Monday, August 09, 2004

Green Left Weekly (Australia) : Michael Moore's media critics are the liars

by Rohan Pearce

Most commentators in the Australian corporate media, whether the unashamedly hard-right terriers of the Murdoch empire or the “liberal” chihuahuas of the Fairfax press, have subjected Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 to relentless attack.

They are not alone in doing so — they have simply joined the worldwide anti-Moore crusade of all those who have spent the past three-and-a-half years peddling the lies used to justify Washington's “war on terror”.

For the arch-right-wingers, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a foul piece of anti-war propaganda. For the professional liberals, the documentary goes too far because, although Moore's political agenda goes little beyond a left-liberal critique of the Bush administration's policy, it takes on Washington's post-9/11 foreign policy in a manner that disregards the bounds of “respectable” dissent. Both try to dismiss Moore's critique of the “war on terror” as baseless.

“As far as I can tell, it is a farrago of conspiracy theories”, Richard Cohen wrote in the July 1 Washington Post. Cohen complained: “The case against Bush is too hard and too serious to turn into some sort of joke, as Moore has done. The danger of that is twofold: It can send fence-sitters moving, either out of revulsion or sympathy, the other way, and it leads to an easy and facile dismissal of arguments critical of Bush.”

David Leigh argued in the August 3 British Guardian that while Fahrenheit 9/11 is an “exhilarating movie”, it is “in documentary terms at least, a fraud”. In the July 27 Sydney Morning Herald, the Sydney Institute's Gerard Henderson argued that while “Fahrenheit 9/11 is a clever film and Moore is a gifted and, at times, amusing storyteller”, “many of the film's conspiracy theories have been discredited”.

But for all the snide asides about Moore's work being inaccurate, none of the critics have found incontestable errors of fact in the film. The accuracy of some Fahrenheit's key claims — dismissed as “conspiracy theories” by media pundits — stand up a lot better than the accuracy of the critics.

(click on the title for the whole article)

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