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Thread: Fahrenheit 9/11

  1. #1
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    Fahrenheit 9/11

    I notice there is a DVD due to be released soon called "Fahrenhype 9/11" which is a rebuttal against Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11". I think this could be a sign of things to come -- docutainment makers engaging in ever-increasingly biased arguments against each other. This is just one thing which worries me about this style of film-making.

    It's no secret that I have some sympathy for many of Michael Moore's viewpoints, but I am quite uncomfortable about his style. I know Mr. Moore has reasons to support his method of only presenting one side of the story and in some ways I think he is right. But in the end, biased journalism is flawed journalism. I don't think it serves the public good or encourages rational debate by being so openly biased.

    Apparently, after "Bowling for Columbine" Mr. Moore employed a fact checker to make sure everything in Fahrenheit 9/11 was correct. I don't actually have an issue with the facts - it's the way they are presented. Mr. Moore uses a lot of demeaning comments when referring to President Bush and is openly hostile in his narration. Whether or not he is right (and I suspect he is dead right), insults are not constructive and are unlikely to change anyone's mind.

    I think Michael Moore would do better to let the facts speak for themselves and refrain from sticking the boot in with petty comments. Let's face it, the facts surrounding the 2000 Florida election result, Bush's response to 9/11, the lies surrounding the war with Iraq, and many other issues are so strong that they speak very well for themselves. I think the impact of these facts is actually lessened by adding emotive commentary.

    Having followed the public reaction to Fahrenheit 9/11 I am unconvinced that it has worked as Mr. Moore intended. Those who are unflinchingly supportive of President Bush simply dismiss Moore as a troublemaker. By appearing to be a complete dissenting radical, Mr. Moore makes it easy for closed-minded people to ignore him. He is detracting from the facts and giving ignorant people an easy excuse to write him off.

    And of course those who support the other side of the argument now feel that they have to respond in a similar fashion. I have no idea what "Fahrenhype 9/11" will be like but I have a scary feeling it will be every bit as one-sided as Fahrenheit 9/11. We can also look forward to the anti-Kerry documentary to screen shortly, which people are justifying as legitimate by saying "Michael Moore was allowed to do it".

    A worrying trend all round. Please, bring back objective journalism. We need it now more than ever.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  2. #2
    lyly
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    you're telling exactly what my thoughts were when i watched the movie. i didn't watch it until the end, because of the tone in wich moore commented, and also because of the poor cinematic qualities of the documentary. i do believe what he's saying is true, but he brings it in an unaesthetic, childish, sensation-seeking manner. it would have been a muche less irritating movie without that. i was the only one of the people i know that saw it, that didn't like it. so i am very glad to find an opinion similar to mine.

  3. #3
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    I was disgusted enough with Bowling for Columbine that upon that basis I did not see Farenheit 9/11. I too lean toward liberal and do not approve of the current Bush administration, but I also do not approve of shady methods or tactics even if I happen to sympathize with the conclusion.

    It is quite possible to lie with facts simply by framing them. I believe that documentary filmmaking -- especially for television -- has reached a fine art of being able to say almost anything with any source material, simply by editing and other contextual fabrications.

    Two examples, from my area of specialty here: moon landing hoax claims.

    There is a fine "mockumentary" made by an astute Canadian director called The Dark Side of the Moon. It is essentially a study in film viewer gullibility. It presents a highly convincing case for having faked the moon landings, including admissions and discussions by H. Kissenger and other top government officials. At the end, director William Karel drops the bombshell: you've been had. It's all a fabrication. The interviews were scripted (outtakes provided) and the stock footage was cut and augmented with voiceovers to convey an entirely wrong opinion. There were clues, if you had been paying attention. The "astronaut" witness, played by an actor, was named "David Bowman" and the cosmonaut was "Dmitri Muffley". A government official was captioned as "Jack Torrance." Cinephiles recognize those names as characters or composites from the fictional films of Stanley Kubrick. The absurdity of a false moon landing was the premise on which Karel built his ambush. He wanted to see how far the audience would go with him, even when his program got patently fictional and ridiculous. A surprising number of people went with him, just because the format was something people don't habitually question. If you want to lie, and lie big, make a movie.

    Another comes from the website of a notorious conspiracy filmmaker, Bart Sibrel. One major misconception of space flight is that no manned spacecraft can make it through the protective Van Allen belts. Sibrel claimed (wrongly) that aside from Apollo no manned spacecraft had ever been farther than 400 miles from Earth, "proving" that it was an impassable barrier. I pointed out that two Gemini missions had gone to more than 1,000 miles from Earth (into the Van Allen belts) and that the Soviet Union flew a mission in 1968 that sent two turtles and some other specimens around the moon and back to Earth again, and everything survived. Sibrel later deceptively qualified his statement, saying that no such flights had occurred in "the past 30 years". That's technically correct since all those flights occurred more than 30 years ago, but the average reader will still interpret the statement to mean that no man has ever flown into the Van Allen belts.

    One level of honesty is involved in making sure that everything you've said is factually correct. There is better level of honesty that means you've said everything that's factually correct.

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