« Here come the attack dogs | Main | New campaign meme: "Vote Republican or DIE" »

Politicizing 9/11

By now, you've probably heard of the ABC/Disney miniseries The Path to 9/11, set to air on ABC stations Sunday and Monday nights. The WaPo's "style columnist" Tom Shales describes it thusly:

Factually shaky, politically inflammatory and photographically a mess, "The Path to 9/11" -- ABC's two-part, five-hour miniseries tracing events leading up to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- has something not just to offend everyone but also to depress them.

Though it claims to be "based on the report of the 9/11 Commission," the miniseries has been criticized by members of that same commission for its inaccuracies and falsifications. Many questions have been raised about the accuracy of this film, and they are summarized here. Basically, critics allege that the film attempts to use the 5th anniversary of 9/11 for political gain by disproportionately blaming the Clinton administration for the government's failure to stop the plot. It was produced by conservative evangelical activists, and it was marketed and shown to conservative talk-show hosts and bloggers at the same time members of the Clinton administration were denied opportunities to view the film. Key scenes in the film were completely made up for "dramatic effect." href="http://thinkprogress.org/">ThinkProgress has been on top of this story all along; read their archive for all the dirt.

So who's broadcasting this piece of junk? ABC, now a subsidiary of Disney. The ABC affiliate in the Twin Cities, broadcast across the Sixth District, is KSTP Channel 5. The station is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, and according to KSTP's website, the station is still planning on broadcasting the controversial show.

A message posted to the DFL SD59 message board:

I spoke with an aide to the Hubbard family regarding Hubbard Broadcasting Company's projected airing of ABC's "Pathway to 9/11." The Hubbard aide indicated that all 241 ABC affiliates will likely air the program. He also indicated that KSTP may place a statement at the beginning or end of the program to indicate that the views of the program do not necessarily reflect the view of KSTP's management.

I called 5TV-NEWS (612-588-6397) and asked to speak to Mr. Hubbard's office
with my concern. If you call, please ask for Mr. Stanley Hubbard's office.

They appeared interested and amenable to presenting a caveat. Please ask
them to present a caveat.

How does this relate to Michele Bachmann? Dump Bachmann alerts us that Bachmann held a press conference yesterday to politicize 9/11:

5th Anniversary of 9-11 Michele Bachmann and Congressional Intelligence Chair Pete Hoekstra Will Provide an Overview on the War on Terror and Intelligence Legislation. Woodbury, MN – Michele Bachmann, Congressional Candidate for Minnesota’s 6th District and Congressman Pete Hoekstra (MI-02), will provide an overview on the War on Terror and Intelligence Legislation. Pete is the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In this role, he leads Congressional oversight issues relating to the U.S. Intelligence Community as the United States defends itself in a global war on terror.

There are no reports available from the press conference, but that name Pete Hoekstra sure rings a bell... hmm... Pete Hoekstra... is he the guy who was still claiming as recently as June that the U.S. did, indeed, find WMD's in Iraq? Does Bachmann believe this stuff, too?

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Bachmann is politicizing 9/11 for political gain, and her campaign stands to benefit from the lies contained in the ABC "docudrama." Is there any further connection?

Take a look at the evidence, in the form of FEC reports. Hubbard Broadcasting, owner of KSTP, is one of Bachmann's most generous supporters.

Here's a list of the Hubbard-related donations Bachmann has accumulated.

Bachmann for Congress
$250 on 8/3/06 from Gerald Deeney, listed as a Hubbard Broadcasting executive.
$4200 total from Karen Hubbard, listed as a Hubbard board member.
$1500 total from Stanley Hubbard, listed as Hubbard's Vice President.
$500 on 8/2/06 from Kathryn Rominski-Hubbard, listed as a board member.

Bachmann Minnesota Victory Committee
Another $5000 from Karen Hubbard.

Stanley Hubbard has also given at least $1,000 to ERICPAC (Every Republican Is Crucial), which has given money
to Bachmann
. There may be other links through the web of contributions to PACs, Funds, etc. from the Hubbards to Bachmann.

So not only is Bachmann benefiting from the Hubbards' fiscal generosity, her campaign also stands to profit when they air this program. It should be noted that ABC plans to run the program without commercial interruption. Let me repeat that: there are no commercial sponsors for this program. No one is paying their bills. So they're basically taking a $40 million hit to air propaganda in hopes of influencing an election. Hubbard, presumably, is also taking a hit, in the form of lost ad revenues and costs associated with broadcasting the show.

Draw your own conclusions. Patty Wetterling is up against a lot of powerful forces in this campaign.

[UPDATE]: Minnesota Monitor has more on KSTP and the "Path to 9/11." KSTP's response to questioning:

[A]s the ABC affiliate, Channel 5 broadcasts ABC network programming but does not determine the content of it. We are the only locally-owned television station serving the Twin Cities, and hope that you will judge ABC network offerings separately from Channel 5's own local news and public affairs programming... We also suggest that you make your opinion known to the originator of the program: ABCNEWS.

But should we judge the politics of the station's owners differently from the politics of ABC and their bosses at Disney? Whether or not the folks at Hubbard Broadcasting had anything to do with the content of the program or whether they have any control over what they show, they seem to have the same political agenda.