Friday, June 18

Fahrenheit 9/11: the pre-release punch from the right

The following is one of a series of posts at Terrette on Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
"Move America Forward," a facade for the political public relations firm Russo Marsh and Rogers, which in the 2001/02 electoral cycle received $2,475,223 in payments from Republican politicians and nothing from Democrat politicans, is trying to dissaude theaters from showing Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, set to be released this Friday, June 25. In a statement from the group, we read that:

"Michael Moore has the right to free speech. He has the right to make this movie. But, you know what? We, the American people, have a right to raise our objections to his crass anti-American jihad."
The group then says that Moore's film "should be shown at the Democrat National Convention or as an Al Qaeda training video before it's shown at our local cinema."

An Al Qaeda training video? Here is a group that really takes the "with us or against us" logic to its extreme. For them, we have a simple choice: it's either praise the Bush Administration or join an Al Qaeda training camp. Between the Bush White House and a Bin Laden firing range, they see no middle ground.

Consider the simplistic passion of these people. They actually view themselves as fighting Al Qaeda by opposing the public viewing of Moore's film. Here is the page where they provide phone numbers and e-mail addresses that we are supposed to use, to harrass theaters into not showing Moore's film. (Following Charles 2, who originally drew my attention to this "Stop Michael Moore" page, I encourage everyone to contact some of these theaters to do precisely the opposite. We should praise them for not cowering to the intimidation and threats of those who fear voices of patriotic dissent.)

Bill O'Reilly, one of the most popular T.V. news personalities in America, walked out through half of the premiere of Moore's film and, later, to his radio audience, likened Moore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels - author of the "Big Lie" theory of political communication: "Joseph Goebbels was the minister of propaganda for the Nazi regime and whose very famous quote was, 'If you tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.'"

This quote obviously fits better the Bush Administration's undying claim that there is a "relationship" or "contact" or whatever word they want to use to perpetuate the lie that Iraq was supportive of Al Qaeda, since this deceitful claim has been debunked by a number of independent investigators, including the 9/11 Commission, while every factual claim within Moore's film has been rigorously fact-checked and upheld by independent researchers. A New York Times article reports that, "[Moore] ... hired outside fact-checkers, led by a former general counsel of The New Yorker and a veteran member of that magazine's legendary fact-checking team, to vet the film."

Moreover, a writer for Fox News has praised the film, and this fact should at the very least startle the vehement pro-Bush forces who are preaching a will-to-ignorance with respect to Moore's film.

A larger question in this whole struggle over the public viewing of a documentary concerns the desire to suppress information. When will those who try to prevent others from reading books and watching movies realize that such efforts are always self-defeating, as they inevitably excite interest in the stigmatized work?