numerous Democrat sites pointed to my blog as having received a copy, but my guest blogger is in radio. He’s a producer for a highly-rated talk-radio host, and borrowed a copy sent to that show.

Conservative blogger Ace of Spades had to phone my guest blogger Justin to ask him about scenes in the movie. I know this because Ace e-mailed me to get Justin’s phone number. Because Ace didn’t get a copy.

Red State appears to have a copy, but I don’t know how they got it. Liberal blogger John Aravosis has a copy, but I don’t know how he got it either.

Democrats complain that Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart didn’t get a copy. Who would be a parallel conservative on television for conservatives? Brit Hume? Did he get a copy? Has anyone asked?

It seems clear that people in talk radio got a copy. Rush Limbaugh got a copy. [UPDATE: I got suckered on that by the lefties; a commenter says he did not get a copy from ABC.] Bill Handel, my guest blogger’s boss, got a copy. He is hardly a doctrinaire conservative.

Ah, Democrats say, but he works at a conservative radio station. So? We have a talk radio station that runs mostly conservatives. I wonder why that is. Maybe it wants to make money?

The one thing I’ve heard that sounds odd to me is that Alan Colmes reportedly didn’t get a copy. I don’t know whether that’s true or not. I have read it on sites I don’t trust, like Greenwald’s and Think Progress. Also, I know Colmes is in radio, but I don’t know when (morning or evening), the extent of his audience, or the source of the information that he didn’t get a copy. If this turns out to be correct, maybe someone can contact the publicists and ask them.

Let the distributed power of the Web shine. Go to work and tell me what you find. Who got advance copies of “Path to 9/11”?

Whatever the facts are, let ’em roll. Because it’s all about the accuracy. Isn’t that what the Democrats say about the movie itself?

UPDATE: In trying to look into this issue, I ran across Glenn Greenwald’s post from yesterday, which implies that liberal blogs like FireDogLake asked for a copy and were refused:

According to Hewitt, it was audience size which determined who received screeners, not ideology. Currently, the average number of visitors to Hewitt’s blog is 41,000. Firedoglake has 50% more; blogs such as Crooks & Liars and Atrios have almost triple Hewitt’s audience; and the readership of DailyKos is ten times larger than Hewitt’s. If one were using audience size as the determining factor for which bloggers received screeners, Hewitt would still be waiting for his. But he was one of the first to receive a copy, while others with larger audience (measured in the tens of thousands, not the “tens”) were expressly refused.

The “expressly refused” link is to a FireDogLake post. Did FireDogLake ask for a copy and get “expressly refused,” as Greenwald’s link implies? Hard to say, based upon the post by Jennifer Nix:

The folks at Think Progress and Eschaton are reporting that ABC is not only refusing to provide advance copies of “The Path to 9/11” mini-series to progressive bloggers like yours truly, but to–jaw drop–President Clinton , Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright.

What does “progressive bloggers like yours truly” mean? Did Nix ask for a copy and get refused? I don’t know. Maybe she did and just doesn’t say so clearly in this post — or maybe she just means that, per Think Progress (already shown by me to be inaccurate), lefty bloggers in general aren’t getting copies.

Well, as I show above, Instapundit didn’t get a copy. John Hinderaker didn’t get a copy. Talk radio people did.

UPDATE x2: Commenter Paul G. says:

I’ve heard Rush Limbaugh state several times that the copy he received DID NOT come from ABC, and he still has not gotten a copy from them. Many of the left have been using him in particular as an example of one the of “conservative talk show hosts who was sent an advance copy by ABC.”

Actually, Limbaugh said that he was invited and attended a prescreening in Washington, D.C. in which the audience was roughly 50-50, conservatives and liberals.

The picture clarifies further the more facts you get. Thanks, Paul.

25 Responses to “So Who Really Did Get Advance Copies of “Path to 9/11”?”

  1. Patterico

    Alan Colmes does a late-night show on WWRL 1600 in New York city. WWRL is the new Air America affiliate. Colmes show is on at 11 pm, when WWRL is broadcasting at only 5,000 watts.

    At this time, the station itself doesn’t even make the Arbitron ratings chart.

    The top-rated Talk station in the NY market is WABC (which has Rush at noon)… and the drive-time show is Curtis and Kuby, a conservative v liberal show. It would be interesting to know if they got a screening copy.

    It would appear … IF Colmes didn’t get a copy … based on market share..yet again.

    Darleen (03346c)

  2. I need someone to explain how getting an advance copy would change the facts portrayed in the movie? The standard leftist complaints about involvement of conservatives negating facts simply dont play well for any who count intellectual honsety among their virtues.

    Doug Book (8585ea)

  3. Check the updates. Instapundit and John Hinderaker did not get copies.

    Patterico (de0616)

  4. Our underappreciated visitor of yestereve, Charles Giacometti, is apparently a career troll:

    Dan Collins (599259)

  5. […] UPDATE x6: I e-mailed Glenn Reynolds and John Hinderaker to ask them if they received advance copies. Both said “no.” I’m beginning to think this lefty idea that the publicists targeted only conservatives is a myth. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Greenwald Makes Wild and Untrue Allegations About “Path to 9/11″ (421107)

  6. Even though ABC (Altered By Clinton) has caved and has edited the documentary, there are enough of the pristine copies floating around that will eventually make it to our computers.

    Trickish Knave (95aa7c)

  7. I have three questions. Why isn’t Murtha in a nursing home? Why didn.t T.Kennedy ever go to jail? Why does B. Clinton walk around with his mouth hanging open all the time?

    Patricia Long (772096)

  8. Even though ABC (Altered By Clinton) has caved and has edited the documentary, there are enough of the pristine copies floating around that will eventually make it to our computers.

    Let’s hope so. Can you imagine the damage to ABC’s reputation if copies of the original show extremely slanted editing to “protect” Slick’s reputation (such as it is)? I’d love to see it.

    ABC — “Altered By Clinton”
    CBS — “See BS”
    NBC — “???” — haven’t seen one for them.
    CNN — “Clinton News Network”

    I suspect Paterico is correct that bloggers didn’t receive advance copies. Hewitt would be an exception as he is also in talk radio. I don’t think the blogosphere is quite “there” in the radar of the entertainment media. But talk radio certainly is.

    Anybody know if the kooks at “DeadAir America” got copies?

    Bill M (d9e4b2)

  9. Patterico:

    This is a losing proposition that you’re putting forth.

    FIRST, the Left has never accepted the idea that the mainstream media tends liberal. Thus, if Time and the NYT got advance copies would probably be viewed as supporting the idea that only the right-wing got advance copies. (Remember, the NYT reported on Whitewater, ergo, they’re conservative.)

    SECOND, the Left has relatively few major outlets (I tend to put the NYT and other newspapers in the liberal, rather than Left, category). More to the point, there are few media outlets that the Left would categorize as “left.” Thus, unless Mother Jones, the Utne Reader, and the Nation magazine got advance copies, again, only conservatives got previews. QED. (Never mind that the circulation of most such magazines and journals is quite low.)

    THIRD, whether Instapundit got copies is irrelevant to the Left. So long as the Left’s bloggers (think Kos, Duncan Black, Oliver Willis) were not part of the content analysis review group at the time of the making of the miniseries, then the Left has been shut out of the process.

    It’s a ratchet—the system can only tend liberal. Any attempt to alter things back towards conservative is, by definition, illegitimate. “Double standard” is proudly accepted, like “fake, but accurate.”

    Lurking Observer (6746e5)

  10. Lurking–
    I don’t think that Patterico’s so foolish as to attempt to convince them. He merely wishes to answer the charge for the benefit of those who are reasonable, and thus susceptible to suasion via evidence. He’s seen enough Greenwald trolls to know that they don’t care about the evidence: it’s about the entertainment value.

    Dan Collins (599259)

  11. Patterico, just because talk show hosts are speaking in detail about the show doesn’t mean they have a copy of it nor does it mean ABC sent them one.

    I’ve heard Rush Limbaugh state several times that the copy he received DID NOT come from ABC, and he still has not gotten a copy from them. Many of the left have been using him in particular as an example of one the of “conservative talk show hosts who was sent an advance copy by ABC.”

    Actually, Limbaugh said that he was invited and attended a prescreening in Washington, D.C. in which the audience was roughly 50-50, conservatives and liberals. He said that the audience was comprised of various media, politicians, government officials, and others.

    It would be interesting to know how many of talk show hosts that are speaking of “The Path to 9/11” went to a screening like this one. My feeling is that there are many lefties who are wrongfully and inaccurately assuming that these conservaties have a copy of the series. Perhaps they simply attended a screening.

    Paul G. (51e37b)

  12. LO:

    I think even the “left” would consider a lefty publication. Joan Walsh, their editor, has seen the film (and claims that it’s horribly biased in favor of the Bush administration, for whatever that’s worth).

    Adam (40d1a3)

  13. Adam, that’s just another right-wing dirty trick: give a copy to the Salon guy, so he can make the predictable claim that it was biased against the Bush Administration, when everyone knows he was going to say that anyway so no one will actually believe him. Check your Rove playbook; it’s in there somewhere.

    Xrlq (1f259f)

  14. I guess I hadn’t looked hard enough for it. Is it on the page right after, give it to “obscure” right wing blogger/conservative radio producer? I guess I need to spend more time with my Official Karl Rove Playbook.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  15. I’ve got “Make Dem Senate leadership act like shit flinging monkeys” on page 73, 2nd paragraph. It should be in the same section, shouldn’t it? Somewhere right around “Get former Dem president to mess his pants in public”…

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  16. I need someone to explain how getting an advance copy would change the facts portrayed in the movie?

    Did ABC do some last minute edits to put facts into the movie? Is there a scene of Bush clearing brush while Al Qaeda does last minute planning of 9-11? Or a scene where Repub politicians use their laser-like focus to discuss Clinton’s schlong instead of Osama? Or a scene where W says that he just doesn’t care about catching Osama?

    That would be nice.

    Y.G. Brown (6a637c)

  17. Republicans didn’t worry about Clinton’s schlong. Clinton worried about Clinton’s schlong to the eternal regret of everyone in the World Trade Center that fateful morning.

    Actual (56c5d1)

  18. I heard the Producer (I forget his name) on either Medved or Hewitt say that “ABC sent 900 copies out” to various people, that he himself did not know who. The Executive producer (name I also don’t remember) is a card carrying, money-donating Democrat.
    The screening in Washington that was mentioned was only for part 1 out of time considerations, reportedly, and it was this that ben Veniste (spelling?) saw and flipped out on (which was not yet up to the point where the Bush administration doesn’t look very good either-especially Condi Rice).
    BTW, President (as in current) Bush did not get a copy either, reportedly, nor had anyone reviewed it as of Friday PM, apparently they had more important things to do.
    As I heard it explained, being a “docudrama”, supposedly everything in it is “essentially true”, but some things not point by point exact. For example, the one scene where Sandy Berger is telling the CIA folks to scrap the plan to nab Bin Laden “never happened” according to Berger, et al. The producer said, yes, that scene never happened in exact detail, but in essence it is the truth that on more than one occasion there was the opportunity to grab Bin Laden but they didn’t. One commentator was heard to say, “Fine, scrap that scene and replace it with one of Sandy Berger stuffing papers in his clothes at the National Archives.”

    The majority of comments I have heard about it (from those that saw it all) is that you are reminded very well of how bad the enemy is and that no one in the US government was on the ball. Which is not good if you want to blame it all on President Bush and Company.

    While Gov. Kean is a Republican, I never thought of him as a Right-spectrum conservative religious type, and he was the co-chair of the 9/11 commission that was reportedly quite involved in “keepin things accurate”.

    As said above by others, those who think the war in Afghanistan was about gas profits to Bush through the Skull and Bones network won’t be satisfied, but hey, I voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980 and I’m writing this post.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  19. Boy, this is confusing.

    Where’s Actus to help clear things up?

    The guy’s never around when we really need him.


    SteveMG (b96bba)

  20. I heard they wanted to do the Lewinski blowjob scene, but they couldn’t find anyone sufficiently Lewinskiesque to do it whom they felt wouldn’t turn off the audience, so in the interest of accuracy they cut it.

    Dan Collins (599259)

  21. I don’t know what they removed but it came out to over 30 minutes by most estimates. Anyway it was enough that I didn’t bother to unlock ABC so anyone could watch what is now and forever another Clinton fantasy story. By the end of the movie he probably won WWI and WWII all by himself.

    Scrapiron (9f37aa)

  22. Nah- the film(at least part 1) pretty much crucifies Berger and the Clinton Admin….even the edits aren’t enough to show how often and how horribly the ball was dropped. The scene with the agent screaming at Tenant and Berger is especially affecting and damning.

    Shawn Carter (7a6308)

  23. Uhm … Shawn … come out from under your rock. That scene was pure fantasy. It didn’t happen … well, except in the fevered and twisted dreams of rightwing nutjobs.

    But that seems to be what passes for truth around here.

    Macswain (2aadc0)

  24. I don’t believe Red State got a copy. (I’m not privvy to all the details, but I am a Contributing Editor at RS). We got clips credited to the Traditional Values Coalition. I’m not sure where they got them.

    Crank (3fed2a)

  25. Macswain-

    Were you there?
    Whether it happened or not as described, John O’Neill did get fed up with the BS and quit to take the security post at the WTC.
    If it didn’t happen, I’m sure more than one person felt like it.
    I don’t know if you have seen it all by now or not, but the way Richard Clarke appears a near-hero it wasn’t much of a “rightwing nutjob” perspective.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

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