FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
Media Matters expresses deep concerns about The History Channel's upcoming Kennedy miniseries
Washington, DC - Today, Media Matters for America responded to news that The Kennedys, a History Channel miniseries about John F. Kennedy's presidency tentatively set to air next year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his inauguration, contains a "remarkable number of obvious errors," according to former Kennedy adviser Ted Sorenson, who reportedly saw scripts for the series. Sorenson additionally said that "[e]very single conversation with the president in the Oval Office or elsewhere in which I, according to the script, participated, never happened."
"Of any network, The History Channel should understand the value of accurate, agenda-free historical programming," said Eric Burns, President of Media Matters. "The fact that one of the Kennedys' closest advisers doesn't think the script fits that description is deeply concerning."
Burns added: "The question is whether The History Channel is going to allow The Kennedys to become the next Path to 9/11.
The New York Times reported today that after Brave New Films' Robert Greenwald read the scripts for the miniseries, he reached out to Sorensen and historians to fact-check what Greenwald described as a "political character assassination." In addition to Sorensen's criticism, historians said that the script was "loony and juvenile," a "travesty," and "distorted."
The miniseries is being developed by Joel Surnow, producer of Fox Broadcasting Co's 24. Greenwald wrote on The Huffington Post that Surnow is "a right wing activist" who vacations with Rush Limbaugh, refers to Bill Clinton as a "yuppie, baby boomer narcissist," and supported Rick Santorum for Senate.
This is not the first time a historical miniseries has sparked controversy. Media Matters was one of several organizations to criticize ABC's The Path to 9/11 and successfully pressured Scholastic to pull flawed, ABC-sponsored educational materials about the 9-11 attacks.