Roger L. Simon

Saturday at the Ritz Carlton with Two Richards

PJM’s Washington Editor Rich Miniter and I drove out to Ritz Carlton Pasadena yesterday to an event staged by PBS to promote their forthcoming series “America at a Crossroads.” In their words:

“America at a Crossroads” is a series of documentaries that explores the challenges confronting the world post-9/11, including the war on terrorism; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; the experience of American troops; the struggle for balance within the Muslim world; and perspectives on America’s role globally. The series is scheduled to launch on Sunday, April 15 and will run through Friday, April 20, 9 – 11 p.m. (ET).

The series will be hosted by Robert MacNeil who was there at the Ritz Carlton showing short clips with two subjects of the 20 or so documentaries – Richard Perle and Irshad Manji. This is fairly revolutionary stuff for conventionally liberal PBS and there were a number of PBS affiliate representatives in the audience who seemed to be troubled or confused to be in the presence of “Prince of Darkness” Perle.

Now Richard P. is a friend of Miniter’s and, more recently, mine and I can assure you that whatever you think of his political views his “Darkness” reputation is somewhere south of silly. He’s something of a bon vivant. But never mind. People persist in their prejudices and we don’t want to disabuse them of them.

I am looking forward to these documentaries on which PBS has lavished a surprising amount of dollars. (They photographed Perle everywhere from Kabul to his adolescent bailiwick at Hollywood High,) Manji proved to be an interesting character, a spike-haired “out” lesbian Muslim, quite personable when we chatted with her afterwards. Pajamas Media is going to do a video interview with her shortly.

And speaking of documentaries, I finally got a chance to view my Academy screener of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I’ve written some “inconvenient truths” of my own in response that will appear on Pajamas tomorrow morning. [I hope they weren’t colored by the fact that it was 28 degrees in Los Angeles this morning.-ed. Not at all. I take the long view.]