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Michael Moore, Filmmaking, and the Truth

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

July 1, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's latest documentary film, uses spliced footage, sneak attack interviews, and an emotionally draining segment on a mother's loss of her soldier son in Iraq to attack the Bush Administration.

Mr. Moore has a history of effectively employing these techniques to tell a story, with significant emphasis on the word "story."

Using the documentary style lends an air of credibility to Mr. Moore's movies, but no more reality than famed director Rob Reiner in This is Spinal Tap, a hilarious send-up of an outdated English heavy metal band.

Mr. Moore uses several tactics that expose him and his film to legitimate criticism. In one scene, he uses satellite footage of President Bush reading to a group of elementary school-age children, before and after Chief of Staff Andrew Card informs him of the second airliner attack on the World Trade Center.

The President looks stunned, especially in the long minutes after Mr. Card's whispered warning that America was under attack. Mr. Moore uses the extended footage, and the President's pained expression while trying to seem comfortable surrounded by a room full of wide-eyed youngsters thrilled to share a classroom with him, as a way to make President Bush look foolish.

I think this ploy is despicable, and I think Michael Moore is an obnoxious jerk. His movies are self-indulgent, his politics form the basis of his filmmaking style and, in interviews, he comes across as the embodiment of the cultural elite.

In a recent interview on Fox News Channel The O'Reilly Factor, Mr. Moore expressed his personal desire to see tax rates for wealthy Americans set at 70%. He said he wasn't a socialist, although he saw much he liked about socialism. He argued for a Canadian-style health care system, dismissing the fact that hundreds of thousands of Canadian citizens flock across our border to get more immediate medical treatment.

He finds our "obsession" (his word) with our Judeo-Christian value system to be alarming. His take on the question of gun control is that no one should own a gun, and restricting gun rights makes people safer.

A few observations on the movie (?). If President Bush had jumped out of his chair, run from the room, and hustled onto Air Force One to fly back to Washington, Mr. Moore and his allies would have run footage of the frightened children and teachers, thrown into a panic at the hasty departure of the Commander-in-Chief.

The movie is essentially a commercial against George W. Bush, hence a commercial for John Kerry. Mr. Moore makes no bones about his hope that this film will lead to Bush's defeat in November.

Michael Moore, allied with billionaire George Soros and MoveOn.org, are involved in an organized and concerted effort to time the movie and publicity as a run-up to the Democratic Convention.

My frustration comes from listening to their invisible enabler, Terry McAuliffe, the Chairman of the Democratic Party, whine about the Republicans circumventing the McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill.

McCain/Feingold states that after July 31, 2004, it is illegal to run commercials without following Federal Election Commission guidelines. It is already a violation to accept corporate or foreign contributions.

So, let's see how well Mr. Moore has done with financing his anti-Bush 90-minute ad. He was funded by Lions Gate Film, a Canadian corporation. He accepted funding from several union and pro-Democrat front organizations. His 90-minute anti-Bush infomercial will run continuously through the early campaign season, without regard to the federal law John McCain and Russ Feingold worked so hard to enact.

His infomercial uses the image of President Bush, Senator Kerry, and several other prominent senators and representatives. Only an absolute idiot could watch the film and not perceive the obvious political bias.

One can only wonder that if a pro-Bush front organization had funded a documentary film about the behind-the-scenes planning and strategy leading up to the Iraq invasion, would Michael Moore, George Soros, and Terry McAuliffe have been so supportive of First Amendment expressions?

Michael Moore, singer Barbara Streisand, actor (?) Alec Baldwin, actor George Clooney, rocker Jon Bon Jovi, and actor Sean Penn embody a movement that risks collapsing on its own lack of credibility. All are Hollywood elitists who mistake their fame for a platform from which they can influence public policy in America.

Note to Michael Moore, Martin Sheen et al: We see that your fame comes from your ability to act like someone else, sing, or operate a video camera. We are willing to accept that you feel strongly about your own beliefs. We do NOT, however, have any interest in listening to what you think about other matters, especially when your hypocrisy speaks louder than your message.

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