“Our intentions were never political in any way,” “The Path to 9/11” executive producer Marc Platt says about the ABC miniseries that caused a media firestorm when it premiered last September.
Despite the exec’s best intentions, the five-hour, commercial-free mini, derived in part from the Sept. 11 Commission Report, drew a slew of politically oriented criticism.
Clinton administration officials charged pic’s production team with fabricating scenes about actions prior to the terrorist attacks and called for the network to pull the miniseries before it aired.
The Clinton Foundation even issued a statement saying the film was “factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate,” while the Democratic National Committee sent a mass email denouncing “The Path to 9/11” as a “despicable, irresponsible fraud.”
ABC ended up cutting and changing several scenes from the estimated $30 million mini and aired disclaimers that called the film a dramatization, not a documentary.
“The controversy was somewhat unexpected, quite frankly,” Platt says. “I think all of us had the same intention, which was to dramatize in a way that was accessible to the public the material that occurred from the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 to the horrific moments of Sept. 11, and to understand what things we all did wrong and what things we would like to do better in the future in terms of protecting ourselves, the citizens of our country and those around the world.”
While the film garnered some praise and drew roughly 13 million viewers, speculation continued for several months over whether ABC should have run the mini or should have passed it off to a cable net, similar to what CBS did in 2003 when “The Reagans” garnered pre-airdate controversy and moved it over to Showtime.
However, Platt says he was impressed with the net’s commitment to the film.
“(The story we were telling) was an important part of our history. It was a very ambitious piece of filmmaking, and I was really impressed that a network would undertake that both in terms of the scope and size. Their intentions were to do something for the greater good.”