Monday, July 05, 2004

On Fahrenheit 9/11

What I'd like to see discussed is why most movie reviewers liked the movie and said it was powerful and moving, while most political pundits on both sides say it was boring or mediocre. I kind of have an idea about which of those two groups knows more about film-making and the quality of the film, and I'm fairly sure it's not the political guys. Did "knowing" that the facts were fake or deceptive make it less powerful?

And I think it's obvious that the pundits, especially the liberal ones, wanted to disassociate themselves from Mr. Moore before they even saw the movie. It was a scripted spin-point to say that Moore was biased and didn't represent them. And the only issue was just how far they'd go to disassociate themselves from Moore. Paul Krugman mentioned this in a recent column, and I note that Krugman is one of the few pundits without a journalistic background, which is probably why he's often the only one not reading from the script.

Now, I haven't seen the movie, but I've read a partial transcript, and I can say that those disassociating themselves from the movie are being foolish. It is obvious that Moore makes a point to only bring up claims that are factually correct and purposefully avoids making conclusions on what those facts mean. But it's the facts that he brings up that pundits find unfair.

It's considered unfair and cheap to point out the fact of the Bin Laden Family/Bush Family connection. It's considered unfair to show Bush being doofy shortly before announcing that he was sending people off to kill, die, wound, and be wounded. And it's considered unfair to show Bush doing what he was doing a month before 9/11.

People attack specific numbers that he gives or insist (without evidence) that Bush must have been working more during that time, but they can't argue against the overall truthfulness of those claims. They chip away at the minor issues, and pretend that this destroys the bigger ones; but they do not. And it's the overall idea of all this that most pundits find most appalling, due to it's "unfair" nature.

But what in the hell does fairness have to do with anything? These are facts and Moore does not say that Bush is scum for doing these things. He is only bringing up facts and letting us be the judge of what it means. And if we the people judge that Bush is scum for doing that, isn't that our right? Who is the media to decide which facts are "fair" or "unfair" to mention? And isn't that the real reason that the pundits dislike the movie? They say it's boring and deceptive, but their true complaint is that Moore is doing what they see is their god given right, and doing it in a way they think is "unfair".

But I say enough of that. Fox News has given one contribution to journalism which should not be ignored: it is the reporter's job to report the facts, and let us decide what they mean. Fox doesn't actually do that, and now the pundits are attacking Moore for doing so. Well I say, enough with the pundits and gatekeepers. We need to take our media back. Their job should be to check the facts and report what they find, and let us do the rest.

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