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Movies & Projection

The RNC poutrage over networks making Hilary Clinton movies is partly a reflection of conservative's own relentlessly biased approached to media, reflected in the 2006 ABC-TV movie "The Path to 9/11", which was produced by members of a cult.

Regardless of what you think about CNN and NBC doing Hillary Clinton bio-pics, or about the RNC appointing itself as media censor (as Susie discussed recently) there's one key point you should not lose sight of: once again, the right's actions are premised on projection. Projection is everywhere on the right, of course. David recently posted a particularly humorous example. But just because it's everywhere doesn't mean we stop pointing it out.

Here's a snippet of Politico's reporting:

In individual letters to CNN President Jeff Zucker and NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt, Priebus called the documentaries “a thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.”

“This special treatment is unfair to the candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2016 who might compete against Secretary Clinton ... and to the Republican nominee should Clinton compete in the general election,” Preibus wrote.

The RNC chairman cited executives and employees from both networks who have been “generous supporters” of Clinton and the Democrats.

“This suggests a deliberate attempt at influencing American political opinion in favor of a preferred candidate,” Priebus wrote. “I find this disturbing and disappointing."

What makes this a matter of projection is that Priebus simply assumes a dark propagandistic motive, if not a downright conspiracy, when nothing more than plain old-fashioned money-making, career advancement and like is probably involved. The RNC's actions are premised on the right's own profound paranoia, its persecution complex and its one-dimensional propandistic view of the media.

But the ultimate proof of how much projection is involved is the fact that a religious right cult—Youth With A Mission—was behind a 2006 ABC-TV election-season movie, The Path To 9/11 which was all about shifting the
blame for 9/11 onto the Clinton Administration, in the months leading up to the wave election of 2006. At the time, I wrote two longish pieces that are worth revisiting for illumination. First, on September 10, 2006, I dove deeply into the cultic elements of Youth With A Mission in a diary at Dkos, which made YWAM's involvement clear from the beginning:

The story behind how "The Path to 9/11" (PT911) came to be made is still quite murky, so the degree of influence various individuals and entities had is very much up in the air.  Nonetheless, it is certain that director David Cunningham had a lot of power--after all, directors usually do, and the producer's own statements indicate he took a rather hands-off approach.  

So who is the director, and what are the influences on him?  This is surely a complicated investigative question for anyone with so little previous public record.  But we do know this much:

(1) He's the son of Loren Cunningham, the founder of a very big missionary organization, Youth With A Mission (YWAM), 
(2) He founded an auxiliary of YWAM, The Film Institute (TFI) with the goal of  producing a "Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Television industry."
(3) PT911 is TFI's "first project."

In short, “The Path to 9/11” was exactly what the RNC is now claiming that the Clinton bio-pics will be. That diary is mostly about YWAM, and how profoundly its theology goes against traditional Christianity. I wrote a second piece for Random Lengths News, "The ABCs Of 9/11", more about the project as a whole, which began as follows:

It was supposed to be based on the bipartisan 9/11 Commission report, but it wasn’t. ABC/Disney dropped that claim before it aired. It was supposed to be historically accurate, but it wasn’t. ABC/Disney dropped that claim as well. And it was supposed to make ABC/Disney look good by putting this tragedy into a fair historical perspective, but it didn’t. Even ABC/Disney is hard pressed to pretend otherwise. 

Instead, the fictionalized docudrama, The Path to 9/11, (PT911) has become Disney’s PR nightmare, and could cost them millions in lawsuits. Some have suggested going after their broadcast licenses. In contrast, their corporate partner, Scholastic, Inc., has severed their relationship, dropped the original lesson plans it was going to distribute to high school teachers nationwide, and replaced them with a set including an emphasis on critical thinking and media literacy. It was far from being a balanced or unbiased look into the events leading up to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. 

Problems with PT911 were apparent more than a year ago when not one, but two former FBI agents refused to work as advisors on the project because of factual inaccuracies the producers refused to correct. Thomas E. Nicoletti, was hired by the film’s producers in July 2005, but left after less than a month because of scenes he called, “total fiction” in a Sep. 8 New York Times article. Dan Coleman, turned down the job in advance. 

“They sent me the script, and I read it and told them they had to be kidding,” Coleman told the Times. “I wanted my friends at the FBI to still speak to me.” 

So, just remember, that's what the RNC has in its head when it hears the words “Hillary Clinton bio-pic”.

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