Thursday, September 07, 2006
A thin skin
When conservatives objected to the bizarre portrayal of Ronald Reagan in the CBS miniseries "The Reagans," liberals cried censorship. The editors at the New York Times went so far as to proclaim that the criticism created a "Soviet-style chill." Now that an ABC miniseries put the Clinton administration in a poor light, no one is claiming that Clinton's effort to "pull the drama" is censorship even though the critiques seem like nitpicking. For example, Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright claims the series is "false and defamatory" because it shows her giving advance warning to Pakistan about the missile attack on bin Laden, possibly enabling bin Laden to escape. Her complaint, though, is not that the Clinton administration didn't warn Pakistan but that the warning was given by a military official, not by herself personally. As the ABC production is a time-compressed docu-drama, the ABC seems like a reasonable simplification as long as Ms. Albright supported the giving of the warning. Interestingly, she is not quoted as denying that she approved the warning.