The ABC 9/11 Fiction and Control of the Political Agenda
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
Sept. 11, 2006
In an editorial on September 9, 2006, BuzzFlash noted that: "Lost in the uproar over ABC subcontracting 9/11 over to right wing extremists is the smoking gun conclusion of a Republican/Democratic Senate report that says Saddam had no connection to al-Qaeda -- and that, indeed, he went to great lengths to keep them out of Iraq. That means Bush and Cheney are responsible for opening up Iraq to al-Qaeda -- and that they lied and lied again." On the same day, BuzzFlash also observed: "Who Does the Writer/Producer of the Infamous ABC ‘Path to 9/11' Fiction Mini-Series Give His Major Interview to? Radical Wing nut David Horowitz's Publication, That's Who. In it, the Writer/Director Heaps Praise on Bush, Scorns Clinton, Praises the Patriot Act, scurrilously attacks the film ‘Syriana,' and so on."
On Sept. 10, BuzzFlash published a lengthy scenario postulating first that the planning for the so-called "Docu"drama on the lead-up to 9/11 began in Karl Rove's office, and setting out a scenario for just how Rove might have put his plan into practice. That editorial began: "Let's consider the strong possibility that last year Rove or an emissary met with the head of Disney. Rove knew that reality was running 180 degrees away from the rhetoric of the Bush/Cheney script for the ‘War on Terrorism.' He needed fantasy to help reinforce a fictional narrative that the Bush Administration was and is peddling as fact. . . . So, Rove was already planning the 2006 fall campaign season and he had his eye - as he does every election year - on vigorously exploiting 9/11 for political gain."
What is Rove's number one tactic (other than outright electoral theft, of which, according to some, he is an expert practitioner)? Taking control of the agenda. Bush is in political trouble, more of it than ever. The list of his crimes, failures, and achievements that go against the best interests of our nation and most of our people is well-known to readers of BuzzFlash. So, Karl, what to do? It is not simply a matter of making up stories about Bush and his "greatness." No, you have to do what you usually do with such great effectiveness: completely change the agenda to get the focus off Bush and onto something else. In 2004 it was onto a fiction about Kerry's Vietnam War record. Other examples abound: on Iraq and what is really happening, on Katrina and what really happened, on global warming and what really needs to be done to deal with it.
But to what should it be changed now? With 9/11 coming, let's focus on Bush's best moment, no? Well, not really, in fact he has had none. But his devoted followers think it was and right now, with his poll numbers in the pits, that's all that counts. So the first thought would be let's do a re-run of Bush and 9/11 and all will be well in the land of the Georgites. Well, not really, but at least we'll get a little respite.
But hold on. There are problems there too. 9/11 occurred on Bush's watch. Sandy Berger, Clinton's National Security Advisor warned Rice that al-Qaeda was the number one security threat faced by the United States. Rice ignored him. Richard Clarke tried to warn Bush of the al-Qaeda menace on his first day in office and Bush ignored him. The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief, the myriad FBI warnings about students at flight schools interested only in flying, not in either how you get up in the air in a plane or back down on the ground with it in one piece, the Dept. of Defense mess-ups on 9/11, what the 9/11 Truth Movement continues to find out about what really happened in the run-up to the tragedy and on the day itself. And so on and so forth.
Thus, for this Fifth Anniversary and on the day itself, another Bush posturing effort might just not do the trick. The agenda of Bush-as-hero, Bush-in-command, Bush saving-the-nation, Bush-keeping-it-safe, the-war-on-Iraq-is-just-the-ticket, just might not work. And so what to do? One thing that might work, Rove likely thought some time ago, would be to shift the focus to the Clintons. By golly, that would be good for now and good for 2008 too. And so they did it. Just think about it for a moment. What is so much of the uproar, on our side of the verbal battles as well as theirs, about? Is it about Bush and the Georgites and what they did and did not do? Why no. It's about Clinton and the Clintonites and what they did and did not do. With the uproar about the Disney fiction about the role of the Clintonites list, the truth of the Georgite crimes just gets lost. Another winner for Rove. He has changed the agenda once again, from Georgite incompetence-to-criminality to "let's blame it all on the Clintons." That gets the whole political argument off the multiple disasters that have occurred on Bush's watch onto "yes-you-did, no-I-didn't, yes-you-did," about the Clintonites.
Unless the wheels completely fall off the Georgite juggernaut due to the arrival of some deus ex machina or the discovery of an incontrovertible smoking gun in the hands of Bush and the Georgites, if the Democrats don't learn the lesson of agenda control, they will never win another election, including the upcoming one.
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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) a weekly Contributing Author for The Political Junkies (www.thepoliticaljunkies.net) and a Columnist for BuzzFlash.