THE BLOG

Not Letting Scholastic off the Hook

09/08/2006 03:32 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I had chastised Scholastic for its involvement in ABC's "The Path to 9/11" miniseries. And urged parents to boycott the education publishing powerhouse. In the meantime apparently Scholastic got the message that their association with this trainwreck was hurting their image. Not to mention possibly damaging their lucrative business relationship with millions of the nation's public schools.

As reported here by Eric Boehlert, Scholastic Chairman, President and CEO Dick Robinson now says that the materials Scholastic developed for high-school teachers to share with their students on the miniseries did not meet the publisher's exacting standards for "dealing with controversial issues." They've yanked the materials and will post new ones.

When I read that I thought, Wow, that was quick work! Did they just happen to have a spare set lying around that happened to be accurate? That happened to give a factual account of events leading to 9/11 and the war in Iraq that somehow had been misplaced? How handy! If so, why didn't they use these factual materials to being with? And won't there be a disparity now between the "facts" in the miniseries, or "docudrama" as ABC is now calling it, and the information in the new Scholastic materials?

Scholastic also disavowed any role in developing "The Path to 9/11" and in promoting the ABC miniseries. But it just won't wash. How did the company's materials then come to so closely mirror the miniseries? And why did Scholastic urge high-school teachers to have their students watch the miniseries if they weren't promoting it? The whole sorry episode left me wondering, Has Scholastic done this kind of monkeying around with the facts in their books or "discussion guides" before?

This is why I'm not letting Scholastic off the hook. They should have done the right thing to begin with. Which is to never allow themselves to get mixed up in the despicable business of distorting history. And on this sad sad occasion of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, to never allow themselves to be involved in the tawdry business of exploiting people's grief.

The mea culpas aside, I still plan to boycott them.