Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

ABC's AA Slander: President Clinton and his former aides Sandy Berger and Madeline Albright are not the only ones to suffer at the hand of ABC’s “drama-ganda” about the run up to 9-11. American Airlines might also want to get its public relations people—and its litigators—ready to refute the show’s specious claims.

In an early scene, Mohammad Atta, the suicide pilot of one of the 9-11 planes, is seen at an American Airlines ticket counter. Warning lights flash on the screen and, according to one blogger who has seen the movie, “The AA employee called a supervisor who kind of shrugged and said, blithely, just let him through. The first employee, shocked, turned to her supervisor and said, shouldn’t we search him? The American Airlines supervisor responds, nah, just hold his luggage until he boards the plane.”

The only problem is that the incident in the 9-11 report on which that scene is based is different from the movie in several key respects: it happened at the airport in Portland, Me., not Boston, and more important, Atta was not trying to board an American flight, but one operated by USAirways.

This show is obviously a calculated insult to the Clinton administration and almost everyone involved in the attacks, but mostly—as Maureen Dowd points out today—it’s an insult to ABC’s viewers. Because by fictionalizing a tragedy that’s still fresh in a lot of memories, ABC is essentially saying that truth is not sufficiently dramatic, not sufficiently sexy.
So it’s been enhanced, distorted, “sexed up,” as they say in my new homeland, to make sure you don’t miss the moral of the story.

2 Comments:

  • At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Paul, how about confining the political commentary in the political blogs and focus your comments here on issues relevant to PR? I really don't care about your feelings on Bush and Clinton, but I do care about issues relevant to our profession. This week's rantings on Castro/Bush and the ABC fictional movie on 9/11 had little to do with PR and a lot to do with your political leanings. Let's elevate the conversation, eh?

     
  • At 11:32 AM, Blogger Kelli Matthews said…

    That's awfully naive to think that these posts are not relevant to "our profession." Paul, I appreciate these posts. I am working both into a lecture on how ethical issues (related to the Castro post) and legal issues (relevant to the ABC movie posts) are required knowledge for practitioners for one of my courses in public relations at the Univ. of Oregon.

     

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