Backstory1/28/2001 07:00:00 PM Eastern
If you remember ABC's 14-and-a-half-hour-long 1987 mini-series Amerika, it is probable that you remember the controversy that ultimately overshadowed its seven-night broadcast.
A futuristic fable, Amerika
played with the possibility of a Russian-ruled U.S. ten years after a bloodless coup. As reported in Broadcasting
a few weeks before the Feb. 15 airing of the series, the United Nations retained a lawyer, Theodore C. Sorensen, to go after ABC for its portrayal of UN peace-keeping forces as "rapists and arsonists." Fearing the withdrawal of financial support from the White House and a tarnished image, the UN pressed ABC to take measures to counteract the negative portrayal. ABC hosted a 90-minute Viewpoint
anchored by Ted Koppel at the conclusion of Amerika.
ABC, the UN, Russian diplomats, the film's creators and the American public had their say.