Saturday, August 14, 2004

The Miami Herald : 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Provokes Arab Reactions

Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is provoking strong Arab reaction. Kuwait banned it, Jordan tried to cut it, Syria has not decided, and Saudi commentators are denouncing it.

Many Arab moviegoers say with a twinge of envy that they wish the region, where free speech is for the most part restricted, had its own Moore. Some say it reinforces their bad image of the United States and shows Americans what their own media does not.

A few believe Moore is unfair to President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"When he condemned the war in Iraq ... he pictured it this way: Baghdad was happy and safe until cowboys Bush and Blair came," Saudi columnist Reem al-Saleh wrote in Kuwait's Al-Siyassah daily.

"He ignored 30 years of muscle-flexing invasions, villages massacred by chemical weapons ... millions of bodies, and mass graves. He has no right to hide the full truth."

Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990 and was driven out by the U.S.-led 1991 Gulf War. Many Kuwaitis are grateful to the United States and enduringly suspicious of Saddam.

Gianluca Chacra, whose Dubai-based company released the film in the Middle East, said attendance is at blockbuster proportions.

"We were quite scared that due to the Saudi content it might not pass," Chacra said.

In the United Arab Emirates, the information minister, in an unusual step, asked to see it first, then approved it. In Jordan, the censors insisted the Saudi content be cut, Chacra said. They later took the film to "higher authorities," who OK'd it in full, he added.

Kuwait banned the film on the spot, Chacra said. He did not bother showing it to the censors in Saudi Arabia, where there are no movie theaters, only videos.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Blur Magazine : F911 - He Said, She Said: An Interview by Howard Megdal

Howard Megdal: How does the opening sequence about the 2000 election frame the film for you, and does it coincide with your recollections of that time?

Shannon Stairhime: That was actually one of my favorite parts of the movie. It was just so whimsical...and most of the arguments made at this point were not all blatantly circumstantial or made via musical montage. I mean, we all remember that—the confusion, the wonderment. It was the beginning of what I would like to think of as our four-year stint as the comic relief of the world. I mean...they were all laughing at us. Oh, look. Big bad democratic Americans can't even elect a president without making a mess. It was like we were in some kind of spelling bee...and we got a three-syllable word, and instead of even trying to spell it, we just stood up there and pissed our pants. That's how it felt to me anyway. As far as F-9/11 is concerned, it was probably the least aggressive and most factual segment...and in that way was successful.

K. Walker: The opening sequence of the film, to me, helps to ease you into the real subject matter that it goes on to address. Everything addressed is extremely relevant, and if Moore had simply thrown the audience into the 9/11 attacks and everything that went wrong, it might have made it difficult for the audience to swallow. Furthermore, it fires up the audience before the real attack that Moore puts on President Bush and the current administration, which, is exactly what I believe he was aiming to do.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Friday, August 13, 2004

Indie Wire : Michael Moore to Get Political Again at Film Society's "Next Generation of Film" Series

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is taking a cue from the election season with this year's edition of its series, "The Next Generation of Film." Co-presented with the New York Times, the series will take place at the Walter Reade Theater September 10-12, coinciding with the third anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. The topic in the annual screening-and-discussion program is politics and will feature director Michael Moore as its guest as well as other issue-oriented features and conversations.

Gillo Pontecorvo's 1965 film, "The Battle of Algiers" will open the series Friday, September 10th. The film, which was a favorite of the Black Panther Party, and was a vehicle for counterinsurgency efforts around the world, gives a clear portrayal of the apparatus of a terrorist organization. The program will also investigate the film from other points of view, including its appeal as "an impassioned expression of left-wing fervor, and as a realistic portrait of the fight for Algerian independence from France." Details of the discussion part of this program will be announced later.

French director Jean-Pierre Gorin, who collaborated with Jean-Luc Godard on a series of films including "The Wind from the East" and "Tout va bien," probes the question of what constitutes political cinema. Gorin will attend the event to discuss his films, including ones made after his move to California. He will also explore the current cinematic and political environment. The discussion will include a screening, to-be-announced, and the conversation will follow between Gorin and the Film Society's Kent Jones.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Election 2004: "Farenheit 9/11" vs. "Kerry On Iraq"

We are entering a new age in politics based on the election related "Buzz" swirling around these two “documentaries, and the number of celebrities getting out and influencing voters. Making Election 2004 feel more like a popularity contest rather than a race for the presidency of the world most dominant country.

(PRWEB) August 13, 2004 -- It's for certain Election 2004 won't be up for any Oscars this year, however, the two documentaries shaping it will get my vote. In an effort to bring some excitement to this election is hosting an online battle between the now infamous documentaries depending on your political stance. In its own version of Rocky 2004 the challenger “Kerry on Iraq” will face off against “Fahrenheit 9/11 to determine which will have the greatest effect come election day"

We are entering a new age in politics based on the election related "Buzz" swirling around these two “documentaries, and the number of celebrities getting out and influencing voters. Making Election 2004 feel more like a popularity contest rather than a race for the presidency of the worlds' most dominant country. This election will be different from others in that it will be remembered for people voting based on emotion or rather then on merit. Some groups have even gone so far to try to make voting fashionable. I can't remember the last time what your wore had any impact on how you felt voting, but I do know one person who won't be getting my vote for male designer of the year.

What happened to candidates debating in public forums and sticking up for themselves instead of having their political groupies or wives doing all the dirty work? Maybe we should have Teresa vs. Laura in the race for the oval office, between the outspoken Laura Bush and Teresa Kerry (a.k.a. Shove It!) I am sure we would have a campaign to remember. Maybe they could get the men to come out and speak But for now since we can’t seem to have a ‘Mano a Mano’ campaign it looks like were stuck with a ‘Video a Video’ campaign. Maybe I'll just watch this year’s election when it hits the shelves at Blockbuster late November.

Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call for all America that we as a people need to revert back to some old fashioned politics and start demanding more from our leaders.

Edward Leon
(323) 363-5512

Tribune : Moore plays cheap shots

Editor, Index-Tribune:

With "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore has done an admirable job of once more exposing the lies and deception of the Bush administration. It also shows the true faces of war and the suffering that goes with it. It is difficult not to come from seeing this movie without being very angry or with a deep sadness which makes one cry.

However, I think to personally attack Bush and other members of the cabinet by making them look silly in a series of shots, which seemed to go on forever, was demeaning, not necessary and counterproductive. In my opinion, those were cheap shots.

In the movie, one of the soldiers interviewed says, "If you kill somebody, you kill a part of yourself." How true! I would like to add: If you demean somebody, you demean a part of yourself. That, unfortunately, is what Michael Moore has done.

Reiner Keller

`George W. Bush: Faith in the White' House Documentary Releases as Alternative to `Fahrenheit 9/11'

Non-Political Documentary Shows the Unseen Side of the Bush Faith-Based Presidency

DENVER, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Grizzly Adams Productions (GAP) announced today the release of its investigative documentary, "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House," as an alternative to Michael Moore's infamous and controversial documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

GAP's documentary on the President's faith released to the trade on DVD/VHS prior to its network TV debut in September and a possible Fall theatrical release.

"`George W. Bush: Faith in the White House' reveals a positive side of President Bush never reported by the news media through interviews with people who have encountered Bush in a faith-based way," says David W. Balsiger, the documentary's producer. "Our documentary reveals this is the most faith-based presidency since Abraham Lincoln."

In striking contrast to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" -- often described by reviewers as "Bush-bashing, incendiary, and manipulative" -- GAP's "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House" "clearly shows a caring, compassionate, faith-based President that the world has not seen before this documentary," countered Balsiger.

The "Bush Faith" full-length documentary feature balances credible research with candid testimony from both critics and presidential contacts that document Bush's extraordinary faith and prayer life.

(click on the title for the whole article)

'Fahrenheit 9/11' Director Could Visit Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Filmmaker Michael Moore could be coming to Nebraska.

Michael MooreA visit by the director of the Bush-bashing documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" is in the works by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student group. If approved, Moore would speak at the Pershing Center on Oct. 12.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" is the highest-grossing documentary every made.

The 20-member University Program Council reached an oral agreement with the talent agency booking Moore's October speaking tour -- which is expected to span more than a dozen college campuses.

Under a contract that still needs Moore's signature, the filmmaker will receive $40,000 from the group for the appearance. That's more than a third of the group's $135,000 annual budget.

University Program Council adviser Karen Wills said the council will likely recoup some expenses through ticket sales.

'Fahrenheit 9/11' opens in Tokyo

TOKYO — Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," which criticizes U.S. President George Bush and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, premiered in Japan at midnight Friday at a Tokyo theater. It was screened at Yebisu Garden Cinema in the capital's Shibuya Ward ahead of its nationwide release Aug 21.

At a special screening on Thursday night, the audience was asked to wear Michael Moore masks as they entered the theater. (Kyodo News)

U.S. Army, 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Distributors at War

Fri Aug 13, 2004 08:57 PM ET

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Just in case anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" needed any more controversy to fuel its hot box office, a new war of words broke out on Friday over whether the U.S. Army is stonewalling efforts to book the film at military bases.

But the organization that orders films for the 160 base theaters countered that it was the distributors -- Fellowship Adventure Group, IFC Films and Lions Gate Films -- that had the problem and noted they plan to stock base stores with the film's DVDs when they are released.

The movie, made by Oscar-winning director Michael Moore, has grossed over $113 million at domestic box offices and such a blockbuster would be routinely, and quickly, ordered up by the military.

But the movie presents a scathing view of President Bush's drive to war in Iraq, and it paints an unflattering view of the conduct of some U.S. military personnel. Although to be fair, many of the men and women fighting in Iraq are depicted as compassionate and caring.

Moore has made no secret of the fact he wants Bush ousted from office, and the film is undoubtedly anti-war.

"We have made all requested materials available to them, but unfortunately, a commitment to show the film has not been made," a Lions Gate spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for Fellowship Adventure Group claimed the military was stonewalling for obvious reasons.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

USA Today : Grown-up movies

Doug Desjardins is an ardent movie fan. But this summer has been especially enjoyable.

In the past month, he has seen Fahrenheit 9/11, Collateral, The Village and The Bourne Supremacy. Up next: The Manchurian Candidate.

"For a while, there was ... all this stuff aimed at teenagers or 'tweens," says Desjardins, 42, a writer in Carlsbad, Calif., who is intrigued by the summer slate of adult-themed movies. "But this summer, there are a lot of films I want to see."

Summer 2004 will go down as the season when youth-oriented Shrek 2 and Spider-Man 2 became two of the biggest box office winners of all time. But it's quietly becoming the summer of the grown-up movie.

Beneath the marketing hype luring young filmgoers to the latest blockbuster, Hollywood is quietly targeting older audiences with a surprisingly broad array of movies.

With $113 million in U.S. ticket sales so far, Fahrenheit 9/11 has more than quadrupled the previous record take for a documentary. Three of this week's top four box office winners —Collateral, The Bourne Supremacy and The Manchurian Candidate— are aimed at adults. And more than three dozen smaller films, documentaries and foreign imports are giving this season one of the largest collections of adult-themed offerings in four decades.

Grown-up movies

"The adult audience is usually left out in the cold during the summer," says Gitesh Pandya, editor of box office tracker "But Hollywood studios have put together one of the biggest menus for mature audiences in recent history."

(click on the title for the whole article)

Bill Maher : "Bush Blew It the Morning of 9/11"

John Kerry has waded into an issue raised by Michael Moore in his film "Fahrenheit 9/11," namely, President Bush's sitting for seven minutes in a Florida classroom after being told "the country is under attack." Republicans are waxing indignant, of course. But the criticism is richly deserved.

The fact that Bush wasted 27 minutes that day - not only the seven minutes reading to kids but 20 more at a photo op afterward - was, in my view, the most outrageous thing a President has done since Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court.

Watergate was outrageous but it still did not carry the possibility of utter devastation, like a President's freezing at the very moment we needed his immediate focus on an attack on the United States.

This is an issue about the ultimate presidential duty, acting in an emergency. If nothing else in Washington is nonpartisan, this should be.

But it is not. Republicans are tying themselves in knots trying to defend Bush's actions that morning. The excuses they put forward are absurd:

  • He was "gathering his thoughts." This was a moment a President should have imagined a thousand times. There is no time in the nuclear age for a President to sit like Forrest Gump "gathering thoughts" after an attack has begun. Gathering information is what he should have been doing.
  • From the White House press secretary: "The President felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening." I agree that gaining a better understanding of what was happening should have been his goal. What I don't get is how that goal was reached by just sitting there instead of getting up and talking to people. Is he a psychic? Was he receiving the information telepathically?
  • "He didn't want to scare the children." Vice President Cheney has said of Kerry, "The senator from Massachusetts has given us ample reason to doubt the judgment he brings to vital issues of national security." So Kerry's judgment is suspect, but at a moment of national crisis, Bush's judgment was: Better not to scare 20 children momentarily than to react immediately to an attack on the country!

If he had just said, "Hey, kids, gotta go do some President business - be good to your moms and dads, bye!" my guess is the kids would have survived.

I cannot see how someone who considers himself a conservative can defend George Bush's inaction. Conservatives pride themselves on being clear-eyed and decisive. They don't do nuance, and they respect toughness.

But Bush choked at the most important moment a President could have. We're lucky Al Qaeda had done its worst by the time he pulled himself away from the photo op. Next time, it might not be that way.

CBC Art News : Films that bash Bush fast becoming a genre

WASHINGTON - It looks like Michael Moore may have started something.

Moore's controversial Fahrenheit 9/11 takes U.S. President George W. Bush to task for the invasion of Iraq. It has been attacked for being unfair, but has also been a huge commercial success, becoming the top-grossing documentary of all time with more than $100 million US in receipts.

U.S. President George W. Bush

It won't, however, be the last movie from a filmmaker who has a bone to pick with Bush.

Sept. 17 will see the release of Silver City, the most recent effort from John Sayles, the director of Casa de los babys and Lone Star. It stars Chris Cooper as a Bush-like politician who runs for the governorship of Colorado.

The film's upcoming release was timed to affect the looming presidential election by making moviegoers think about politics.

"We felt like it was important to make this movie and get people thinking about it," the director said Wednesday at a National Press Club news conference.

Like Bush, Cooper's character – Dickie Pilager – is from a political family. He's also a born-again Christian who is, in the words of the director, "grammatically challenged."

Sayles has been working with progressive groups to promote the film, and he hopes the activist organization will join the cause.

Spike Lee, in the new film She Hate Me, also takes on Bush. The film's opening credits include an image of a three-dollar bill with Bush's picture on it, crowned by an Enron logo.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Hindustan Times : Undisciplined Dissent: Michael Moore's America

by Binay Kumar
California, August 12

Amidst the din of campaigning, propaganda and electoral politics, one name that has resounded across the political spectrum in the United States in recent days is that of Michael Moore whose latest work, Fahrenheit 9/11, has captured the imagination of millions across the world. Familiar though I have been with his name, I had not seen any of his controversial films. I, therefore, decided to sample it for myself before getting drawn into any argument over Moore or his method. I have many disagreements to write about but you have to give the devil his due: there is method in Moore’s madness!

The zealous righteousness that colours American discourse of every hue is perhaps the most enduring spectacle in this land of the free; and the logic used to justify arguments and validate allegations on the political left, right and even on the center is very often the first victim of this fanaticism. Every side stakes its claim upon ‘freedom’, sometimes breaching the limits of reason to secure their own version of the star spangled banner.

The theatrics of this American style freedom aside, what really interests me as an ‘outsider’ is the currency that is garnered by even the most fantastic of these political zealots. More often than not, there is always a fringe of fanatics on every side in every country. However, the particular wonder of America is the missionary ardor that afflicts everyone, and the authority that accompanies it. Lunacy and authority, it seems, are the strange bedfellows in America’s public conversation.

The Democrats are often considered more central of the two main political parties here. And one political activist who carries the authority of the Democratic Party (or at least the sympathies of its vast majority, including former President Carter who welcomed him to the convention last week), is Michael Moore. His intention might very well be laudable. However, his method is somewhat more questionable. Before I come to him, let me lay my own cards on the table. Like Moore, I disagreed with the America’s decision to go to war in Iraq, and I do agree with more vigorous gun control (I would actually prefer that guns be entirely removed from the hands of ordinary citizens). Nevertheless, I disagree with the way he goes about making his point.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Japan Today : DPJ's Okada recommends 'Fahrenheit 9/11' to Koizumi

TOKYO — Katsuya Okada, head of Japan's main opposition party, took a jab at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Thursday by calling on him to see Michael Moore's much-hyped and controversial film "Fahrenheit 9/11" which criticizes U.S. President George Bush and his war in Iraq.

"I'd like to recommend that Prime Minister Koizumi also see it," the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan said after watching a preview of the movie in Yurakucho. "It made me think of how the war is not only producing many casualties and divisions among the Iraqi people but also among people in the United States." (Kyodo News)

Michael Moore Refuses to Apologize to Illinois Paper

By E & P Staff

NEW YORK The small Illinois newspaper attempting to get an apology from filmmaker Michael Moore for allegedly misusing the paper in "Fahrenheil 9/11" said today it has gotten a rejection notice instead.

The Pantagraph of Bloomington, Ill., disclosed today that New York-based lawyer Devereux Chatillon of the law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal sent a letter to the Bloomington attorney representing the newspaper, stating Moore was within his legal right to use one of the newspaper's headlines in the movie and that no "copyright infringement" occurred. He cited several precedents.

This led The Pantagraph to conclude: "Moore apparently is not going to say he's sorry or pay the newspaper's light-hearted, if not symbolic, request for $1 in compensatory damages. But his company's lawyer was willing to spend 37 cents, to send a letter suggesting Moore did little wrong."

That letter claims Moore did nothing "misleading" when a headline from The Pantagraph ("Latest Florida recount shows Gore won election") that originally appeared above a Dec. 5, 2001, letter to the editor was changed in both font and size for the movie and made to look like a news story from the Dec. 19, 2001, edition.

Chatillon, who represents Westside Productions, which produced "Fahrenheit 9/11," did admit the date flashed in the movie "was unfortunately off by a couple weeks." But the mistake "did not make a difference to the editorial point ... and was in no way detrimental to (The Pantagraph)."

"Baloney," said Pantagraph President and Publisher Henry Bird, in response to the letter. Added newspaper attorney J. Casey Costigan, "I disagree that Michael Moore's use of the headline falls under 'fair use,' and I think the letter also takes what Mr. Moore did out of context."

Bird said he has asked Costigan to send Moore a follow-up letter, asking him to explain why a Pantagraph page was altered without permission.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I Love You, Madame Librarian - by Kurt Vonnegut

I, like probably most of you, have seen Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Its title is a parody of the title of Ray Bradbury’s great science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451. This temperature 451° Fahrenheit, is the combustion point, incidentally, of paper, of which books are composed. The hero of Bradbury’s novel is a municipal worker whose job is burning books.

And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

And still on the subject of books: Our daily sources of news, papers and TV, are now so craven, so unvigilant on behalf of the American people, so uninformative, that only in books can we find out what is really going on. I will cite an example: House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger, published near the start of this humiliating, shameful blood-soaked year.

In case you haven’t noticed, and as a result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war lovers, with appallingly powerful weaponry and unopposed.

In case you haven’t noticed, we are now almost as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazis were.

With good reason.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Filmmaker Moore Quotes Goss on Lack of CIA Credentials

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Congressman Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee for CIA director, could be his own worst enemy when it comes to making the case that he deserves to lead the U.S. intelligence agency.

"I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified," the Florida Republican told documentary-maker Michael Moore's production company during the filming of the anti-Bush movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."

A day after Bush picked Goss for the top U.S. spy job, Moore on Wednesday released an excerpt from a March 3 interview in which the 65-year-old former House of Representatives intelligence chief recounts his lack of qualifications for employment as a modern CIA staffer.

"I don't have the language skills. I, you know, my language skills were romance languages and stuff. We're looking for Arabists today. I don't have the cultural background probably," Goss is quoted in an interview transcript.

"And I certainly don't have the technical skills, uh, as my children remind me every day: 'Dad you got to get better on your computer.' Uh, so, the things that you need to have, I don't have."

Goss, who served with the CIA clandestine services in Latin America and Europe in the 1960s, was not immediately available for comment.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Pakistan : Terror of anticipation

By Hans B Bremer

Nearly 40 years ago, eminent French director Francois Truffaut made a film in Britain which, sadly, never really gained the recognition it deserved. Loosely based on a novel by Ray Bradbury, the film narrates the transformation of a man engaged in carrying out an official policy of burning books. He slowly realises what treasures he is destroying, and in the end, like-minded people are shown preserving literary masterpieces by committing them to memory. The movie’s title is ‘Fahrenheit 451’, for that is the temperature at which paper burns.

Truth is an elusive commodity, I know. My immediate instinct is to mistrust a television programme entitled ‘Such to yeh hai.’ But maybe the title is just meant to be provocative and ear-catching. Anyway, if you substitute truth or an approximation of it for literature and think of the void that the absence of both would create, you get an idea perhaps of why US film-maker Michael Moore gave his recent anti-Bush documentary the title ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’ As the anniversary of that fateful date approaches, be honest: could you have predicted on that sunny September day the extent to which international politics and Pakistan’s domestic politics were destined to be transformed three years down the road?

To my mind, Moore’s film is nothing more and nothing less than a timely and welcome antidote to the tendentious fare dished up by those spineless would-be journalists at Fox News and, perhaps to a slightly lesser extent, at CNN. The BBC tries harder. Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes it fails. Sadly, the state electronic media of this Islamic Republic all too often fall into the trap of parroting western coverage of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine/Israel and the so-called war on terror. Let’s be generous and assume that this is mainly due to their woeful lack of foreign correspondents and to their dependence on western news agencies. But let it also be said that editors who read newspapers and tune in occasionally to channels such as al-Jazeera should be able to rewrite AFP, Reuters or AP.

(click on the title for the whole article)

World Net Daily : Bye-bye, Bushie: 1,000 points of blight

by Maralyn Lois Polak

"Fahrenheit 9-11" is still the film the Bush-WAH administration doesn't want you to see. With good reason. It's like watching the rise of the Fourth Reich ...

Scandalous, catastrophic, corrupt and very creepy.

While it doesn't go nearly far enough in its indictment of the Bushes – a three-generation Skull and Bones dynasty as the moral equivalent of a major American crime family – Michael Moore's latest documentary is powerful, politically persuasive and emotionally affecting, a clarion call to action now: Dump this dim dude before he and his cadre of greedy, power-mad necon nitwits destroy what's left of the world.

If your main source of news is the corporate mainstream media, you may be shocked, dazed, and confused to discover the Bushes are intimately "connected" to a Saudi syndicate controlling international oil cartels.

Despite Disney pulling out at the 11th hour, the film's unwarranted "R" rating, and some chickenhearted theatres declining to carry "Fahrenheit 9-11," the film has become the top-grossing documentary of all time.

You could say radical gadfly Michael Moore is flak-catcher for a phalanx of fellow truth-tellers.

What must be remembered, before we inevitably get entangled in all the ad hominem, anti-Moore rhetoric – which has surely begun to pile up like cow-pies – is this: The filmmaker didn't invent these outrages, he merely catalogues them.

No need to attack the messenger bearing bad news.

Nevertheless, no surprise Bushies seek to smear Michael Moore in any way they can, attempting to discredit his film, discount its message and disparage his techniques. An especially futile tactic because these other questioning voices are becoming legion.

A full six months before the release of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9-11," Online Journal's Michael Hasty pointed out in his stunning piece, "Paranoid Shift," that "[D]isturbing ... are the many eerie parallels between Adolph Hitler and George W. Bush":

  • A conservative, authoritarian style, with public appearances in military uniform (which no previous American president has ever done while in office).
  • Government by secrecy, propaganda and deception.
  • Open assaults on labor unions and workers' rights.
  • Preemptive war and militant nationalism.
  • Contempt for international law and treaties.
  • Suspiciously convenient "terrorist" attacks, to justify a police state and the suspension of liberties.
  • A carefully manufactured image of "The Leader," who's still just a "regular guy" and a "moderate."
  • "Freedom" as the rationale for every action. Fantasy economic growth, based on unprecedented budget deficits and massive military spending.
  • And a cold, pragmatic ideology of fascism – including the violent suppression of dissent and other human rights; the use of torture, assassination and concentration camps; and most important, Benito Mussolini's preferred definition of "fascism" as "corporatism, because it binds together the interests of corporations and the state."

We are so there, Bunky!

(click on the title for the whole article)

F911 opens in Japan on August 14 : "Flawed but powerful"

W. Blake Gray Special to The Daily Yomiuri

Fahrenheit 9/11 (Japan title: Kashi 9/11) Three and a half stars (out of five)

Dir: Michael Moore

Featuring: George W. Bush,George Bush, Dick Cheney

In the United States, Fahrenheit 9/11 has been as polarizing as the president it attacks. Bush supporters have protested the film without ever seeing it. Meanwhile, anti-Bush hordes, cheering loudly in spots, quickly pushed it past director Michael Moore's previous effort, Bowling for Columbine, to make it the biggest-grossing documentary ever within just one week.

The most neutral authority on Fahrenheit 9/11 was the international jury (only one member was French) at the Cannes Film Festival, which awarded the Palme d'Or to a documentary for only the second time. The first was Le Monde du Silence by Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle in 1956. Cannes jury President Quentin Tarantino told film critic Roger Ebert, "This prize was not for politics. It was because it was the best film."

With apologies to Tarantino, it's impossible to see this film outside of politics. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a political statement on the order of Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense, which helped spark the American Revolution. Finely crafted with a sharp sense of humor, it's a convincing two-hour-plus cry for regime change in Washington. And as such, it's a lightning rod for the strength of democracy.

This is Moore's fifth full-length release, and easily his best. It's far more focused than the interesting but meandering Columbine, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary last year. Much of the footage used is emotionally stirring, yet Moore shows welcome delicacy in his handling of the terrorist attacks referred to by the title.

(click on the title for the whole article)

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

"OutFoxed": How Rupert Murdoch Is Destroying American Journalism

By Don Hazen, AlterNet
Posted on July 10, 2004, Printed on August 10, 2004

As "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore's powerful indictment of the Bush Administration, is influencing millions of Americans in the heartland, "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism," a devastating new documentary that exposes Bush's biggest cheerleader opens this week in New York and San Francisco and will be featured in thousands of house parties across the country, sponsored by on Sunday, July 18th.

"Outfoxed" demonstrates in painful detail how one media empire, making full use of the public airwaves, can reject any semblance of fairness or perspective, and serve as the mouthpiece of right-wing conservatives, fully relishing its role. Media critic Jeffrey Chester describes the Fox News operation most succinctly in the film: "Fox News Channel is a 24/7 commercial for the conservatives and the Republican Party."

Produced and directed by veteran Hollywood filmmaker Robert Greenwald, "Outfoxed" puts on the screen, for the first time ever, a gaggle of former Fox producers, reporters, writers, and bookers who provide rich background to life within the Fox media empire, particularly how they were forced to push a right-wing view or lose their jobs.

Fox's hypocrisy in the wholesale undermining of journalism for political purposes was a major motivation for Greenwald to make the documentary. "I hope the film can serve as a catalyst to break the silence about Fox News," says Greenwald. "Virtually all journalists know that it's a sham, that their trademark 'Fair and Balanced' is a lie, and that in addition, Fox is leading the charge to dumb down the news, and to spend less and less money on news coverage, and bleed it for every possible dollar of profit... which relates to the larger theme of the film: corporate control of the media and the problems it brings up for a democracy."

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The San Francisco Chronicle : Bush's Michael Moore Moment At Unity

by Emil Guillermo

Washington, DC -- President Bush is for "acting affirmatively," though he's not exactly for affirmative action.

For me, this revelation was the highlight of last week's Unity, the convention of more than 6,000 minority journalists that takes place every three to five years.

Normally a marketplace for underrepresented minorities trying to break down barriers in mostly white media organizations, this third convention was an eye opener because of the president's statements during his appearance there.

If ever there was an occasion on which Bush could have demonstrated his leadership ability, a gathering of minority journalists was it.

Most of them weren't there to "cover the speech." They wanted to hear what their president had to say, person to person, and see how he envisioned solutions to the problems of working in a field rife with discrimination.

Journalists, after all, are people, too.

Bush's opening stump speech was filled with boilerplate stuff we've heard before, including his race rhetoric about how his administration challenges "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

A great poetic phrase, but what does it mean?

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Conservative group seeks press exemption to air ads

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A conservative group that complained about television ads for Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" now wants an exemption from campaign-finance laws so it can advertise a book about John Kerry.

Citizens United contends the Federal Election Commission should consider it part of the news media, and allow it to run election-time ads for a book called The Many Faces of John Kerry: Why This Massachusetts Liberal is Wrong for America.

In a request released last week, Citizens United argued it should be able to run ads for the book, written by David Bossie, the group's president, and a documentary film on the Democratic presidential nominee and his running mate, John Edwards.

A new campaign-finance law bans the use of corporate money for ads identifying presidential and congressional candidates within two months of the election. But an exemption to the law frees a wide range of media organizations from the ban.

In June, Citizens United asked the FEC to investigate whether ads for "Fahrenheit 9/11" violated the law's restrictions on ads close to presidential nominating conventions and the Nov. 2 election. The FEC voted late last month to throw out the complaint, while declining to decide whether the press exemption applied to the ads.

Citizens United argues it should qualify for the press exemption because it publishes and releases newsletters, position papers, documentaries and books. The group contends "Fahrenheit 9/11" is anti-Bush propaganda and doesn't qualify for the media exemption, however.

Citizens For Legitimate Government : The Manchurian Candidate – picking up where "Fahrenheit 9/11" left off

Those of us who trooped, en masse, to see “Fahrenheit 9/11” did so for a number of reasons. Certainly one of those reasons was to make a political statement with our ticket purchases and our presence in the movie theaters. Many of us felt – quite accurately – that no matter what the quality of the film proved to be, it was important to show that there were many, many people who did not accept the Bush administration’s 9/11 narrative. Seeing the film on opening night was a form of protest, and while not everyone walked away from the movie satisfied that their position regarding the events of September 11, 2001 had been presented as accurately as they might have liked, as an anti-war film and as a film which raised important questions about the official story line emanating from the mainstream media, it was a superlative work.

One of the primary criticisms levied at Michael Moore’s film, however, was that he was largely preaching to the choir. There is more than a grain of truth to this point as Moore’s reputation for espousing left-of-center causes precedes him, and it is hard to imagine someone who never misses a Faux News broadcast accidentally encountering Moore’s work in the theater, let alone taking down the Bush shrine in the family recreation room based on the evidence that the film presents. For that miracle to happen, you need a subtler touch, so your assignment this week, boys and girls, is to take your favorite neo-con nutcase to go see “The Manchurian Candidate.”

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Monday, August 09, 2004

"Michael Moore Hates America" funded by dirty money ?

Brian R. Cartmell is an internet entrepreneur. In late May 2004, Cartmell rescued the production of"Michael Moore Hates America", which was struggling through lack of cash.

On Upsize This !, "dontshootme" provides the link to the study you can read by clicking on the title and this other one :

He then concludes :

"well, who would have guessed. I had no idea that MMHA was funded by revenue generated by pornography. I find this just a little ironic. A right wing film that shows how great america is (they say that, not me) is funded by something quite the opposite of a church fund. imagine if moores film was funded by pornography? imagine the stink that would be!

what do you guys think?"

Link to the discussion :

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.

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Lions Gate narrows Q1 loss to $11.5M

VANCOUVER — Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. narrowed its losses in the first quarter as the filmmaker reported a more than tripling of revenues on the release of successful new movies and a recent acquisition.

The Vancouver company, which reports in U.S. dollars, said today it lost $11.5 million (U.S.) or 12 cents a share for the three months ended June 30, the first quarter of the company's 2005 fiscal year. That compared with a loss of $12.8 million or 28 cents a share for the previous year.

Quarterly revenues more than tripled to $188.7 million from $53.3 million (U.S.) as the company benefited from the release of films such as Godsend, The Punisher and Fahrenheit 9/11 during the period. However, marketing and distribution costs also rose.

As well, Lions Gate (TSX: LGF), (NYSE: LGF) generated higher sales in the wake of the Canadian company's $240-million (U.S.) acquisition of U.S.-based Artisan Entertainment last December. That deal created a large independent — separate from the major Hollywood studios — with thousands of films in its catalogue.

"This quarter is representative of revenue levels as well as the mix and diversity of revenue sources anticipated from the consolidation of Lions Gate and Artisan," said Lions Gate chief executive Jon Feltheimer. "The successful launch of our recent theatrical releases as well as home entertainment sales from new and catalogue product gives me great confidence in reaffirming our previous guidance for the year."

International Herald Tribune : Moore's documentary allies keep up fire

by Joan Dupont IHT
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" is spawning spinoffs all over the map, movies turned on a dime. In San Francisco, the Roxie Cinema runs titles like "Highjacking Catastrophe," about how the right used 9/11, and the latest, "Out-Foxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism." And in France, surfing on the wave of Moore's success, yet made a year earlier, "Liberty Bound" by Christine Rose, a young American filmmaker, was released in an unusual distribution coup. The film opens in the United States this autumn.

Most French critics treated "Fahrenheit" as a spoof and dismissed Rose as a wild young thing. They favor their own homegrown - presumably high-minded - approach. "Le Monde selon Bush" (The World According to Bush), by the Paris-based documentary filmmaker William Karel, was made for television and also released in theaters.

Up to now, Moore's bulky profile and antigovernment stance had been welcome in France, but only as long as he was perceived as a loner, on the outs with the system. Then "Fahrenheit" won at Cannes, turning cinephiles against him. "Une défaite," an insult to cinema, declared Cahiers du Cinéma.

In contrast, "Le Monde selon Bush" won high praise. A master behind the camera, and good at concealing his hand until the final cut, Karel is a veteran filmmaker who knows as well as Moore how to manipulate images, but he has kept his focus on a small bunch of talking heads - all male - and his tone solemn.

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NOTE - This American vision of the French reaction is pretty well thought out !

Moore the merrier : Fahrenheit 9/11 has become Australia's highest-grossing documentary

August 10, 2004 JUST two weeks after its release, Michael Moore's incendiary film about George W. Bush, weapons of mass destruction and the war in Iraq, Fahrenheit 9/11, has become Australia's highest-grossing documentary, earning $5.4million.

Critical acclaim and political approbation have proved a potent box-office mix for the controversial documentary. Troy Lum, managing director of the film's local distributor, Hopscotch, estimated more than a million voters would see it before the upcoming federal election.

Mr Lum said he planned to make the supply of prints of Fahrenheit 9/11 to marginal electorates a priority -- a move he claimed was not about party politics, but about giving everyone the opportunity to see the film and make up their own minds. "Those seats have intense pressure applied to them, and we want them to be part of the debate about truth in government and the reasons we went to war."

F911 screened in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Aug 9: One of the most controversial films of the year in USA, "Fahrenheit 9/11" by legend filmmaker Michele Moore was screened at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday evening.

SDPI and Citizen Peace Committee (CPC) jointly organized the function. It was largely participated by the civil society members and others.

In this documentary film, Michele Moore searing examination of the Bush administration's action in the wake of tragic events of 9/11. It shows that in the atmosphere of suspense and confusion the Bush administration makes its headlong rush towards war in Iraq without any concrete reason.

The filmmaker also takes the viewers inside that war to tell the stories which they have not heard.-Online

Sunday, August 08, 2004

New York Daily News : Kerry has Moore problems

by Michael Goodwin

John Kerry is sounding like a Michael Moore wanna-be. In speeches on two topics Thursday, Kerry blasted President Bush in ways that mimic the Bush-bashing themes of Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11."

The similarities could be just a coincidence. Or it could be that someone in the Kerry camp saw the movie and came away with some hot new ideas. Or it could be that the people Kerry has called his "overzealous speechwriters" have seized control of his mouth again, just as they did by forcing him to rail against "Benedict Arnold corporations" after he wanted to stop.

Could be all or none of the above. Doesn't matter.

What does matter is that Kerry is again playing footsie with the wackadoo wing of the Democratic Party - and reinforcing the suspicion that at heart he's one of them.

And if Kerry's comfortable with Moore, Howard Dean and Whoopi Goldberg, then he's not who he claims to be, which is a centrist protector of the middle class and a commander-in-chief ready to lead the world in the fight against terror.

Kerry can't have it both ways, if only because Moore and his crowd believe that America, not terrorism, is the world's biggest problem.

The Democrat's first lapse into a Moore-ism Thursday came at a minority journalists' convention in Washington. Asked what he would have done on 9/11 had he been President, Kerry said he would not have stayed in a Florida classroom reading to children, as Bush did for seven minutes.

The scene has a starring role in "Fahrenheit 9/11," complete with Moore's sophomoric narration that puts thoughts into Bush's head.

Where did Kerry get the idea for his answer if not from the movie? He says he hasn't seen it, but only Moore has focused on the President's immediate reaction to news of the attacks.

Kerry's second Moore-ism came in St. Louis, where he touted his plan for energy independence: "I want America's security to depend on American ingenuity and creativity, not the Saudi royal family."

The Saudi crack, which Kerry first used in his Boston convention speech, also picks up one of the key themes of Moore's film, which is that Bush cares more for his family's Saudi connections than he does for American lives and interests.

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The Kansas City Star : Exiles strike back at filmmaker Michael Moore

Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - Weeks after Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" became a controversial blockbuster in the United States, the film and its maker are generating a new wave of attention - this time from Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits.

In Cuba, where leader Fidel Castro is in a heightened war of words with President Bush, bootlegged copies of Moore's Bush-bashing documentary were shown to packed cinemas for a week, and the film was aired on state-run television July 29.

Cuban Americans who support Bush are vilifying Moore on Spanish-language radio, the Internet and in e-mails.

Their objection, beyond the new film: inflammatory pieces Moore wrote about Cuban exiles in 1997 and 2000 in which he called them ''Batista supporters'' and ''wimps'' who were wrong not to immediately send home child-boater Elian Gonzalez.

The controversy has put Cuban-American Democrats in a sensitive spot: Moore's writings about Miami exiles are sure to offend some of them, but the filmmaker's anti-Bush message resonates strongly with Democrats eager to reclaim the White House.

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Greenberg: Michael Moore-Pantagraph story grows and grows

I got a call a few days ago from a man asking if The Pantagraph wanted to take on filmmaker Michael Moore on a new NBC primetime show set to debut this fall.

The show features lawyers trying real court cases with judges and juries, resulting in final, legal and binding outcomes.

It wasn't a joke. The show is real. David E. Kelley -- who brought viewers "The Practice," "Ally McBeal," and "L.A. Law" -- is an executive producer.

We said no thanks.

It's just one example of the reaction we've received since attorney Casey Costigan sent a letter to Moore on behalf of The Pantagraph a couple of weeks ago.

The letter asked Moore for an apology after someone took a Dec. 5, 2001, letter to the editor from our paper and made it look like a Dec. 19, 2001, news story in Moore's latest controversial documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Well, we still have not heard from Moore or his representatives. Not sure we ever will.

That's not the only reason we asked Casey to send the letter and published our own story on July 30 about the issue.

More important to me was putting something on the record for our readers -- and other journalists.

We're not documentary filmmakers. We don't know if taking something from a newspaper and tweaking it is common practice.

But to take something out of any newspaper without asking and changing it is not our common practice.

If we didn't say something, we give tacit approval.

A copy of Casey's letter went to The Associated Press and a few other papers.

The story got around.

It was in newspapers all over the country and overseas. It was on CNN's "crawler," Headline News, Fox News.

We did interviews with the Chicago Tribune, WJBC and Entertainment Weekly. Casey even got a crank call from someone saying he was with "60 Minutes."

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“Fahrenheit 9/11“ resonates with many Blacks

By Titus Ledbetter III
Black College Wire
Updated Aug 8, 2004, 05:37 pm

A day before filmmaker Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” opened nationwide, he stood in Washington with several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, on the steps of a legislative office building, as they praised the film.

After President George Bush turned down an invitation to speak in Philadelphia at the annual NAACP convention, the civil rights organization sponsored a free screening of the anti-Bush film, drawing at least 2,000 people on July 13, according to the New York Times. NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, in introducing the movie, likened it in importance to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’’ the book that boosted the abolitionist cause before the Civil War and became the first social protest novel published in the United States.

The movie makes the argument that the United States never should have invaded Iraq, and he maintains that Blacks are being used.

A poll conducted by the D.C. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Res-earch surveyed 1,000 likely voters after the movie’s first week. It did not break down those it surveyed by race, but the survey showed that the largest percentage of voters that had seen it were in the 18-29 age bracket and that 86 percent of those who had seen the movie planned to vote for John Kerry.

Despite the lack of racial statistics, there is much to suggest that “Fahrenheit 9/11” is resonating with many Blacks. Mr. Moore has plugged the film on radio’s syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show” and on “The Tavis Smiley Show” on PBS.

Kimberly Thompson, executive vice president of the Johnson Development Corp., which runs the Magic Johnson Theaters in six Black communities around the country, said that the movie is doing “very well” there.

The movie makes the argument that the United States never should have invaded Iraq and he maintains that Blacks are being used.

Some Black moviegoers agreed.

Jennifer Mowbrey, 21, a recent graduate of Hampton University, says Mr. Moore’s point about the recruitment of poor Blacks to serve in Iraq hit home.

“African Americans should pay attention to the fact that, according to the movie, most of the (American military) recruitment takes place in poor neighborhoods,” said Ms. Mowbrey. “The poor people are going to fight and the rich people are making all the decisions. They are selling them the promise of a college education.”

She saw “Fahrenheit 9/11” within the first two weeks of its June 25 release, and said she was one of the few Blacks in the movie theater.

“I felt Black people should watch the film but, unfortunately, they will be the least likely to see the film,” she added. “Black people seem to be the least interested in politics or anything that affects them in the future.”

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ABC : Watchdog blasts Kuwait for banning 'Fahrenheit 9/11' movie

The media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has denounced the decision to ban Michael Moore's Bush-bashing Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary in Kuwait, one of Washington's main Gulf allies.

"RSF has condemned the Kuwaiti Information Ministry's August 1, 2004, decision to ban screenings" of the documentary and urged the authorities to lift the ban, the Paris-based group said in a statement.

"The Kuwaiti authorities are free to disagree with Michael Moore's political preferences but it is regrettable that they are using the weapon of censorship to deprive the Kuwaiti public of the information and views contained in his film," the organisation said.

"This ban is all the more damaging to Kuwait's image as, so far, it is the only country in the region to take such a decision," it said.

The watchdog quoted the Kuwaiti Information Ministry's cinema and production supervisor, Abdel-Aziz Bou Dastour, as saying that the documentary had insulted the Saudi royal family.

"We have a law that prohibits insulting friendly nations and ties between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are special," he said.

He also said Moore's film "criticised America's policy on invading Iraq and this (is) tantamount to criticising Kuwait for (what it did) to liberate Iraq (and) would have angered Kuwaitis."

RSF said the documentary has already been screening for weeks in the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

On August 3, it opened simultaneously in Qatar, Bahrain and Oman and is due to start showing soon in Egypt.

Pirated copies of the film have also been circulating illegally in several of the region's countries, the group said.

The film, a blistering indictment of US President George W Bush, became the first documentary in history to rake in more than $US100 million in North American ticket sales.