MY OBLIGATORY FAHRENHEIT 9/11 POST
I’ve really enjoyed every conversation I’ve overheard about “Fahrenheit 9/11” this week, even the ones where somebody who hasn’t seen the movie is telling someone else it’s all lies and that anyone who supports it hates America. At least people are talking, and the more people talk, the more ignorant the ignorant people begin to look.
I was really looking forward to the movie, not because I always agree with Michael Moore, but because I think he’s a great filmmaker and because I’m smart enough to know how and when I’m being manipulated and to make up my own mind afterward. But before I saw it, and before all the streetcorner debating started, I really didn’t think it would change anyone’s mind. Lately, I’m not so sure. As polarized as the country is, there are plenty of undecided people out there who’ve been backing Bush all this time mostly because no one was telling them the things that Michael Moore’s telling them.
Paul Krugman nails it in his NYT editorial today. The reason this movie is so popular is that the media hasn’t been doing its job.
The most powerful parts of the movie are the footage where Bush comes across like the blithering idiot he most likely is, footage from press conferences and photo ops that we could’ve seen a million times by now if anyone bothered to show it. There are plenty of possible reasons why the media has been going so easy on Bush. Maybe they’re cowering in the face of the administration’s intimidation tactics, maybe they’re under orders from their right-wing-owned media conglomerates, maybe they really believe you shouldn’t make your country’s Commander in Chief look bad during a war, maybe they’re just lazy and sloppy. Or maybe their parents just taught them not to pick on the slow kids.
No one I’ve spoken to knew that Bush’s limo was pelted with eggs on Inauguration Day, but Moore showed us the footage, and his account of the incident, as far as I know, hasn’t been disputed. It’s not really a comment on Bush that some jerks threw eggs at him, but the fact that it went largely unreported makes the media look sloppy at best, and puppets of the right wing at worst.
We shouldn’t have to wait until Michael Moore puts out another movie to get to see what’s really going on in our country. (Preferably, we wouldn’t see it only through his not-always-100%-reliable filter either.) Maybe now that Moore has shown you can criticize the President and turn a profit, we’ll start seeing this kind of thing on Dateline, but I wouldn’t count on it.
If nothing else, I hope the movie’s success convinces someone to give Michael Moore one more shot at his own weekly TV show.