A week ago Sunday night, Fox News aired footage which had been edited out of the ABC movie, "The Path to 9/11." Though the movie was originally promoted as an almost documentary of facts, the deleted footage had been reported to be not only fictionalized, but false, wrongly accusing the Clinton Administration of responsibility for the 9/11 attacks - as well as presumably the Hindenburg disaster, murder of Julius Caesar, Krakatoa's volcano eruption of 1883 and the cancellation of "Star Trek."
Now, if one has an inquisitive mind, one may wonder why a news network would even care about movie footage that was considered not good enough to even meet the standards of television. Actually, one needn't have an inquisitive mind at all, just a mind, period.
Now, in fairness, airing material not considered accurate or of good enough quality is the lifeblood of Fox News, so that's not really a big surprise. They have to fill up 24 a day, every day, somehow.
Putting on deleted scenes from a motion picture is another matter entirely. Usually, deleted scenes are considered so boring that even movie executives find excuses to get back to their offices, rather than watch outtakes in a screening. And yes, they're called "outtakes." The words "take" and "out" are part of the deal. Usually, the only place they show up is on Dick Clark's desk so he can have a blooper show. The only other life for deleted scenes is to fill out DVD's as "special" material.
Moreover, Fox and the Republican Party are supposed to hate Hollywood as frivolous (never mind that it's one of the biggest industries and exporters in the United States, which Republicans are supposed to love.) But there Fox News is, devoting news time to deleted, fictionalized material in a movie, five months after it aired. Taking it seriously. Calling it news. Okay, on Fox, it is news. But we're talking here about the real world.
Even the people who made the movie have said the material that was cut (and which was to be shown by Fox) was fiction, as the screenwriter himself told the New York Times last September.
The very network that made the movie, ABC, acknowledged that "the movie contains fictionalized scenes."
And Fox News is showing deleted footage of a five-month old TV movie. And calling it news.
Well, it turns out it's for a noble reason.
Well...sort of. Okay, not really.
John Finley, senior producer of "Hannity's America," told the Hollywood Reporter, "I think that because of the very public discussion about the movie before it aired and all of the very public objections raised by the members of the Clinton administration, that the American people deserve the chance to see what it is they were objecting to and see the whole thing before it was edited." He also told the Los Angles Times that Hannity and Fox News "feel the American people deserve both sides."
Both sides? Of a fictionalized TV movie?? On a news show???
That's like insisting that Michael Crichton release the paragraphs he cut from the first draft of "Rising Sun." Because there was public controversy that the book was xenophobic.
And then calling that news.
If Fox actually believed the American people deserved both sides, they'd go out of business. If Fox believed the American people deserved both sides, they'd be CNN.
Both "both sides" of a work of fiction?! The concept doesn't exist. It's a work of fiction. The final product is the work. The mythical "other side" is the same piece of work. Just starting at "The End" and moving forward.
But let's take Fox News at their word. That they believe when members of a former Presidential administration complain about a TV movie that subsequently gets edited, the American public deserves to see the side that got cut.
We therefore look forward to Fox News airing the deleted footage of the CBS movie, "The Reagans."
In fact, we came within a hairsbreadth of having to look forward to Fox News airing the entire movie of "The Reagans," since the whole thing got completely deleted by the network, only later showing up on pay-cable.
No doubt Fox News believes the American public should see the critical scenes of Ronald Reagan that hit the cutting room floor.
Upcoming, Fox News will likely also be broadcasting deleted scenes from "Desperate Housewives," bloopers from "C.S.I. Miami" and never-before-shown footage of Fox guest-host Chuck Norris of "Walker, Texas Ranger." Perhaps Mr. Norris could interview himself and present "both sides," like Woody Allen cross-examining himself in "Bananas."
In that scene, the Allen character, Fielding Melish, cries out: "This trial is a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham!"
Reports are that Fox News is thinking of using that as their new slogan.