I finally watched Fahrenheit 9/11. There is no doubt Moore is a powerful storyteller. His ability to bring together disparate pieces of a story to promote a point of view is amazing. I found myself entranced by what I was seeing. That is until I asked, “What am I seeing?” Moore’s movie jumps all over the map in its effort to foster regime change and hatred for the Bush administration. The only thing missing from this two hour plus lovefest, were statements regarding the Bush family’s bathroom habits. It really was overwhelming
At some point during the movie, Moore had inserted the nose ring and was leading me towards the only obvious conclusion allowable under his editorial vision. Bush must go. As the lights came up, I half expected to see a ballot box waiting for me so I could cast a vote for regime change. I mean really… are people that dumb? This film is a documentary in the same sense that a crack whore is a virgin – that is to say not at all. I left the movie feeling manipulated. I hate feeling manipulated.
What is a documentary anyway? Wikipedia tells us “A documentary is a work in a visual or auditory medium presenting political, social, or historical subjects in a factual and informative manner". Does Fahrenheit 9/11 qualify as a documentary? No, I don’t think so. Moore stacks the facts in his favor. He is very selective about what he shows us, and what he does not. The most blatant example is Moore’s expose of the Coalition of the Willing. He mentions Iceland, Costa Rica, and several other smaller militarily challenged countries, while leaving out the United Kingdom, Spain, and Japan. What is average Joe Trailer Park led to think? Whatever Moore wants them to think! Fahrenheit 9/11 is full of this type of manipulation.
Is Fahrenheit 9/11 a documentary?
Is Moore a documentary filmmaker?
Leni Riefenstahl made “Triumph of the Will” for Hitler. It was clearly intended as a documentary, yet it ended up as the archetype for propaganda films. Of course, if you were a German in the 30s, her work was “the truth”. What we see in Fahrenheit 9/11 is Moore’s "truth". Who (or what) is his Hitler?
By the way, Wikipedia tells us Propaganda “is a specific type of message presentation, aimed at serving an agenda. Even if the message conveys true information, it may be partisan and fail to paint a complete and balanced picture. The primary use of the term is in political contexts and generally refers to efforts sponsored by governments and political parties”.
-Sounds like a good description of Fahrenheit 9/11 to me.