Fahrenheit 911: Much political media preaching to the choir, U-M prof says
F911 Blog: In an interview with Ann Schimke, Ann Arbor News
, article entitled, "Much political media preaching to the choir, U-M prof" you stated:
> Fahrenheit 911 will have little effect on the outcome
> of the election for two reasons:
> One, the audience is very self-selective. People know
> what they're going to see when they go see a Michael
> Moore movie. So it's not changing a lot of people's
> The other reason is it's happening so far in advance
> of the actual election that lots of things will happen
> in between now and the election when Michael Moore's
> movie is no longer in theaters.
> I was surprised that you stated Fahrenheit 911 will
> have little effect on the outcome of the election due
> to the timing of the films theatrical release.
> The Fahrenheit 911 DVD is scheduled for September.
> Doesn't this negate reason number 2?
> Following the logic - won't the DVD release have an
> effect on the election? Voters will have opportunities
> to watch the film for free or rent it down the street
> for pocket change. If so, to what degree do you
> think the film will effect the election? If not, why
Nick Valentino: You make a good point. However, the research in this general area (not on Faranheit 911 in particular, or even on Moore's larger body of work) suggests that people who are persuadable at this point (who might still change their minds) would be less likely to see Moore's movies. It is, however, nearly impossible to determine the impact of a particular message (such as a movie) in the noisy environment leading up to a presidential election.
The movie may have some impact, but of course Fox News is on the air every night, and pushes in the opposite direction politically speaking. In the end, what Moore's movie may have done is kept the focus of the campaign on the war on terror. But I am not sure that is good for the Democrats, since that is the only issue on which Bush currently performs better than Kerry in national surveys. In any case, it will be an interesting Fall!
Associate Professor University of Michigan
Associate Professor, Department of Communications Studies
Faculty Associate, Center for Political Studies