As the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 nears, Mike Huckabee this week began promoting his company's latest animated educational video for children: "9/11 and the War on Terror." The release of the kids' cartoon has sparked significant criticism, accusing Huckabee of profiting off the 2001 terror attacks.
During an appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club" Tuesday, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate noted the company he co-founded, Learn Our History, is releasing a new video "just in time" for the 10th anniversary of the attacks. "The first one is $9.95 and $11.95 after that," Huckabee explained of the ordering process via his company website.
You can watch the trailer for "9/11 and the War on Terror" below via Learn Our History:
The company has been criticized by the left in the past for offering educational videos that include a conservative spin. But this particular video sparked furor from many over the way it appears to be capitalizing on the national tragedy.
"I think that's blood money and it'll come back to haunt them someday," retired New York City fire chief Jim Riches, who lost his son on 9/11, said Tuesday during an MSNBC segment on the new video. Host Martin Bashir challenged Huckabee to right the situation.
The MSNBC coverage was picked up by many news outlets and drew a direct defense from Learn Our History, which accused MSNBC of reporting that was inaccurate and unfair.
"It is my feeling that Mr. Bashir and the MSNBC Network owes Governor Huckabee, myself, our employees, and those who were deliberately misled about our project—such as Jim Riches—an apology and the opportunity to set the record straight," Learn Our History CEO Bradley Saft said in a statement Thursday.
"On a personal note, I find it dishonest and unfair that MSNBC and Mr. Bashir deliberately misinformed and took advantage of Jim Riches' grief over his fallen son, a firefighter, to sensationalize this story. He also left out the fact that part of the proceeds from video sales are being donated to select charities serving 9/11 victims and their families."
Huckabee appeared on Thursday night's broadcast Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" to defend the video. In his appearance, he dismissed his critics as ideologically motivated, and said that assailing him for making money from the video's release is "like saying Steven Spielberg is cashing in on World War II or the Holocaust because he made Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's list. That's absurd."
UPDATE 6:30PM EST: MSNBC emailed The Ticket Bashir's prepared remarks for Thursday. In them, Bashir states that Learn Our History told his network Tuesday that no proceeds were going to charity and notes that Huckabee made no mention of donations during his "700 Club" interview. The statement also indicates MSNBC found no mention of charitable donations on the Learn Our History website until Thursday morning, something Bashir casts as "an interesting addition." Bashir also congratulates Huckabee for making the donations. MSNBC says it did not air the prepared remarks Thursday due to breaking financial news.