Accuracy in Media

The success of Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11, demonstrates how Ronald Reagan’s historic battle against subversive influences in Hollywood was not ultimately successful. The film is not only designed to defeat President George W. Bush, which Moore openly acknowledges, but to smear U.S. soldiers in Iraq as bloodthirsty killers and whitewash the nature of the Islamic terrorist threat.

Either through malice or ignorance, the Moore film demonstrates absolutely no understanding of the enemies we face or the democratic form of government we want to preserve. As such, the film, which has been heavily promoted by the major media, could mislead millions of Americans in a critical election year.

In Moore’s film, Saddam’s Iraq was a pleasant place with no torture chambers or mass graves. By contrast, America is a phony democracy where blacks are treated as second-class citizens and their votes are illegally suppressed. President Bush and the Republicans are evil people who pursue business at any cost, while the Senate Democrats, including Senator Tom Daschle, are spineless cowards who refused to stop the theft of the 2000 presidential election.

Nevertheless, there are some “good” Democrats in Moore’s film. He features Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan and Democratic Reps. John Conyers and Tammy Baldwin denouncing the Bush administration’s response to terrorism. Other heroes in the film are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, some of the most radical members of the House, who protested the outcome of the 2000 election when other Democratic Party leaders had conceded the contest to Bush.

Another good guy, from Moore’s point of view, is former Democratic New York Governor Mario Cuomo, who was hired to get the film a PG-13 rather than R rating. Cuomo failed because of the violence, dead bodies, and obscenities in the film.

Prior to its release, supporters of Moore had produced countless stories depicting Disney as a censor because it didn’t want one of its subsidiaries to distribute the film.

Moore acted outraged but admitted, in a moment of candor on CNN, that Disney’s decision not to distribute the film had been made a year ago. It is apparent that he realized that he would find another distributor but that creating a controversy at this time would help publicize the film. The media took the bait. 

This far-left point of view deserves to be heard. But the problem with his approach is that he doesn’t have the courage to try to convince people through reasoned arguments that he is right. Instead, he resorts to deceptions and manipulations, some of which are so amateurish as to be laughable.

Camera Tricks

U.S. officials, including President Bush, are shown getting prepared and made up for media appearances, as if anything said on television on behalf of U.S. policy is so carefully orchestrated as to be self-evidently false. These are “outtakes” or bits of film footage that usually never make it on the air. They can be embarrassing because they show people in their off-moments, when they are not prepared to be on live television. Moore uses these outtakes knowing they are misleading. He knows what they are because he has many of them from his own work. But of course he would never turn them over to a critic so that Moore himself could be made out to be a buffoon.     

In this regard, Moore, who appears in his own film, clearly doesn’t care about his own appearance. He has a scruffy beard and is overweight to the point of being obese. He’s a poor speaker and a sloppy dresser. The tragedy is that he doesn’t care about the truth any more than his own appearance.

Who is this unorthodox filmmaker and what does he believe? This part of the story shows that Hollywood hasn’t changed that much since the days when Reagan was fighting those who wanted to use Hollywood as a vehicle on behalf of a global totalitarian force determined to destroy the American way of life.

The difference is that global Islamic extremism has replaced communism as the worldwide threat.

Praising The Enemy

The Moore film ends with President Bush mangling the old saying about “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This gets laughs from the audience. But the President’s verbal stumbles, which are admittedly humorous, pale in comparison to the venom that comes from the mouth of Michael Moore.

It has not been widely reported that Moore, on his own website on April 14, said it was wrong to refer to those killing Americans in Iraq as “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” He explained, “They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow?and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?”

The Minutemen were American revolutionary war forces who prepared for battle against the British on a moment’s notice. Moore was comparing the killers of Americans in Iraq to those who sacrificed to bring America into being. 

The winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Moore’s film was released by a coalition of companies that includes Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s Fellowship Adventure Group, Lions Gate Films, and IFC Films. Moore’s previous film, Bowling for Columbine, won the 2003 Academy Award for “Best Documentary Feature.”

But Moore doesn’t do “documentaries.”

The definition of a documentary is a film or program that presents facts about a person or event. This doesn’t preclude having a point of view or using editing and sound to enhance the theme. But it does mean that the film or program should draw its material from actual events.

By this definition, Moore’s film falls far short of being a documentary. He uses cinematic techniques and clever editing to convey a false impression of people and events.

One of the most brazen examples is the depiction of life under Saddam Hussein when the U.S. invaded Iraq. We are shown footage of children flying kites and having fun in an amusement park. This is so false and misleading that calling the Moore film “propaganda” is an understatement. Not even the anti-American Arab television network Al Jazeera would attempt something so dishonest.

Nevertheless, that Associated Press, CNN and other news organizations would call it a “documentary” illustrates how extensive the problem of media bias really is.

While Lisa Myers of NBC News and Dan Harris of ABC News have both done excellent stories about the many distortions and falsehoods in the film, they have not gotten to the heart of Moore’s anti-American bias. It is clear, based on the film and his other public statements, that he really thinks the terrorists are the good guys.

It would be one thing if people in the sell-out crowds at theaters around the country were going for reasons of personal curiosity and to see what all the fuss is about. But reports indicate that many people seeing the film applaud, cheer and even give it standing ovations. This is truly frightening because it demonstrates how many have been conditioned by the media to believe the worst about their own country.

An Editor & Publisher survey of 63 daily papers that ran reviews of the film found that 56 gave the film a positive nod, an almost 90 percent favorable rating. On June 15, Fox News posted a review by Roger Friedman that praised the film as a “tribute to patriotism.”

It is not patriotic to depict American troops in Iraq as bloodthirsty killers. Yet Moore highlights the comments of a few soldiers who describe going into battle hyped-up and listening to heavy metal music.

Unpatriotic

Moore shows film footage of U.S. troops sadistically posing with and mocking dead Iraqis and prisoners. At the same time, emulating Al Jazeera, he shows Iraqis retrieving dead bodies from air strikes and blaming the U.S. for the war in Iraq. There can be no explanation for this footage other than to portray U.S. soldiers as the real enemy in Iraq, committing dastardly deeds in our name.

There is nothing in the film about U.S. soldiers helping Iraqis or rebuilding the country.

Moore complains about photos of military caskets being withheld from the media, ignoring the private nature of the repatriation ceremonies where families receive the bodies and remains of those killed in the war. Near the end of the film, he shows injured American soldiers, but even this is used for political purposes, as one soldier says he intends to work for the Democratic Party. The injuries include arms and legs blown off because of enemy rockets or explosives. But for Moore, of course, those killing and injuring Americans are not “the Enemy.”  

A significant part of the film is devoted to a mother who lost her son in the conflict.  Moore milks this for all it’s worth. He is truly a master at exploiting the human suffering of the Iraq war. Audiences are moved by the woman’s account of how her son died and how she was given the news. Moore follows her to Washington, D.C., as if she is in a daze, not sure of what to do about her son’s death and how to protest the war. She eventually gets to a park across from the White House, where she finds an anti-war protester camped out.

In other clips, anti-war protesters are shown to be groups of mostly old people who talk peace and eat cookies. Moore shows some anti-war protests, conveniently ignoring any discussion of the communist front groups, International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice, which are behind them.

There is nothing, of course, about the noble cause of freeing Iraq, of troops sacrificing for their country and the cause of freedom in the world at large.  

The U.S. firm Halliburton, once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, is portrayed in the film as a war profiteer. A company with over 100,000 employees, including 24,000 in Iraq, Halliburton’s work is absolutely vital to the people of Iraq and our own troops. But Moore sheds no tears for the 41 Halliburton employees killed because of the war. 

Moore ignores the fact that Halliburton’s main competitor is a French firm, Schlumberger, and that its board includes Democrats Jamie Gorelick, formerly of the Clinton Justice Department, and John Deutsch, Clinton’s former CIA director who was pardoned for wrongdoing before Clinton left office.

Gorelick is the official accused by Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft of erecting the “wall” that kept U.S. intelligence agencies from cooperating to discover and prevent the 9/11 terrorist plot. 

The Schlumberger connection is important because Moore won his Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in France, whose government had sweetheart deals with the Saddam Hussein regime. And also because Moore uses some of his film to complain about unemployment, especially in his home town of Flint, Michigan, and how this supposedly leaves young people no option other than to join the U.S. military and go to war. 

Moore chooses not to recognize the fact that the enemy in Iraq isn’t Halliburton, which employs Americans. It’s the terrorists killing both Halliburton’s American employees and American soldiers.

Moore’s Saudi Villains

The film recognizes that the U.S. was attacked by terrorists on 9/11, but it doesn’t depict Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda as the real enemies. Instead, they are seen as mere pawns of Saudi government officials, who are depicted as having unsavory business connections with current and former U.S. officials, including President Bush. The film absurdly asserts that the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan not to get bin Laden but to build an oil pipeline through the country and help business. 

In this context, Moore suggests that President Bush’s alleged relationship with the bin Laden family of Saudi Arabia is why Saudis in the U.S. after 9/11 were supposedly allowed to leave without adequate FBI screening.

The problem for Moore is that Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations, is featured in the film as a whistleblower telling the truth about the Bush administration’s policies on Iraq and terrorism. And yet Clarke has taken responsibility for the decision to let the Saudis leave. Clarke is no friend of Bush, having emerged as a major critic of the Bush administration in the 9/11 hearings and in his recent book. If anyone would have “inside information” about a Bush role in the Saudi flights, Clarke would have it. And yet his testimony gets Bush completely off the hook. What’s more, Clarke says the Saudis, many of whom were members of the bin laden family, were cleared by the FBI of having any connections to al Qaeda.

Moore compares the Saudi exit to an imaginary scenario in which President Clinton lets members of the McVeigh family leave the country after Timothy McVeigh is arrested for the Oklahoma City bombing.

With this analogy, Moore falsely implies that Osama bin Laden is still a member in good standing of the bin Laden family and that al Qaeda and the Saudi regime are virtually one and the same. Recent al-Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia clearly disprove that thesis.

The Saudi regime has a lot to answer for, in terms of its relationship to or funding of terrorism. But the Moore film takes this point to a ridiculous extreme. Ironically, while Moore attacks the use of the Patriot Act to monitor and investigate terrorist groups in the U.S., he seems to imply that all the Saudis in the U.S. after 9/11 should have been rounded up and detained without concern for their individual rights, simply based on the fact that they were members of a family that numbers into the hundreds. This contradiction shows how desperate Moore was to avoid addressing the real problem of al Qaeda and where it was based at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

Curiously, Moore showed a beheading in Saudi Arabia, in order to demonstrate the brutal nature of the Saudi regime, but no similar atrocities in Afghanistan when the Taliban and al Qaeda were in charge. Although Saudi Arabia has financed the extreme Wahhabi form of Islam, which was popular with the Taliban and al Qaeda, the regime itself was open to Western influences and had a pro-Western foreign policy. For Moore, however, Saudi Arabia is portrayed as the greater evil. He ignores the fact that the downfall of the Saudi regime would be a great victory for al Qaeda.  

In this regard, Moore sides with Rep. Barbara Lee, who is briefly shown in the film on the matter of the 2000 election. She was the only member of Congress who voted against the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. Lee is a former aide to Rep. Ron Dellums and was implicated in captured documents as a collaborator of the communist regime overthrown by the U.S. when President Reagan ordered U.S. forces into Grenada.

Border Problems

Moore makes one valid point in the film, when he shows our northern border virtually unguarded against terrorist infiltration, but he uses this to perpetuate his dubious theory that the war on terror is a fraud. What it shows is that the Bush administration has not done a good enough job in securing our borders. Moore could have done a “documentary” about that but he probably doesn’t really favor a crackdown on illegal immigration. 

His film is very graphic about the war in Iraq but he does not show the hijacked planes flying into the World Trade Center in New York or the Pentagon. There is no footage of people jumping out of buildings to avoid being burned to death. He shows reaction on the streets to the New York attacks when they occurred but the American people are then depicted as dupes of a government that wanted an excuse to go to war and uses a terrorist alert system to keep people in fear for political purposes.

In his new book, Anti-Americanism, French intellectual Jean-Francois Revel writes about the “anti-American obsession” in Europe that holds that the U.S. is the source of evil in the world. This obsession is on display in the Michael Moore film and explains why a mostly foreign audience in Cannes, France, would give such a production a standing ovation. Similar reactions here demonstrate how a significant part of the population has been led to believe by our media that the U.S. is the evildoer in Iraq and elsewhere, and that Big Business and the Republicans are orchestrating events behind the scenes.

John Kerry, who is not in the film in any role whatsoever, stands to benefit.

What You Can Do

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Mr. Ken Paulson
Editor
USA Today
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McLean, VA 22108

Mr. James Warren
Bureau Chief
The Chicago Tribune
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Suite 200
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