Tuesday, August 17, 2004

...and while we're on the subject,

here's my review of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11

This is as good a time as any to discuss propaganda. Propaganda has always had a bad reputation because…well…most people think that the term means government authorized lying. While this is sometimes the case, it usually isn’t. All advertising is propaganda, and so are most documentaries. Anything that tries to force the consumer to think a certain way is propaganda

Michael Moore is a propagandist. His message: Guns are evil, America is evil, capitalism is evil, Reagan and the entire Bush clan are evil, and if you didn’t vote for Nader last time out, you’re probably evil too. He writes books and movies that do their best to convince you of these "facts."

How does he do this? He goes verbally beats up on receptionists. He makes fun of security guards, he cuts out an adjective or two here and there and takes things out of context. He’s good at editing and finding cool footage.

He lies by misusing facts.

Let’s look at the beginning of this film we’re reviewing. He gives us a brief tour of the 2000 election scandal. Much of what are the bare bones in the case are true, but by leaving out important facts, such as the vote in the supreme court was 7-2, he gives an false impression of what actually went on.

Does he mention that the Palm Beach county "butterfly ballot?" Does he mention the screw-ups made by the Democratic run election commissions there and in Broward and Dade counties? Does he mention the fact that Gore’s attorneys convinced the Vice President to only demand recounts in places where he would get the most votes insuring that there would be a case against them?


By telling only a part of the story, he tells a big lie. By telling this big lie in front of the "Axis of Envy" in Cannes, he won the Palm d’Or.

On the other hand, this is topnotch propaganda. The story is told well and with feeling. His researchers have combed the film archives and come up with some astonishing footage. Bush makes some really funny quotes at the fundraisers he attended and Moore uses them to great effect. "The haves and the have-mores?" Wow!!! It’s impressive.

He also uses pathos. He interviews a mother who’s son died in Iraq. Yeah, she’s mad. A gold star mother in World War II would probably been pissed off at Frankiln Roosevelt when her son was killed in Europe or the Pacific. The stuff about Ashcroft is only slightly more acid. Yeah, he lost to a corpse, but everyone knew the widow would get the job if her late husband won. Moore doesn’t tell us that.

He does tell us that most congressmen didn’t read the Patriot act. Most Congresscritters don’t read most of the legislation they vote on. That’s what lobbyists are for, after all.

As I’m a Democrat, I think every Independent voter should see this movie and vote for Kerry in the fall. Then, in December, let’s take away Moore’s camera for good.

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