Among the nearly two dozen television DVDs slated for nationwide release on Sept. 11 is the second season of "Bones," the third season of "Grey's Anatomy" and the miniseries "The Starter Wife" that aired earlier this year. Not on the list on that day or any other in the near future is last year's highly controversial "The Path to 9/11."Like most everyone else, I blogged about the "Path to 9/11" controversy last year (here and here). I thought the miniseries was excellent - I liked the gritty portrayals of the top policymakers in the show, and I liked how the docudrama covered the run-up to the attacks in an objective way.
The $40-million, five-hour ABC miniseries, which recently received seven Emmy nominations and drew a combined two-night audience of more than 25 million viewers, is for now on the path to nowhere. Its Amazon page reads: "Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock."
With no date for the release, questions are being raised about whether political pressure is behind its current status as a stalled or discarded DVD project. The reasons are murky, but the miniseries' writer, Cyrus Nowrasteh, believes it's crystal clear: Powerful forces are out to protect Bill Clinton's presidential legacy and shield Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) from any potential collateral damage in her bid for the White House.
Nowrasteh, also one of the miniseries' many producers, said he was told by a top executive at ABC Studios that "if Hillary weren't running for president, this wouldn't be a problem."
"Whatever anyone may think about me or this movie, this is a bad precedent, a dangerous precedent, to allow a movie to be buried," added Nowrasteh, who received death threats even before the miniseries was broadcast last September. "Because the next time they'll go after another movie. The Bush administration may go after a movie. The next administration may go after a movie. No matter who it is, they may go after a movie. I think this town needs to stand up."
Even before "The Path to 9/11" aired on ABC late last summer, the docudrama ignited a political firestorm, almost entirely from high-profile Democratic leaders who viewed its account of events leading up to the terrorist attacks as a right-wing hatchet job on the Clinton administration and its efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Attempts to pressure ABC to cancel the miniseries at the time were unsuccessful, but last-minute network edits were imposed to quell the critical outcry.
An ABC spokeswoman reached Tuesday would say only that the company "has no release date at this time," and she declined to comment further.
Meanwhile, Sen. Clinton's campaign staff did not return an e-mail or a phone call seeking comment.
But this report on Nowasteh's allegations of a vast left-wing conspiracy is hard to swallow. There may be something to it, but read the rest of the Times story. Not every feature film or documentary makes it to DVD. There could be a number of other factors holding up the release of Nowasteh's baby.
Hat tip: Memeorandum.