J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Publishing Jumps on the Bandwagon, Attacks the Path to 9-11

If a major publisher pulled promotional materials for fear of offending conservative bloggers, Publisher’s Weekly (book publishing’s trade journal) could be counted on for outraged cries of censorship. Today, PW Daily celebrates Scholastic for replacing a viewer’s guide for The Path to 9-11, with in their words: “an alternative guide that, appropriately (if ironically), deals with issues of media literacy.” PW's recap of the controversy essential boils down the DNC’s talking points:

“While ABC was taking a drubbing in the blogosphere for its upcoming miniseries about the events leading up to September 11, Scholastic was apparently hard at work recasting its association with the docudrama. After The Path to 9/11 generated an outcry from liberal bloggers and then, yesterday, Bill Clinton publicly condemned the series for historical inaccuracies—the crux of the left wing's anger stems from fictional scenes that lay blame for the attacks on the Clinton's administration.”

PW declined to mention any of positive reviews generated by the other side of the blogosphere, letting the controversial contentions of wholesale inaccuracies stand as established truth. Instead PW characterizes the reaction as monolithically negative. Unfortunately, I never saw the offending viewers’ guide before Scholastic yanked late last night (good news: Riehl World has it here). Its replacement is clearly intended to undermine the credibility of Path to 9-11, with leading discussion points like:

"What are the matters of dispute in the docudrama? What are the scenes that were altered or did not happen? How do these scenes affect your understanding? Are the changes part of an effort by the producers to shape your beliefs about these events? In your view, is this an appropriate way to treat an event such as this?"

This is my industry, ever loyal to Bill Clinton, willing to attack any who question his legacy. This is par for the course for PW, but remember Scholastic’s actions here when you’re about to plunk down $30 for the next Harry Potter. Better yet, wait for the mass market.