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Moore Getting Mixed Reviews from 'Liberal Media'

23. June 2004 • Ari Paul
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Here is what some of the critics are saying about Fahrenheit 9/11, the new movie from Michigan native Michael Moore.

Christopher Hitchens writes in

“To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of “dissenting” bravery.”

The New York Times weighs in:

“Mostly, though, he sifts through the public record, constructing a chronicle of misrule that stretches from the Florida recount to the events of this spring. His case is synthetic rather than comprehensive, and it is not always internally consistent. He dwells on the connections between the Bush family and the Saudi Arabian elite (including the bin Laden family), and while he creates a strong impression of unseemly coziness, his larger point is not altogether clear.”

The Nation, always supportive, says:

“Moore alleges no conspiracies. He merely says that Bush has motives beyond those he’s willing to state. To make this case, Moore begins by showing that the Bush family in general, and George W. in particular, have received lavish support over the years from the Saudi elite, including the bin Ladens, and have offered valuable help in turn. Unlike the actualities footage that Moore uses in the film, these facts are by now widely known—although it was news to me that Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador, had dined with Bush at the White House on September 13, 2001. In speculating about this dinner, and about the subsequent airlifting out of the United States of more than a hundred Saudis when everyone else was grounded, Moore goes only so far as to say that the overwhelmingly Saudi makeup of the September 11 attack teams could have proved embarrassing to Bush. He would not have wanted journalists just then to begin looking into his personal ties to Saudi interests, or to ask whether any useful information had emerged from the two dozen bin Ladens who had been in the country, and whom he soon spirited away without the indignity of questioning.”

The Village Voice opines:

“If Moore is formidable, it’s not because he is a great filmmaker (far from it), but because he infuses his sense of ridicule with the fury of moral indignation. Fahrenheit 9/11 is strongest when that wrath is vented on Bush and his cohorts. Let us not forget that Dana Carvey did more than anyone in America, save Ross Perot, to drive Bush père from the White House. There are sequences in Fahrenheit 9/11 so devastatingly on target as to inspire the thought that Moore might similarly help evict the son. ”

Fahrenheit 9/11 will open at the Michigan Theater on Thursday at Midnight.

  1. Here is a link to a very good look into similar issues with his last film, Bowling for Columbine.

    He is the Rush Limbaugh of the left, forget logic and fact, and make innuendo and conjecture.
       —Just a Voice    Jun. 24 '04 - 04:11PM    #
  2. “a link to a very good look”.......More like a link to a very good look at a nutcake’s perspective.
    (but, hey, you can get your very own Charleton Heston Bible Video Collection via the site. WooHoo.)
    JAV, I really don’t know how to respond to people like you (J.S., help me out here.) My guess is you get your news from Fox network. All I can say is, regardless of whether you like Micheal Moore or not, do you really think we would be seeing our soldier sons and daughters come home in body bags if people like Moore had power? Whether he’s a liar or not (I personally believe he is not,) he’s trying to help the American people not kill them.
       —Kate    Jun. 25 '04 - 12:35PM    #
  3. uh, that would be Michael not Micheal Moore. Oops.
       —Kate    Jun. 25 '04 - 12:41PM    #
  4. I would gather that most of you can decipher fact from fiction, yes? Moore’s views depicted on film are a meld of the 2. Take from it what you will, and leave the rest to the naive among us. Maybe you may even learn a thing or two (albeit through cross referencing :P )
       —Geoff    Jun. 25 '04 - 02:21PM    #
  5. Generally, I’ve known JAV to be a leftist, not a Fox hound.
    However, having seen Bowling for Columbine a couple of times now, I don’t think that a lot of the right’s backlash understands the point of the movie, just like I don’t think that a lot of the people who support it have taken such a good look at it either.
    One problem is that “Columbine” in the title, like “9/11” in this one, that makes everyone think it’s more exploitative than it actually is, and that it’s not really on a point in the liberal/conservative line.
    Bowling for Columbine, which that site doesn’t seem to get, isn’t about promoting gun control or going out of its way to be unfair to Charlton, it’s about questions about America’s relationship with guns. It repeatedly asks if there are cultural reasons why we have more deaths per capita, which we do, than countries like Canada and Switzerland, which have commiserate firearm ownership. Moore makes it very obvious that it is his opinion that the culture is the cause, but even when I don’t agree 100%, I think calling him a Limbaugh is unfair.
    But hey, that’s just my take on it.
       —js    Jun. 25 '04 - 06:23PM    #
  6. I just saw F911 last night. I was pleasantly surprised by the pacing and presentation. In a departure from Moore’s usual style, cynical sarcasm is replaced with sharp wit. The overall structure of the movie is two-thirds news round-up, reminding us of the events and facts, and showing how they tie together.

    I feel almost as if Moore has ‘come of age’ as a documentarian with this film. There’s also enough new juicy (but necessary) footage to make it intriguing—Bush’s infamous My Pet Donkey reading session after the WTC attacks began, for instance.

    Like Moore or not, the film gets very important nuggets of information back into the public discourse (hopefully), and regardless of the wrapping or frosting on the nuggets, they still need to be addressed.

    Those are tempeh nuggets, btw. :p
       —Eric Goldberg    Jun. 26 '04 - 11:41AM    #
  7. I can’t see how anyone can spin those seven minutes after Bush heard about the planes crashing and doing nothing. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the look on his face was of complete dumbfoundment.

    He picked up a children’s book and started reading. Michael Moore didn’t need to editoralize that one. That says it all right there: Bush is an idiot and he has absolutely no idea how to run a country.
       —Jared Goldberg    Jun. 28 '04 - 11:54PM    #