Jewish World Review June 28, 2004 / 9 Tamuz, 5764
The evolution of Michael Moore
The evolution of Michael Moore's new film is fascinating to watch. After winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival, Moore returned triumphantly to Hollywood and made this statement to reporters on June 9:
"We want the word out. Any attempts to libel me will be met by force. The most important thing we have is the truth on our side. If they persist in telling lies, then I'll take them to court."
"Them" were critics who were questioning the accuracy of Moore's charges against the Bush administration. "Truth" is rock-solid information, which, apparently, Moore was sure that he possessed.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to the cineplex. The 9/11 commission findings clashed with Moore's thesis that the Bushies had done something dastardly immediately after the attack by letting a bunch of Saudis, including members of the Bin Laden family, fly out of the U.S.A. while everybody else was grounded.
Apparently, that is not true, at least according to the FBI and the commissioners, none of whom were jurors at the Cannes Film Festival.
So by June 20, Moore had "evolved" a bit, as many in Hollywood tend to do. He said this on an ABC news program: "[The movie] is an Op-Ed piece. It's my opinion about the last four years of the Bush administration. And that's what I call it. I'm not trying to pretend that this is some sort of, you know, fair and balanced work of journalism."
No mention of truth this time, but, as responsible columnists know, all Op-Ed pieces are supposed to be grounded in truth, and facts should be cited in backing up one's opinion. Uh-oh.
But just when Moore was foundering in a sea of skepticism, New York Times critic A.O. Scott came to the rescue with this assessment of Moore's film: "It might more accurately be said to resemble an editorial cartoon."
In the space of two weeks, the Moore movie had gone from truth to opinion to cartoon, albeit an editorial one.
But the hits just keep on coming. Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan wrote this about "Fahrenheit 9/11": "It is propaganda, no doubt about it, but propaganda is most effective when it has elements of truth."
So we're back to the truth, now garnished with "elements."
I have seen the first half of Moore's movie, and here's the deal: It's slick propaganda that indicts President Bush for a variety of things, using cut-and-paste video interspersed with the opinions of far-left people like Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington State and John Conyers of Michigan. For me, the first 60 minutes were tedious, but I have to interview guys like that every day, so I'm jaded.
Any skilled filmmaker, and Moore is that, could fashion a movie making any American look like a pinhead. That's easy to do. Just get a bunch of video, some people who hate the guy, some factoids that may or may not be true, heat it up with sardonic rhetoric and serve. Presto, "Fahrenheit 9/11."
So let's stop with the nonsense. If you want to pay $10 to see Moore carve up the President, knock yourself out. But don't be calling me up telling me about truth, or elements thereof. This is rank propaganda, and the American public is welcome to it. It will not evolve any further.
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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the
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© 2004 Creators Syndicate