July 13, 2004

Blowing Smoke


For a thorough, must-read debunking of the deceptions and outright lies presented in Fahrenheit 9/11, including responses from Michael Moore, see: Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11 by Dave Kopel.

For an examination of Moore's irrational methods (e.g., conspiracy theories, ad-hominem attacks, maudlin appeals to emotions) and why the left embraces such tactics, see: The Left's Propagandist: Michael Moore and the Intellectual State of Today's Left by Robert W. Tracinski of TIA Daily.

For a look at why Moore is willing to show graphic images of casualties in Iraq (from dead babies to dead American soldiers) yet not willing to show graphic images of 9/11 or Saddam's atrocities, see: The Cowardice of Michael Moore by Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs.

And for other critiques of Fahrenheit 9/11, see:
More Distortions From Michael Moore by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball of Newsweek;
The importance of being Michael Moore by Mark Steyn at London Telegraph; and
Unfairenheit 9/11: The lies of Michael Moore by Christopher Hitchens at Slate.com.

I recently watched Fahrenheit 9/11. Some parts were downright offensive, such as Moore's depiction of the Iraqi dictatorship as a "sovereign nation" with kite-flying kids frolicking around Baghdad like it was a socialist utopia, and (as mentioned before) Moore's refusal to depict the 9/11 attacks or Saddam's atrocities in the same manner he depicts the casualties of the Iraq war. But because of such blatant editorializing and a general lack of objectivity, Moore's "documentary" is intellectually impotent, even as propaganda. Sure, some people will buy and eagerly swallow Moore's snake oil, but such people are probably lost causes anyway.

Despite whatever valid points could have been made in Fahrenheit 9/11 (e.g., that our government may be too closely tied to the Saudi regime or that homeland security is insufficient), all is lost in the incessant smearing of President Bush and his administration with innuendoes and personal attacks.

One example stands out. As part of a montage, Moore shows Condoleezza Rice saying: "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11." Frankly, I was shocked to hear this, because I have never heard the Bush Administration try to directly connect Iraq to 9/11. In fact, because of 9/11 Commission findings, there has been a recent round of reaffirmations by the Administration that an Iraq-9/11 connection did not exist and was not cited as a justification for the invasion. Had a prominent member of the Bush Administration slipped up, as Moore indicated? Well, no. As I learned from the Kopel article cited above, Rice was referring to a connection in relation to terrorism in general. Moore chops Rice's quote so that we don't get the full context, which is as follows:

"Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It's not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York. This is a great terrorist, international terrorist network that is determined to defeat freedom. It has perverted Islam from a peaceful religion into one in which they call on it for violence. And they're all linked. And Iraq is a central front because, if and when, and we will, we change the nature of Iraq to a place that is peaceful and democratic and prosperous in the heart of the Middle East, you will begin to change the Middle East...." [Emphasis added]

By "a tie" Rice meant "a kind of tie." By editing out her elaboration, Moore wants the viewer to get the false impression that Rice stated there was a direct tie between Iraq and 9/11.

Such underhandedness by Moore reminded me of a scene in another movie, Timeline. (Warning: A spoiler follows.) A group of modern-day time-travelers find themselves in the middle of a feudal war in 14th-century France. They are taken as bound prisoners before an English lord who is to decide their fate. One of the time-travelers happens to be French, and the English lord accuses him of being a spy. The Frenchman protests, truthfully, that he is merely an innocent translator. As an apparent test, the Englishman asks him to translate a French phrase. The translator is reluctant, but fearing for his life he gradually translates the phrase: "I am a spy." The Englishman smiles, draws his sword and runs the Frenchman through, killing him.

If one could somehow confront the Englishman and condemn his gross injustice, it's not difficult to imagine that his justifications would be similar to Moore's: "It was a confession. You heard him yourself. That's exactly what he said. I didn't change his words." Such are the methods of a "documentary" character assassin.

By the end of the movie, Moore wants the viewer to believe that Bush is a Saudi-controlled dimwit who waged war in Iraq solely for maintaining America's "hierarchical society" in which the poor are used as cannon fodder for oil profits. No, I'm not kidding. Apparently Moore hates Bush for the fact that -- to whatever limited degree -- the President has acted militarily to protect capitalist America, Americans and our allies from foreign terrorists. In short, Moore is a socialist propagandist whose ends justify his means. "Baghdad Bob" would be proud.

We've already accused Moore of artistic fraud for selling his admittedly subjective opinion as documentary fact. We've already pointed out that Moore sided with the enemy when he stated that Iraqi terrorists and insurgents are Revolutionaries like America's Minutemen. Fahrenheit 9/11 merely demonstrates how much further Moore is willing to go to demonize America and whitewash the atrocities of our enemies.

Is it any wonder that the terrorist group Hezbollah has offered to help promote Moore's propaganda in the Middle East?

UPDATE July 14: Canadian reader Chris R. Chapman informs us that Michael Moore could be in trouble for allegedly violating Canadian election laws. ChargeMoore.com is a Web site that's been established by Campus Conservatives to push the issue with a petition. They've posted a National Post article that explains what happened (I couldn't find a link for the original Post article [UPDATE: they are now linking to the original article, and our link has been updated], but here's another source with the same story, and here's a London Free Press article from today covering the story).

Frankly, the Canadian law sounds like a violation of free speech to me. Kind of like America's "campaign finance reform" laws. Ironically, those laws worked in Moore's favor.

MooreWatch.com has the latest in other Moore news.

UPDATE July 31: Stuart Hayashi has posted a story on yet another deception discovered in Moore's "documentary" at MooreLies.com: The Case of the Doctored Headline.
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Posted by Forkum at July 13, 2004 07:42 PM