ABC defends propaganda film, but 'educational' partner moves to drop project

[Editor and Publisher staff]

ABC is rejecting criticism of an upcoming miniseries about the events leading to the 9/11 terror attacks, but Scholastic, which had agreed to widely distribute a companion guide to school, announced Thursday afternoon it had changed its mind.

A Scholastic statement read:

"Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, today announced that it is removing from its website the materials originally created for classroom use in conjunction with the ABC Television Network docudrama, 'The Path to 9/11,' scheduled to air on the ABC Television Network on September 10 and 11, 2006. A new classroom discussion guide for high school students is being created and will focus more specifically on media literacy, critical thinking, and historical background.

"'After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues,' said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic."

Some former Clinton administration officials have written a letter demanding that ABC correct the series, or pull it.

But in a statement, ABC says nobody has seen the final version, because it's still being edited. The statement says the criticisms are "premature and irresponsible." However, the network had considered the film final enough to distribute it to reviewers and some reviews have already appeared.

Among those who've written to the CEO of ABC's parent company are former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. They say the miniseries is "terribly wrong," and that it blames Clinton administration policies.

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