Thursday, July 1, 2004

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Why Michael Moore is doomed

I haven't posted much on Fahrenheit 9/11 -- unless you count my Tech Central Station column that questions one of Moore's underlying theses involving the Bush administration and Saudi Arabia. Richard Just does an brilliant job of deconstructing the film itself [Full disclosure -- Just is my editor at TNR Online], so there's no point going there.

More interesting has been the media response to Moore and his own counter-response. David Adesnik appears to be correct in pointing out that:

In my own discussions with journalists, I've found them to be at least as annoyed by leftists' accusations that they are conservative mouthpieces than by conservatives' accusations that they are inveterate liberals. So don't expected Moore's bumpy ride to end anytime soon.

And bumpy it has been. David Brooks had a column that highlighted some of the zestier comments Moore has made about the U.S. in overseas venues. Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball rip to shreds one of Moore's flimsier allegations in Newsweek (link via Glenn Reynolds).

That last story mentions a fact that strongly suggests Michael Moore's public support is about to take a major hit:

In light of the extraordinary box office success of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” and its potential political impact, a rigorous analysis of the film’s assertions seems more than warranted. Indeed, Moore himself has invited the scrutiny. He has set up a Web site and “war-room” to defend the claims in the movie—and attack his critics. (The war-room’s overseers are two veteran spin-doctors from the Clinton White House: Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani.)

Lehane? Lehane??!! Yeah, let's review his impressive achievements at spin:

1) Was Al Gore's principal spokesman during the 2000 campaign -- 'nuff said. [UPDATE: Well, check out this February 2000 Jewish World Review story by David Corn that's partially about Lehane.

2) Was Kerry's spokesman in mid-2003 -- when Kerry started to get clobbered by Howard Dean (here's a link to one example of his work from that era);

3) Then moved on to Michael Moore's favorite Democrat, Wesley Clark -- another whopping success;

4) In the last days of the Clark campaign, Lehane appears to have played a role in spreading rumors about a Kerry affair with former reporter Alexandra Polier. Polier provides the following account of her efforts to ascertain Lehane's role:

I called Lehane himself, who, having backed the wrong team, is now running his own political PR firm in San Francisco. I asked him where he’d first heard the rumors about Kerry and me. He blamed political reporters. I asked him if he had used the rumors to try to help Clark. He denied it. “There are just so many media outlets out there now, Alex, that these kind of baseless rumors can easily get turned into stories,” he said smoothly, and then the phone went dead.

I called him right back, but he didn’t answer. I called again less than an hour later, and this time his outgoing message had been changed to, “Hi, you’ve reached Chris. I’m traveling and won’t be able to retrieve my voice mail.” I wondered how he was able to run a PR company without retrieving voice mail.

Well, that sounds like a clean bill of health to me.

Michael Moore hired this guy to protect his reputation? His reputation is toast.

UPDATE: Thanks to Brennan Stout, who links to this Daily Kos post about Lehane from September 2003.

Also, I see that Michael Moore is planning to start a blog. No posts yet, however.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some free advice to Lehane -- go read Ted Barlow's disturbing post about Focus on the Family's efforts to harrass Moore and run with that for a while. Of course, that raises some vexing questions about Moore's tactics as well.

posted by Dan on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM


About an hour ago, Drudge made note of "Spiderman 2 opening quite big indeed; about a four to one Dollar ratio over Moore's trash.

Apparently, the American people figure Spiderman 2 the more believable fantasy.

posted by: Bithead on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Cute post, but I think Moore has already succeeded in boosting his notoriety to another (and far more profitable)level. Since he's not running for anything, and he confines himself to misrepresenting public figures, I don't see anything that will get in the way of his enjoyment of the financial success of this movie. And you don't seriously think he has any other objectives,do you?

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Who really hires Chris Lehane? A candidate is more likely to put him on his payroll so he's not working for the other guy.

He's the cunning toddler that knows when to cry to get candy.

posted by: Brennan Stout on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Lehane also recently got hired by Olympic sprinter Marion Jones, who's sorta-kinda being accused of steroid use, and immediately started blaming the Administration. (Kaus had a comment on this.)

posted by: Devin McCullen on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

With Michael Moore and Howard Stern as his most visible and outspoken supporters, Kerry is playing a very complicated political game. These guys can obviously enflame the liberal base but offend most voters in the middle. At some point, reporters will ask Kerry how far he will go in vouching for the views of these two faux spokesmen. Moore, by the way, has said things in Europe that are much more outrageous than the comments cited by David Brooks.

posted by: Craig Kennedy on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Because I secretly adore Chris Lehane I had to go back and look at a post I bookmarked.

It's from Markus "Daily Kos" Zuniga. Lehane resigned from Kerry's campaign because "differences in the direction of the Democrat's presidential campaign".

Zuniga goes on to say "Many have documented his[Lehane] blatantly unfair attacks on Bradley as Gore's campaign mouthpiece in 2000".

Markus continues, "Like I said, Lehane's an asshole. The Kerry campaign is better off without him.".

Then he closes with, "Now let's hope for Clark's sake that Lehane doesn't end up in that campaign."

h4w h4w h4w! Does this get any easier?

posted by: Brennan Stout on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Yeah, Moore's toast. There's no way he'll get elected.

posted by: chabo on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Not having seen the film (as it hasn't been released here yet), I find myself having to assume that because nobody has managed to find any actual factual inaccuracies in the film (as opposed to "unfair" assertions or unpopular opinions), there aren't any.

posted by: dsquared on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]


Take a look at the Isikoff/Hosenball Newsweek article Dan links to. The stuff there look like factual inaccuracies to me.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

"Not having seen the film (as it hasn't been released here yet), I find myself having to assume that because nobody has managed to find any actual factual inaccuracies in the film "

How far out in space do you live?

posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

I wouldn't hire Chris Lehane to wash my car, but I don't know that Michael Moore is "toast." A number of Moore critics have said in so many words that Moore's film is filled with lies. For all its failings, it's not that. Moore does draw some exceedingly sketchy conclusions, which we all can very reasonably argue with, but I have not been impressed with the intellectual honesty of Moore's critics.

By way of example, Dave Kopel has posted a preliminary draft of an NRO article titled "Fifty-six Deceits in Fahrenheit 911." Kopel's "Deceit #7" says of the film's depiction of 9/11, "Moore effectively evokes the horror that every decent human being felt on September 11. But remember, Moore does not necessarily feel the same way." Kopel then quotes Ed Koch as reporting that Moore had suggested that 9/11 was overblown.

Does that strike you as "deceit" within the ordinary meaning of the term? Some of what Kopel has to say has more merit, but a lot of it is of this ilk. Maybe someone is being intellectually dishonest here, but it's not (or not just) Moore.

In addition, since you linked the Just piece and TNR doesn't have comments, I'll say it here: the Just essay is about the least persuasive rebuttal to Moore's film I can imagine.

Moore has two points, i.e., structural inequity in American society and that the war in Iraq was unnecessary. He ties them together at the end of his film by saying, "I've always been amazed that in America the poor and working class do most of the fighting. That is their gift to us. And all they ask in return is that we don't send them to war unless we absolutely have to." (Just's recollected version.)

The nut graf of Just's response is, "The logical connection between the two thoughts here is patently absurd. (Is Moore implying that it's okay for the poor and working class to do most of the fighting as long as they are only sent to fight in necessary wars? Would it be okay to fight unnecessary wars if the military burden were properly balanced?)"

There are two blindingly obvious ripostes.

First, there is a logical connection. Moore plainly isn't implying that "it's okay for the poor and working class to do most of the fighting" under any circumstances. What he is very strongly impying is that that given the underlying inequity, it's even worse to send the volunteer army to an unnecessary war. That there are degrees of badness seems to have escaped Just.

Second, it doesn't matter. If Moore is wrong about the point that links his two issues together, then the two issues stand independently. At worst, the link is a flourish.

posted by: alkali on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]


Is Moore's film itself "intellectually honest"? The transcript I have seen indicates that much of the argument is simple "guilt by association".

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

alkali: Maybe you feel the same way I do. Did it strike you that Moore follows around two MARINE recruiters in Flint, MI and then uses ARMY NATIONAL GUARD video and ARMY NATIONAL GUARD recruits to make his case about the volunteer army?

I thought it was disengenuous to use Marine Corps recruiters to make your case against the volunteer/reserve forces in the US Military.

posted by: Brennan Stout on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

I've seen the film - last Saturday night, actually - lines were HUGE.

The film is very, very powerful, regardless of of your political orientation. People come out of the film shaken, somber, and in deep thought.

It is amazing to see the panicked sniping going on. I think the most dishonest has to be Andrew Sullivan's take. "Boring - I left 3/4 way through..."). That is probably a misquote, but it conveys the gist. No one left the film, again, I was paying attention to what people were doing - people came out of the film - somber, serious, reflective, questioning.

This is another example of the sniping. Dan states something true - Chris Lehane? An unsavory character, by all accounts. One of those dismissal by association things. Or finding one discrepancy in the film, and then dismissing the whole film because of it.

Dismissing the "guilt by association" - as if, the frequent, long, and money investing ties of the Saudis to the Bushes are of NO concern...while those that say this, were UP IN ARMS about the supposed Gore temple fundraising! And the connections, correlations, relationships in this case, are so much more well documented and enduring.

So, guys, keep dancing as fast as you can. Keep sniping at the edges. It won't defeat the film. See it. See it, see the "other voices" you don't see in the US media. See the member of the US forces, complaining how he is guarding an oil compound, and gets 2-3 K a month, on duty every day, while a truck driver/contractor is making 8-10K for 40 hours a week.

SHOULDN'T that be documented? Isn't that a problem?

Pointing out how no member of Congress has a son or daughter in the military, while many on the wrong side of the economic rung, have their family members in the military. Is this somehow wrong, or unpatriotic to do?

Such shallow sniping. At least, in your sniping, point out the true things - such as why contractors ARE getting 8-10K a month, while soldiers pull double shift every day, and somehow this is OK.

What's the bigger issues? What is more patriotic to bring attention to? That our military members MUST get a better deal, and deserve it, or that Moore makes a suggestion by implication that Bin Laden members were flown out of the country during a no-fly period?

Really, what's more important?

posted by: JC on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

it is a movie, not an essay. the power of the movie lies in the images. That is no excuse for lies or false innuendo. The images are powerful. I am a little confused by Andrew Sullivan, who says that it was boring. It was many things, but boring simply does not ring true.

by the way did you see that Focus on the Family emailed out Michael Moore's home address. That's classy.

check it out at

posted by: chris brandow on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

An interesting aspect of this is that Moore's press coverage is only secondarily being handled by the mainstream media, which ordinarily would get around to making some of the very criticisms we've heard from David Brooks and others.

His first wave of press came from the entertainment media, especially movie critics, who are far more left-wing than most journalists who follow politics for a living. They have and will continue to give Moore a pass on all the things mainstream media critics, let alone bloggers, are now beating him up for.

posted by: Zathras on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

The key to effective propaganda is 1, make no factual assertions, 2, claim that there is nothing in the piece that is not true.

Moore's film is bulletproof against argument since he makes no assertions.

posted by: Toblerone on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Check this for an accurate dissection on Spiky Isikoff's story.

Watching Republicans running around with their panties in a bunch and foaming at the mouth over Michael Moore is the funniest event of this election season. You can't beat Smoky Joe Scarborough for the shear nastiness of good old-fashioned Republican McCarthyism.

posted by: Mike on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

JC writes: "So, guys, keep dancing as fast as you can. Keep sniping at the edges."

So I take it, JC, that you take no issue with Moore spending ten minutes of his film to concoct a theory that Bush let the Bin Laden family leave the US because Bush was on the Saudi payroll?

That's ten minutes, numerous "facts" thrown out, numerous interviews to support the "facts."

Ten minutes.  And it's all bunk.

Richard Clarke (who carries no water for Bush) said, regarding the Bin Laden family flying out of the US, "I take responsibility for it. I don't think it was a mistake, and I'd do it again."

That took me 10 seconds to debunk ten minutes of Moore's film.

At this rate, the entire film can be discredited in a few minutes.

posted by: Anti-Idiot on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Mike writes: "You can't beat Smoky Joe Scarborough for the shear nastiness of good old-fashioned Republican McCarthyism."

Just curious, have you ever heard of the Venona Project?

Nova (PBS Television)
February 5, 2002

"Secrets, Lies, and Atomic Spies"

In 1995, the U.S. National Security Agency broke a half century of silence by releasing translations of Soviet cables decrypted back in the 1940s by the Venona Project. Venona was a top-secret U.S. effort to gather and decrypt messages sent in the 1940s by agents of what is now called the KGB and the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence agency. The cables revealed the identities of numerous Americans who were spies for the Soviet Union.

Ultimately the code breakers found cover names for more than 300 Americans who spied for the Soviets in World War Two.

One who had the cover name "Quantum," provided the Soviets at a very early stage, the actual scientific formula for separating U-235 from U-238, which is a very key step in developing a working atomic bomb.

American counterintelligence was able to identify only about 100 of these Soviet agents.

But even this incomplete list is remarkable: Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, cover name "Lawyer;" Larry Duggan, Chief of the Division of American Republics at the State Department, cover name "Prince;" Lauchlin Currie, Senior Administrative Assistant to President Roosevelt, cover name "Page."

There was not a single agency of the American government that the Soviets had not infiltrated, ranging from the OSS--the forerunner of the CIA--to the Justice Department, to the Treasury Department, to the State Department, to all of the wartime defense agencies.

posted by: Anti-Idiot on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Mike: There are some 'inaccuracies' in Joel Bleifuss' "In These Times" article. One of them is even address my Isikoff.

First one.

In 2004, when the White House released Bush’s military records, it blacked out the name of the president’s good friend James Bath. (In an original copy obtained by Moore, Bath’s name had not been redacted.)

The White House blacked out all the names that were not George W. Bush on privacy matters. Moore spun this. Is Moore lying? It's a judgement call. But Bleifuss should be able to identify spin. He is the "most censored" investigative reporter accoring to "In These Times".

Second One.

Moore weaves historic documents together with his signature vignettes—two Air Force recruiters bamboozling youth into the military, the mourning mother whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, and members of Congress running away as he asks them to sign up and enlist their children in the war.

Those would be Marine Corps recruiters. The two in the film are recruiting for the Marine Corps. Additionally, there is only one congressman that is walks right past Moore in the film and he contends that Moore cut the footage of him where he stopped to talk to Moore.

Bleifuss closes with, He builds his case with the president’s own words, numerous damning facts and the testimony of those most affected by the war.

Too bad Joel doesn't worship at the same alter as Mr. Moore. No wait, he does as I have just shown.

posted by: Brennan Stout on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

All those media folk currently in high dudgeon about Moore's supposed "inaccuracies" should read what Eric Alterman has to say about the glass houses from which they are flinging pebbles at Moore:

posted by: Donny on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Appalled Moderate writes:

Is Moore's film itself "intellectually honest"? The transcript I have seen indicates that much of the argument is simple "guilt by association".

I think Michael Moore sincerely believes that the Bush family has an unusually close relationship with the Saudi royals and that the relationship affects President Bush's judgment. I think you can disagree with Michael Moore on those claims without saying that he is a liar or his film is dishonest.

Brennan Stout writes:

I thought it was disengenuous to use Marine Corps recruiters to make your case against the volunteer/reserve forces in the US Military.

I don't think the film is specifically focused on reserve forces. The son of the woman who is featured in the last part of the film was not a member of the reserves.

Anti-Idiot writes:

... you take no issue with Moore spending ten minutes of his film to concoct a theory that Bush let the Bin Laden family leave the US because Bush was on the Saudi payroll? ... Richard Clarke (who carries no water for Bush) said, regarding the Bin Laden family flying out of the US, "I take responsibility for it. I don't think it was a mistake, and I'd do it again."

Here is some further testimony from Richard Clarke which is quoted in the article you link:

"I believe after the FBI came back and said it was all right with them, we ran it through the decision process for all these decisions that we were making in those hours, which was the interagency Crisis Management Group on the video conference. I was making or coordinating a lot of the decisions on 9-11 in the days immediately after. And I would love to be able to tell you who did it, who brought this proposal to me, but I don’t know. The two — since you press me, the two possibilities that are most likely are either the Department of State or the White House chief of staff’s office."

This suggests to me that the Clarke testimony does not close the question.

posted by: alkali on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Hey, where's all the free enterprise support here? Want to register your US company in the Bahamas and avoid US taxes..well, how clever! Want to run a presidential campaign and hire people in India to call US voters..great, that helps create jobs here! After the country is attacked, want to gather up the attacker's family members and relatives of the financial backers of the attackers and let them fly around the eastern US before anyone else can fly (remember, the point of contention was whether they flew out of the US before anyone else, no one is arguing that they got to fly to a holding spot within the US.) Hey, the FBI said it was OK! They disowned him! There are 4000 princes, who can keep track?! Want to make a critical docudrama of sorts...smash em, smoke em out, grrrrrrrrrrr.

Seriously, though. There were a number of non-Saudi Arab grand poopah types in the country studying at universities, etc - other Gulf State princes & princesses, rich Pakistanis, Jordanian royal family relatives - and no one else got to leave like the bin Laden's and Saudi royal types. This doesn't mean that they had anything to do with 9/11, but there were plenty of similiar people who would be at risk here due to the events, and what tipped the scales for the bin Laden's and Saudi's? The multi-generational, multi-layered relationship with the president's family.

posted by: r.t. on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

No matter your political pursuasion, it is unseemly at best. It's treating people like royalty - above the rules of us lesser mortals. It was also a waste of resources - at a time when no one was yet sure of who, what, where, was it really appropriate to utilize the FBI's time with individually vetting a plane load of people at that time? Or, conversely, was it really appropriate to just let Prince Bandar tell Cheney everone was AOK?

posted by: r.t. on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Moore is like Limbaugh and O'Reilly. His appeal is in throwing red meat to his base; and refuting him on the facts is like refuting Rush. Irrelevant to the man's appeal.

posted by: mike on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

"by the way did you see that Focus on the Family emailed out Michael Moore's home address. That's classy."

Hey - live by the ambush, die by the ambush.

Surely someone like Moore can appreciate the sophisticated irony of it.

posted by: Kate on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Alkali writes: "Here is some further testimony from Richard Clarke which is quoted in the article you link ... This suggests to me that the Clarke testimony does not close the question [regarding if Bush was responsible for the Bin Laden flights]."

Not sure what part of Clarke's statement "I take responsibility for it. I don't think it was a mistake, and I'd do it again" was confusing.

Further, the 9-11 Comission report states:

Fearing reprisals against Saudi nationals, the Saudi government asked for help in getting some of its citizens out of the country ... we have found that the request came to the attention of Richard Clarke and that each of the flights we have studied was investigated by the FBI and dealt with in a professional manner prior to its departure.
No commercial planes, including chartered flights, were permitted to fly into, out of, or within the United States until September 13, 2001. After the airspace reopened, six chartered flights with 142 people, mostly Saudi Arabian nationals, departed from the United States between September 14 and 24. One flight, the so-called Bin Ladin flight, departed the United States on September 20 with 26 passengers, most of them relatives of Usama Bin Ladin. We have found no credible evidence that any chartered flights of Saudi Arabian nationals departed the United States before the reopening of national airspace.

The Saudi flights were screened by law enforcement officials, primarily the FBI, to ensure that people on these flights did not pose a threat to national security, and that nobody of interest to the FBI with regard to the 9/11 investigation was allowed to leave the country. Thirty of the 142 people on these flights were interviewed by the FBI, including 22 of the 26 people (23 passengers and 3 private security guards) on the Bin Ladin flight. Many were asked detailed questions. None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity.

The FBI checked a variety of databases for information on the Bin Ladin flight passengers and searched the aircraft. It is unclear whether the TIPOFF terrorist watchlist was checked. At our request, the Terrorist Screening Center has rechecked the names of individuals on the flight manifests of these six Saudi flights against the current TIPOFF watchlist. There are no matches.

The FBI has concluded that nobody was allowed to depart on these six flights who the FBI wanted to interview in connection with the 9/11 attacks, or who the FBI later concluded had any involvement in those attacks. To date, we have uncovered no evidence to contradict this conclusion.

posted by: Anti-Idiot on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Lefties decry the criticisms of the film as "weak" then point to "In These Times" one of the weakest pieces I've ever read, and outdated now that Isikoff has dealt with some of the issues "In These Times" bleats about.

What's most revealing is that Chris Lehane dissembled like a madman on Scarborough to Isikoff's face and dodged the question about providing Isikoff with a full transcript. If you're going to bloviate on TDS about the facts of the film and the fact-checking, don't deny journalists a full transcript. By the same token, if you're going to bloviate on Letterman about debating all comers, stop dodging Larry Elder, Joe Scarborough, Bill O'Reilly, Mike Wilson, etc.

posted by: HH on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Not to defend Focus on the Family, but Moore is not exactly below stuff like that. At one point, he had a camera pointed at Lucianne Goldberg's home 24/7.

posted by: HH on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Oh, and there's also Moore's publicizing of a conservative radio talk show host's phone number.

I'm sure Atrios was all upset over that too.

posted by: HH on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Lehane also worked for Gray Davis in the recall effort. He's been a real winner lately.

posted by: John A. Kalb on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

The In These Times author apparently doesn't understand the difference between selling a company and taking it public. Carlyle sold a _piece_ of it.

posted by: David Nieporent on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Krugman and Juan Cole I think both take the right stance towards the Moore movie. Yea, there are some flaws, but look whois talkin right?

posted by: Jor on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

"None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity."

How would you answer those questions right after 9/11 if you were one of those passengers? The questioning was perfunctory and of course the FBI believed them. Duh!

posted by: germ on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

I'm puzlled by the approving reference to Eric Alterman's article. Alterman's argument has precious little to say about Michael Moore or his film. He chides Hitchens and Ifill for their genuine anger, but fails to analyze their rebuttals at all.

Alterman's main point is that (a) Bush and his administration overstated the case for the Iraq war, and that the war is unnecessary, so (b) Moore's fabrications are trivial by comparison, so we shouldn't take them seriously.

Huh? That's right. Liberal "logic" in action.

The jury is still out on the Iraq liberation. Was it worth it? Possibly not, but possibly yes. Were scores of innocents killed? Actually, scores of innocents were probably saved. Saddam was slaughtering people at an incredible rate before the liberation. Certainly, far more Iraqis would have died had we not invaded.

Moore's film is little more than a 2 hour long negative political ad, full of deceptive editing and misrepresentation. Alterman never seriously contests this.

posted by: jsteiger on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Look, the guy states outright that he wants to bring down the prsident. He indeed makes this so called documentary with the sole purpose of achieving said goal. It releases several months before the elections. Does anyone really not have a grasp of the obvious? So the left lauds it, the right lambasts it, and the rest of us sit back and enjoy the fine threads that follow. I think that Moore is genuine in one thing. He obviously does not spend much time around rightwingers. Meaning when he says that americans are the dumbest he bases this on his leftist pals. Personally I'd pay to send him to the middle east to promote this movie, a one way ticket of course.

posted by: pardog on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

F911 is a good movie. It's not up to Moore's best - for example, there was much more to the story telling in Bowling for Columbine. I sat sobbing in the parking lot thinking about the mother's tale of losing her son. Overall, a very compelling movie to vote in November. -Frank

posted by: Frank Cohen on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Just because you always represent unpopular people doesn't mean you are bad at PR. Also it should be noted that Gore won the election.

In response to Bithead: Americans are stupid in general. They would rather watch Spiderman and then complain when the country isnt being run the way they like. Furthermore Fahrenheit 9/11 was the largest documentary ever. That should count for something.

posted by: Dubya E Marsh on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

largest documentary? Or largerst fantasy?
Or, perhaps largest director?

And if the electorate is that stupid, how does one account for Bill Clinton having been elected twice?

posted by: bithead on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Moore has some very obscure supporters who have unexpected but not surprising motives. Professor Pat Aufderheide has a very interesting take on the movie in general (Newsday, July 4th, 2004), but primarily from the viewpoint of it's success as a documentary. She seems to be a big advocate of affirmative action and set-asides in the market place of ideas. If you dig a little, you will find she is a professional documentary promoter who is dedicated to helping documentaires aimed at "under-served audiences". She seems to be playing Ellsworth Toohey to Michael Moore's Peter Keating. Hopefully, this is just another example of Moore's role as a "useful idiot". Of course, as a typical liberal professor, she happily speaks of the "things we know already - Bush-Saudi family and business links, a corrupted election process, suppression of civil liberties at home, a war justified with insinuations and lies...".

posted by: JimBob on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

It occurs to me that I have never in my lifetime seen the Demarats in such a panic. A book and a docufarcery before an election that apparently is a must win for them. I wonder what stunt is next. It seems rather ludicrus to side with our antaganists in an effort to win the presidency. Is it possible they want to join the EU? I can't grasp why Americans would put money in Moores pocket by paying to see this film. He obviously has a low opinion of us and gladly says it publicly abroad. Personally I think Mr. Moore is shooting to be the third person in recent history to warrant getting his mug on a urinal

posted by: pardog on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

>Focus on the Family emailed out >Michael Moore's home address. That's >classy

I think its a mistake to assume that the right wing feels this is all a game (this political side-taking and cause-linking that makes you have to change your mind about the liberation of Iraq if you are a Democrat). In the past, a few key lefty figures like RFK and Wellstone disappeared from the scene weeks before they could do lasting damage. Kent State sobered the American people in a few brief moments. During the Civil War, leftie newspapers had to be shut down in the North for awhile. But most of the time, America has gotten by OK with a socalled "free press" and with naysaying defeatists in times of war.

Nixon's deal with China (which destroyed the Comintern Pact) proved to be the justification for America's main involvement in Vietnam from 65-72. Smart people know this...but have to live with a childish "conventional wisdom" that the Vietnam War was all a mistake...or that we "lost" that war.

The same characterization must not happen with Iraq. Especially if neighboring Iran goes free on Bush's watch...the Iraq naysayers must lose face and not end up writing the history books in their favor anyway. If the nukes we stopped in the Saddam-funded Libyan weapons program saved 100 million lives in the future...then people are going to have to step up to the plate and say so...although there is probably a good reason why it wouldn't be best to do that now (I don't know that reason).

It is possible and even probable that the current left wing madness will pass away into history as an Iranian Revolution or major "finding" proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the current pro-American government of Iraq was a necessary thing to have as a base of operations against our true enemies over there. I don't know why any fool might think that it would be better to still have Saddam there.

But, if the main benefit of the war was *simply* that we shifted the balance of power in the ME to the Shiites...then maybe most Americans are too dumb to see the benefit of handing the overall fight over to another set of people. If the main benefit was *simply* that we diverted the flow of $20 Billion in oil money from terrorists' hands to non-terrorists' hands...don't expect more than 50% of Americans to understand that this was worth 1000 lives as well in and of itself.

Then there is the fact that, should a terrorist nuke go off soon in an American city...the Shiites and Kurds of Iraq will not get nuked in return because we freed them from having to be on our response-target list. For this reason alone, most smart Arabs should hope that their lands get "liberated" as well. They should be begging to get off the target list for the event that at terror nuke actually does go off in America.

Remember that 2500 men were lost on Omaha Beach on DDay. For us to lose 1000 securing the center of the world's chessboard for a people who will now be on our a massive historical plus. I think that Bush and Co are just allowing the Democratic Party to hang itself by associating itself with the losers who embrace Marxist logic and declare Bush's greatest achievement his worst.

posted by: Jennifer Peterson on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

>>Americans are stupid in general. They
>>would rather watch Spiderman

I cannot resist taking this one on. Yes...I would agree that Americans are stupid in general...if the polls are accurate showing that America is split with less than 5% undecided for the coming election. But my anecdotal evidence is different from the polls. My Mom, two sisters and one daughter were all "undecided" up until the Edwards VP pick a few days ago. Together they made up 30% of the extended Florida family where 60% were already solidly behind the president. The Edwards choice baffled them. Now, everybody is laughing about the "Breck Girl" being one heartbeat away from the presidency in the middle of a war. For a family that voted 100% for Gore in 2000, expect a 90% Bush turnout in November (we have one crazed auntie who thinks Bush is Hitler).

So, seeing that this election is probably not even going to be close...I withhold my judgement on the intelligence of the American people.

>Furthermore Fahrenheit 9/11 was the >largest documentary ever.

The film was marketed as a "controversial movie" and/or "propaganda phenomenon". That is what made people, pro-Bush or anti-Bush, go see the film. Pro-Bushies who paid to see the film would beg to differ with you about the box office receipts being an indication that the film was truthful or "not disgraceful". Many anti-Bushies who saw the film have responded like Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens to it...that is, they declare it not to be documentary at all.

>That should count for something.

Actually, it counts as one man's projected opinion...which may not even be his own real opinion, but rather an opinion that he knew would sell millions of theatre tickets from suckers. I went up to a line of F911 ticket buyers and casually said to each person that they were traitors who were funding propaganda that would convince people to kill more Americans. An old couple got out of line. The others just sheepishly and angrily looked away mumblings things like "I don't have to listen to this." - That is right, agree with the film before you see it and say "I don't have to listen to this" when someone presents an alternative viewpoint. And above all: Assume that being a Democrat means changing your mind about the Iraq War because it seems to be the party platform these days...and you cannot be a Democrat and be against the party platform...oh wait...John Kerry and John Edwards voted for the Iraq War and are not saying they regret that decision??

What kind of campaign exists where the leading Democratic candidates cannot admit to holding the main opinion that 99% of their supporters expect to vote for them about?

Kerry is not against the Iraq War people. He voted for it and stands by that vote. The Iraq War is officially not an issue in this election. So why are 99% of Kerry supporters anti-liberation fanatics? At least in 1972, McGovern was a rabid anti-war fanatic and said so every day. We now have a sick situation where Kerry is trying a "stealth" campaign: let everyone and their brother say they wish Saddam was still in power...but not say so himself.

posted by: Jennifer Peterson on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

And have you noticed that NO (meaning zero) journalists are pushing Kerry to unequivocally state his opinion on F911? Is that a "free press?" Or is it something else?

posted by: Jennifer Peterson on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

FU chris lehane

posted by: Delron Peterson on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

all i have to say is that it is fair to fight fire with fire........if Michael Moore is willing to fling misinformation around and to threaten people when they attempt to use their freedom of speech to tell the truth about his blatant lies and sneaky misinformation, maybe its about time someone started hitting him right where it sick of hearing about his b.s. liefest{Farenhite 9/11} cause its nothing but that.......b.s. and lies

posted by: Mike Battista Sr. on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

If Moore's film is full of deceits than the entire mainstream American media is one giant deceit. Ambush journalism is necessary when the media has been silenced or shut out.
And Americans aren't that dumb, slightly more than half voted for Gore, and millions have gone to see the movie. Jennifer do you think the people in line were reacting not to your "alternative viewpoint" but to your accusations of traitorism. Talk about dumb.
Just checked and F911 has dropped to seventh. Of the six movies ahead of it, one is about a super-spy (american). Talk about deceit. Haven't found Osama yet and took over two years to find a broken old dictator in a hole in the ground. Three are about superheroes. Get real America. The only heroes I see are Michael Moore and about a thousand dead soldiers, ( in coffins they didn't want us to see.)
And who the hell cares about Lehane.

posted by: Canuck on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but rather that fighting each other over who's right and who's wrong, shouldn't we look for the truth ourselves and make our country a better place? Look for info on both sides, and not base your opinion on some other person's opinion. Look for all the good things and the bad resulting from whatever decision the president or anyone else in charge has made and evaluate what good has come off it. Learn to think for yourselves and listen to each other instead of being blind or deaf and continue to bash each other like fanatics. Look at what it's doing to your country, you're being torn in 2, calling each other traitors, destroying the very things that made the United States great. Look at yourselves, some of you supporting things like the so-called "Patriot Act" which pretty much strips you of all your privacy (if you don't know what the Patriot Act is, you are really badly informed), which is a result of an unnatural fear of terrorism. Would you rather have an almost dictatorship just to feel a little safer at night? And not just that, but you have 2 candidates constantly attacking each other, making you people continue to fight like this.

I saw Farenheit 9/11, I found some of the things there to be true, others I found no evidence on so I can't say if they're lies or not. You might be wondering what is my position on the war, so here it is: I hate war, I don't agree with it under any circumstance except defending your own country. Now, did Saddam hate the US? Of course he did, but that doesn't necessarily mean he was going to attack. He did need to be removed, I'll give you that. But in my opinion, this war is being handled very wrong, to say the least.

Bush and Kerry are letting the people tear each other apart and Moore is fueling the fire. What kind of good president would allow this to happen? And us as citizens, why do we continue to fight like this? Ours is a great country, but our government stinks. Both parties are rotten, where did our great presidents go? We shot them.

posted by: Ricky on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Want to see Michael Moore's face on a urinal mat? Go to

Bwaaa haaa haaa haaa!

posted by: Ralph on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Hi Folks,
Check out the "free" Michael Moore urinal target on It really is free {just a very small S.&H charge.} It looks great. It has bubble eye's with movable pupils. It's "hella funny" I'm going to send some out for X-mas to a few liberals that I know just because I think they will get a laugh out of it.

posted by: Lou Causley on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

I feel like that Michael Moore should be ashamed of his self. He has no respect for our country or our president. I think if he feel this way about our country then he needs to go over to the enemy, we sure don't need him here! Is that Communism?

posted by: Sharon on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

Thank God somebody has the balls to tell the truth about georgie boy and company. Walking up to a congressman and asking him if their son or daughter are enlisted and being shund cracked me up completely. Why aren't the bush twins in the military???Oh I forgot daddy took care of them like his daddy took care of him. If it's so patriotic enlist girls. Impeach bush

posted by: gaylenbernicky on 07.01.04 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

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