Bill Clinton later appears briefly in the trailer -- surrounded by virtual fire and explosions (yes, that sounds so utterly cartoonish that I wish I was making that up. Watch it for yourself.)
But even more notable is that the "OFFICIAL TRUE STORY" promotional trailer just happens to revolve around one of the most controversial and libelous "fake" scenes of the movie: the scene in which a fictionalized CIA agent "finds" bin Laden, and Berger supposedly won't authorize the takedown. As many, many others have pointed out -- that scene is a fabrication on both sides. Never happened. But the advertisements of the movie sell it as one of the key scenes.
Why is that, exactly? Why, of all the history of 9/11 that could be told, were the most faked scenes the ones to be highlighted in the trailers, with "OFFICIAL TRUE STORY" tacked on?
Disney/ABC's stuttering statements aside, this advertisement and the others make it crystal clear. The fictionalized scenes weren't just accidental -- the movie was (and still is, apparently) being advertised based on them.
The chorus of outrage - ranging from Clinton cabinet members to liberal bloggers to 9/11 families to ordinary moms canceling trips to Disneyland - put ABC and parent company Disney under tremendous pressure just days before the movie's premiere.
First to go was a made-up scene showing Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger hanging up on CIA operatives who were moments away from killing Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. "You will not see that in that way in the final edition," Kean said.
The Clinton White House did scotch several opportunities to kill Al Qaeda's founder because intelligence was sketchy. But unlike in the film, the CIA was never steps away from Bin Laden, nor did Berger hang up on agents in the field, Kean admitted.
Understand that, since you just watched the clips of that very scene in the ABC trailer above -- it wasn't just that Berger was the one to stonewall a bin Laden hit -- neither side of that scene ever took place. So if Kean "admitted" that none of that every happened, will this false history of 9/11 be cut completely, or will the scene just be tinkered with to make sure Sandy Berger personally is not libeled, but the rest of the fiction remains intact? And what the hell, to put it mildly, was Kean thinking in allowing these "fictionalized" scenes to go forward, in direct conflict with actual facts?
I'm not sure Disney/ABC gets it, even today. This isn't about merely slandering two or three people. This is about rewriting 9/11 history, and selling it to the American people as "dramatization". There are a lot of things in history you can do that with, but not the terrorist attacks that wounded two American cities, killed thousands, and started still-ongoing wars. That's not "creative license" -- that's irresponsible and intentional political and cultural propaganda. As I said yesterday and will crassly quote again, there is more to this than simply making Berger or Albright or Clinton or the CIA or the FBI feel bad, this is about the core of recent American history and future American policy:
Making sure people understand the facts of 9/11, and not the fictionalizations and "imagined" truths, is defending the country.
We cannot fight an enemy if we do not understand who and where it is; we cannot learn from our mistakes if those mistakes are ignored in service of "more convenient" storylines, or inserted "balance" where the actual facts of history may not be "balanced".
An ignorant citizenry cannot make informed decisions. An ignorant democracy cannot function. To "fictionalize" the very lessons of the war on terror is a disservice to the country, to the people involved, to those that died, and to those that may yet die.
Some things don't need to be made into porn just because some conservative needs to feel better about themselves.
We have been lied to through convenient storylines long enough -- yesterday, the Senate finally released a report demonstrating that one of the fundamental underpinnings of the White House sales pitch for the Iraq War was simply a lie -- Saddam didn't "assist" bin Laden, he hated him. Iraq didn't "harbor" Zarqawi -- they made attempts to kill him.
Disney, enough. These attacks and these wars are not porn, to be distributed to the masses for a cheap buck or election season gimmick. This is our nation's recent and still-raw history, and you blew it, and any company with the integrity of a half-gutted fish would admit it and move on. For starters, you need to make a statement explaining why it is you felt that a "fictionalized" version of 9/11 based on a conservative script and conservative direction was a good idea. Then you need to explain why you sold the movie to the public based on the most sensationalistic and lie-riddled scenes. And you sure as hell need to start explaining on a more convincing level why you don't think either of those things is good enough a reason to pull it now.
Over two hundred thousand people, over the course of only a few days, signed just one of the petitions delivered to Disney/ABC requesting that they correct the movie entirely or pull it. (You can still sign it, here.) Disney, you owe them some answers, and you owe them now.
This isn't a game. This isn't going to go away. This is your Brand, now.