Michael Moore's mendacity documented - Jay Maynard

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Saturday, 10 July 2004


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0650 - Michael Moore's mendacity documented

Those who consider Fahrenheit 9/11 to be more than left-wing political propaganda intended to smear President Bush in the middle of a campaign should rush right over to Dave Kopel's web site and check out his article, Fifty-Nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11.

Kopel carefully documents 59 instances of deceitfulness, if not outright lying, by the filmmaker. Kopel's conclusion is that the first part of the film (about Bush, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan) is "so permeated with lies that most of the scenes amount to lies". The second part, about the USA PATRIOT Act, arguably presents useful information. (For the record, I've never been comfortable with the PATRIOT Act's clear infringements on civil liberties.) Some parts of the third portion, on Iraq, are outright falsehoods; others, while not blatant lies, are so extremely one-sided that the overall picture of the Iraq War is false.

Moore certainly has the right to make whatever movie he wishes, especially if he can convince gullible leftists to give him lots of money to be preached at and lied to. (A curious thing for someone who hates capitalism to do, but that's a separate rant.) I certainly wouldn't dignify the work as documentary, however, as it's not truth, but propaganda. It's no more documentary than the films Stalin had the great director Sergei Eisenstein make before WWII.

current mood: [mood icon] awake

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Comments:


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From:zoyx
Date: - 0000
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Concerning the capitalist comment, I guess you need money to fight greed. He now has money for his next film!! Maybe he can fire up his own distributing company and not rely on weak kneed companies like Disney. Plus Mike is in favor of pirating his film.

Concerning your Stalin comment, I must slap you with Godwin's Law on that one.
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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Well, if neither Moore nor his distributor opposes downloading it, then I can do so with no feelings of guilt. It's certainly the only way I'll see it, since I'm not about to give him any of my money.

Godwin's Law cites Hitler, not Stalin, but I'll give you that one. It was another case of using hyperbole to make a point.
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From:zoyx
Date: - 0000
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Stalin, Franco, Mussolini, Napoleon, Cromwell, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, and Chairman Mao and the regimes they led are pretty much the same as Hitler and his Nazis, just different flavors.
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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All too true. The effects on their citizenry are almost indistinguishable.
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From:foolscap001
Date: - 0000

Pretty safe move, I'd think...

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The True Believers won't pirate the film; they want him to get money. The people who would pirate it wouldn't be buying a ticket anyway.
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From:michaelmink
Date: - 0000
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It's worth noting that neither, for example, Aleksandr Nevskii, nor Ivan the Terrible, were documentaries as such. They were clearly historical fiction, designed to be slanted, of course, for a particular point of view. In fact, Nevskii was put on the shelf between late '39 and mid '41, during the period of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, so as not to bruise German feelings. Stalin had a habit of flyspecking a lot of Soviet film production in those days, and he would, in fact, greatly interfere in Eisenstein's follow-up to Ivan the Terrible, which was never completed.

There were, of course, "documentaries" made in Soviet Russia, but the films that Eisenstein made before WWII don't fall under that category.

P.S. Nevksii rocks. It's a great film, even if lousy history.

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From:jmaynard
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I've wanted to see them ever since reading Red Storm Rising...Clancy has the Soviets using broadcasts of restored copies of the movies - with, in particular, Nevsky having its score really punched up - to inflame the passions of the Soviet citizenry prior to going to war. Kinda like Moore is using his falsehoods to inflame the American left.
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From:michaelmink
Date: - 0000
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Considering it was Prokofieff who did the score for the film...! (I thought it might be Shostakovitch, but I looked it up on IMDB).
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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The score, in Clancy's book, was rerecorded by the Moscow State Symphony and chorus especially for the rebroadcast. "They did true justice to Prokofiev's evocative score."

...and, on the next page,


Finally, the people mobilized themselves, especially the peasants.

Vstavaitye, lyudi russkiye,
na slavny boi, na smyertny boi ...

"Damn!" Toland sat forward. "They really punched that song up." The soundtrack was almost perfect, even accounting for the satellite transmission difficulties.

Arise, you Russian People,
in a just battle, in a fight to the death:
arise, you people free and brave,
defend our fair native land!
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From:shelbystripes
Date: - 0000
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Yeah, Eisenstein's films were not documentary--though they were often seen as parallel to other Russian events. This is why "Ivan the Terrible Part Three" was never made--Ivan was supposed to represent Stalin, and given how honest Eisenstein was being in his portrayal, Stalin supposedly really didn't want to see how Part Three would turn out... hence the shutdown of Part Three and Eisenstein's death a short while later.

I will add that those wishing to compare F911 to blatantly-biased documntaries might do better comparing it to "Triumph of the Will" or the American "Why We Fight"--both of which, as biased as they are, are still considered "documentary film".

I think this is kind of a red herring, in fact, and kind of harmful to any efforts to refute Moore's film. Any energy spent on whether or not Moore's film should be considered a documentary distracts from the debate over the contents of his documentary, and only makes those who are fervently rebutting Moore to look kinda crazy and desperate to smear him with whatever they can. They'd be better off just letting it be called a documentary and then attacking its content purely.
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From:howardtayler
Date: - 0000
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I read about that same mendacity in "Bowling for Columbine" and it really was atrocious. It made me sick to my stomach.

If you think the current "powers-that-be" are lying, and you want to affect change, it's NOT okay to "expose" them by telling more lies. HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHO TO VOTE FOR???

Moore makes me sick. The only worthwile thing he's done was that first film where he was trying to find the GM CEO. Everything after that has been tainted by the same compromises of truth that he accuses his subjects of.
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From:foolscap001
Date: - 0000

Roger and Me, untainted?

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Um, I don't think so. From sfgate.com:

"Moore shows this sorrow in disturbing detail, but Roger and Me states that the 1986 closings eliminated 30,000 jobs in Flint, when the number was closer to 5,000. Roger and Me also uses footage to imply that Ronald Reagan visited Flint after the 1986 closings, when he told residents they should think about moving to another city to find work. Reagan did say that, but it was apparently in 1979, when he was a White House candidate, not a sitting president."

You might also wish to take a look at "Michael Moore, Humbug".

Oh, BTW: some sites refer to Michael Moore as growing up in Flint, Michigan. He actually was born and grew up in Davison, definitely not a blue-collar town. See this article on an Australian web site for this and more info.
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From:howardtayler
Date: - 0000

YAY!

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I'm all too happy to stand corrected on this one. It shows that, rather than a good guy being corrupted by success, he's been a corrupt guy from the beginning of his public life.

Yay!


From:andryeevna
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Ah, but were you told the truth by the critics about Bowling for Columbine? Or did you believe it at face value and stop looking?

Here is a good defense of Michael Moore about the critisms of Bowling for Columbine.
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From:jmaynard
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The defense seems to me to be largely excusing Moore's distortions as "standard filmmaking techniques". The problem here is that Moore's not making a standard film. He's, supposedly, documenting the truth, and thus should be held to a more rigorous standard.

Yes, I'm biased in this regard. I'm a Benefactor Life Member of the NRA. I was thoroughly offended by Moore's claim that the average NRA member would choose him as president of the organization over Charlton Heston. I wouldn't vote for him for dog catcher; I'd vote for Heston as long as he chose to run, and am deeply saddened by his departure from office due to Alzheimer's. Heston, in a very real sense, revitalized the NRA.

I believe the Second Amendment means exactly what it says by "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." (Emphasis mine.) It's a basic principle of law that the same words mean the same thing throughout a document. If, as is commonly argued, this protects (note: the Supreme Court has held that the Bill of Rights does not grant rights, but instead recognizes rights that are inherent in being free citizens (or, if you prefer, granted by one's Creator); thus, repealing them would not revoke the rights they recognize) only the right of the government to form a National Guard, then the First Amendment only protects the right of the government to run newspapers, and the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure is simply nonsensical.

Moore claims to be a gun rights supporter. He's not. He fails to understand that the Second Amendment is not about hunting.
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From:zoyx
Date: - 0000
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I haven't seen F9/11 yet, but I did see Bowling. He uses the same technique that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk use. They use one specific event to prove a broad generality. Very irritating. The other thing that bothers me is the fear mongering. The Bush administration is the king of this technique, although Mr. Moore uses it as well. Fear mongering in this case means, scaring people into doing something that you want.
From:andryeevna
Date: - 0000
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Hey, I don't mean to rain on your Michael Moore bashing parade.

But you might want to look up his sources for the movie.

I think the 59 instance of deceitfulness fall apart.
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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Kopel has updated his page with responses to Moore's page, with links to Moore's responses, and comments on them. In most of those cases, Moore's response doesn't really address the core of Kopel's criticism. In the rest, Moore doesn't respond at all.
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From:foolscap001
Date: - 0000

Another interesting article...

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Check out this article in the Sunday Mail QLD (I presume QLD = Queensland).

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