May, White House communications director Dan Bartlett said Michael
Moores Fahrenheit 9/11 "was so outrageously false it's not
even worth comment," even though he had not yet seen the film.
Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter discovered that "big-time conservative
donors" are funding a slew of anti-Moore activities. Despite conservatives'
best efforts to discredit the film, the NY Times notes, "central
assertions of fact in Fahrenheit 9/11 are supported by the public
record." When the movie was aired at the Cannes Film Festival,
it won top prize from a panel made up of mostly American and British
New report says Saudi flights occurred on September 13
accused Moore of wrongly claiming a group of Saudis were allowed
to fly out of the United States on September 13, when much of
American airspace was still closed. In fact, the movie accurately
reports that 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden
family, were allowed to leave after September 13 - a fact well
documented by the 9/11 Commission. Additionally, new reports prove
that Saudi flights did occur on 9/13, despite three years of Bush
As the St. Petersburg Times reports, on September 13,"with most
of the nation's air traffic still grounded, a small jet landed
at Tampa International Airport, picked up three young Saudi men
and left" for Lexington, KY. The Saudis "then took another flight
out of the country."
Bush was not focused on terrorism
In the movie, Moore charges that President Bush did not pay enough
attention to pre-9/11 warnings that al Qaeda was about to attack.
Instead of focusing on terrorism, charges the movie, the president
spent 42 per cent of his first eight months in office on vacation.
That figure "came not from a conspiracy-hungry Web site but from
a calculation by The Washington Post."
effort to censor Michael Moore
At the direction of CEO Michael Eisner (who is a Bush campaign
contributor), the Walt Disney Company prohibited its Miramax division
from distributing Fahrenheit 9/11. The company enjoys a cozy relationship
with President Bush's brother, Jeb. As governor of Florida, Jeb
Bush serves as a trustee for the state employees' pension fund.
That fund owns approximately 7.3 million shares of Disney stock.
Eisner told reporters he was refusing to distribute the film because
Disney is "such a nonpartisan company, do not look for us to take
to censor Michael Moore
to silence Moore was taken up by the right-wing group with the
ironic name Move America Forward. The group is headed by right-winger
Howard Kaloogian, who also spearheaded the partisan campaign to
quash a miniseries about Ronald Reagan and led the partisan fight
to recall California Gov. Gray Davis. The group, without having
seen the film, "launched a preemptive attack against" the movie
"by requesting movie theaters across the country not to show the
The conservative front group "Citizens United," which is headed
by Clinton attacker David Bossie, is trying to get the Federal
Election Commission to intervene and censor advertising for Fahrenheit
9/11. Just two years ago, however, it was Bossie who led the charge
against FEC interventions.
Rated R For Reality
The Motion Picture Association of America saddled the movie with
an R rating. Tom Ortenberg, president of the company releasing
the film, "argued that 15- and 16-year-olds, who might end up
fighting in the war on terrorism," should be able to see the film,
which shows the true cost of war - gravely wounded Iraqi citizens
and U.S. troops. Much of that cost has been hidden by the Bush
administration, which has banned photos of flag-draped coffins
coming home (even though the Bush campaign uses flag draped corpses
at Ground Zero in its political commercials). President Bush has
also refused to attend funerals of the fallen in Iraq. Moore argues
that the movie needs to be seen by the widest possible audience
to give the public a glimpse of the reality of war. All told,
between the start of war on March 19, 2003 and June 16, 2004,
952 coalition forces were killed, including 836 U.S. military.
The above is authored by David J. Sirota, Christy Harvey, Judd
Legum and Jonathan Baskin.
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