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The Cowardice of Michael Moore

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Lots of writers are stepping up to point out the lies and gross distortions in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11; here’s Melanie Phillips’ take: Farragoheit 9/11.

Moore would have you believe that the terrorist threat to America was all invented by President Bush in order to serve his friends’ financial interests. Forget 9/11. Forget all the evidence that persuaded Bush’s predecessor, President Clinton, of the threat from rogue states combining with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Moore believes this threat was entirely fabricated by President Bush, and all those Americans who believed it are made to look stupid.

Indeed, what is so striking is the deep contempt Moore has for his fellow Americans, and the bottomless regard for himself. For Mooreland is populated by the stupid, credulous or corrupt — except, or course, for Michael Moore.

And then we get to Iraq. Here the film’s lies turn disgusting. For pre-invasion Iraq is portrayed as a happy, relaxed place with carefree, smiling people — until the Americans start dropping bombs on it for no good reason. There’s no mention whatever of the terror inflicted on the Iraqi people by Saddam, the hundreds of thousands killed or tortured by his regime.

No mention that, way before George W Bush, the Clinton administration was convinced that Saddam and al Qaeda were linked. Instead, just grisly pictures of the casualties of war, the gross exploitation of the grieving mother of a dead soldier, and the lie that Saddam never killed or threatened any American (presumably the assassination attempt on George W’s father during a visit to Kuwait in April 1993 doesn’t count). And all punctuated by manipulated footage of the current President designed to present him as moronic or malign.

Exactly so. Another good new site devoted to specifically fact-checking Moore is Fahrenheit Fact.

I saw the film today, and yes, it’s amazingly mendacious. Since there are already so many others doing a great job of debunking “Two Cheeseburgers” Moore, I’d like to write about an aspect of the film that nearly pulled me in—and ended up making me furious at Moore.

Moore knew he would have to deal with the actual 9/11 attacks somehow; so after the long, boring intro explaining how Bush stole the 2000 election (please, moonbats, stop with this already), we see the footage of the 9/11 atrocities.

Well, actually no—we don’t. Moore cuts to a black screen, and plays only the sounds of the attacks, before an extended montage of drifting ashes and papers, artfully floating through the air while mournful music plays.

At first, I thought this was a clever and effective way to evoke the memories of the worst terrorist attack on US soil.

And then, the question occurred to me: why would someone who clearly understands the power of images choose not to show the most powerful images of our time?

Because Moore knew that if he showed those images, which have been mostly absent from media for almost 3 years, he ran the risk of awakening the anger and feelings of intense danger we all experienced that day.

And that was a risk he could not run—because it could very well spoil the tone of the rest of the film, and expose him for the smirking, unserious buffoon he is.

After the blank screen 9/11 section of the film, he cuts almost immediately to scenes from talk shows, with bumbling people trying to sell anti-terrorism gadgets, and interviews several anti-Bush talking heads about the “climate of fear” that the Bush administration imposed on the country.

Moore is a canny filmmaker. He realized that if he segued immediately to this snarky, derisive viewpoint after showing people jumping to their deaths from the top of the World Trade Center, some of the Moore Koolaid drinkers might feel twinges of conscience; they might remember what it felt like to see the largest buildings in New York City collapse, crushing and ripping apart the bodies of thousands of their fellow Americans. Some of them might even start to come out from under Moore’s cinematic spell, if such an ugly reality were allowed to intrude.

They might get mad. And some of them would be mad at him.

So Moore, cowardly to the bottom of his hateful little shriveled soul, cut to a black screen.

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 Frank says:

All right, Zubin, hit it! -- Frank's onstage cue to conductor Zubin Mehta during their collaborative effort with the L.A. Philharmonic orchestra in 1970