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Fahrenheit Facade
June 28, 2004

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Michael Moore's latest 'documentary' "Fahrenheit 9/11" is out in theaters, and it's breaking box office records. It's also breaking records for its lack of truth, discretion and entertainment value.

The flick is an overt attempt to indict the Bush administration and the United States of America. It's replete with heart-tugging scenes of Iraqi casualties and filled with footage of victims' families rebuking the American military. No wonder it's gotten a glowing endorsement from Hezbollah. The thing actually makes an ideal recruiting film for terrorist organizations.

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Maybe Moore got complacent going from the budget of $160,000 for "Roger & Me" to the $3 million for "Bowling for Columbine" to the $6 million he boasted about getting for "Fahrenheit 9/11," because basically the film's lousy. It's not informative. It's not thought provoking. It's not original. And Moore breaks the cardinal rule of filmmaking: The movie's just plain boring.

The editing has about as much rhythm as Bill Gates at a hip-hop concert. And the attempts at humor are largely adolescent.

Although I took issue with Moore's previous propaganda piece, "Bowling for Columbine," I at least had to acknowledge it had some cinematic imagination. I can't really say that this time around.

This movie is loaded with hackneyed urban legends that are presented with Moore's accompanying post-nasal drip narration. And it's chock-full of sound bites from such empty founts of wisdom as Rep. Jim McDermott, the Democrat congressman who buzzed over to Baghdad last year to proclaim that President Bush was lying to the American people in order to justify war, and later accused the president of timing Saddam Hussein's capture for political ends.

In describing his work, Moore sometimes calls the film a documentary. Other times he refers to it as an op-ed. He says it's 'just a movie' but then admits he hopes that it will turn the election. The problem is the imposter-documentary is filled with gaffes, flubs, goof-ups and all out howlers. I present to you a partial list of things that make you go 'oops!'

** Moore claims that Bush was unable to get his legislation passed prior to September 11.

Oops! Both Houses of Congress passed Bush's tax cut - you know, the one that has resulted in the greatest economic growth rate in two decades.

** According to Moore, the war in Afghanistan had nothing to do with the fact that the Taliban harbored the terrorists who attacked us. Rather, the war had to do with the building of a pipeline through Afghanistan so that natural gas could be brought from the Caspian Sea, and the scheme involved a dark cadre of companies that were led by the oil giant Unocal.

Oops! Unocal dumped the pipeline idea back in the late 1990s.

** The film indicates that, in the days following 9/11, exit flights of Saudis, a few of whom bore the last name of bin Laden, took place at a time when other air traffic was grounded.

Oops! The flights actually occurred when the aircraft ban was lifted. And the guy who made the decision was one of Moore's soul mates - Bush's former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke.

** Moore claims that the ex-leader of Iraq never threatened, attacked or killed any Americans.

Oops! For an entire decade Saddam Hussein tried to shoot down American planes as our pilots patrolled the no-fly zones. And he offered rewards to the families of suicide bombers in Israel. And he tried to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush. And he gave safe haven to the notorious Abu Nidal, a terrorist whose group has been blamed for attacks in more than 20 countries.

Will Democrats distance themselves from the flimsy flick and its famed fabricator? Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe and other prominent Dems have been cozying up to the film and its filmmaker, thinking that it will help them politically.

But the toadying may end up biting them in the political posterior because Moore has become the poster dude of the fringe Left. And the smiling Naderites are laying out the Green welcome mat.

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Copyright © 2004
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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