THE BLOG
09/08/2006 03:19 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Historians' Open Letter to ABC

A group of leading American historians today sent the following letter to Mr. Robert Iger of ABC. Stressing the significance of the "traumatic" events of 9/11, the signers of this letter are calling on Mr. Iger to stand up for responsible media treatments of such important historical moments and withdraw the program from circulation. The growing list of signatories will be updated at openlettertoabc.blogspot.com.

The text of the letter follows.

Dear Robert Iger:

We write as professional historians, who are deeply concerned by the continuing reports about ABC's scheduled broadcast of "The Path to 9/11." These reports document that this drama contains numerous flagrant falsehoods about critical events in recent American history. The key participants and eyewitnesses to these events state that the script distorts and even fabricates evidence into order to mislead viewers about the responsibility of numerous American officials for allegedly ignoring the terrorist threat before 2000.

The claim by the show's producers, broadcaster, and defenders, that these falsehoods are permissible because the show is merely a dramatization, is disingenuous and dangerous given their assertions that the show is also based on authoritative historical evidence. Whatever ABC's motivations might be, broadcasting these falsehoods, connected to the most traumatic historical event of our times, would be a gross disservice to the public. A responsible broadcast network should have nothing to do with the falsification of history, except to expose it. We strongly urge you to halt the show's broadcast and prevent misinforming Americans about their history.

Sincerely,

Arthur Schlesinger
Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
Lizbeth Cohen, Harvard University,
Nicholas Salvatore, Cornell University;
Ted Widmer, Brown University;
Rick Perlstein, Independent Scholar;
David Blight, Yale University;
Eric Alterman, City University of New York.
Maurice Isserman, Hamilton College
(List in formation)