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Here’s a new tactic for D.C. fledgling documentary filmmakers who don’t know how to take edits: Whine to Congress.
The long and bumpy road leading to a series set to air April 15-20 on PBS, America at a Crossroads, hit a new snag recently, according to the insider pubcasting pub, Current. (Full disclosure: I was part of the bumpy road as a contract writer and researcher for its Web interactive.)
Frank Gaffney Jr. of the Center for Security Policy, ranked No. 2 by Slate as the most hawkish of pundits, made a two-hour film that was supposed to be one hour, didn’t want to cut it or improve the crappy writing, wrote a memo to the series’ execs over at WETA saying so and then enlisted the help of Rep. James T. Walsh, R-N.Y., who concluded that since America’s paying for the film, America ought to see it.
So, by that logic, I guess America’s paying Walsh to watch and give expert opinion on the content and structure of documentaries? It doesn’t look like the congressman from Syracuse actually holds enough clout to change the lineup of a $20 million series hosted by favored Canadian Robert MacNeil. But it is pretty fascinating to see what all spins out from the tornado that was Ken Tomlinson at CPB.