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Critical Evaluation Of Fahrenheit 9/11.

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Autor:  anton  09 January 2011
Tags:  Critical,  Evaluation,  Fahrenheit
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In this essay I will critically evaluate the way Michael Moore authors/constructs a version

of the recent political and historical events in America and the world in his film Fahrenheit

9/11. To do this I will look at how the techniques he employs to construct a set of

arguments convey his message to the viewer and what effect on the viewer he is trying to

achieve. I will then go on to discuss how this affects my own views on the subject and

reflect upon how I perceive the documentary.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is a documentary film by American filmmaker Michael Moore that

presents a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the “War on Terrorism”, and

its coverage in the American news media.

It attempts to portray Bush as a criminal whose every move in the Afghanistan and Iraq

wars were prompted by greed and insidious business ties with Saudis, specifically the Bin

Laden family. In its first half, Moore shows that Bushes has worked with the Bin Ladens

for many years and that they have invested over a billion dollars in Bush businesses. His

argument is that this has not only blurred Bush's judgment but is actually the driving force

behind all the Bush decisions.

Moore shows particular events in a certain order starting with the Election and Bush

coming into power. He then goes on to show the 9/11 attacks and a chain of other events

that he implies are a result of Bush becoming president. You could separate the movie

into the following;

1. 2000 Election

2. Bush Presidency through September 11

3. Saudis

4. Afghanistan

5. Domestic issues

6. Iraq

7. The man from Flint and terrorists.

The movie begins with a review of the 2000 Florida election recall. We are first shown Al

Gore rocking on stage with famous musicians and a high-spirited crowd. The

conspicuous sign on stage reads “Florida Victory.” Moore creates the impression that

Gore was celebrating his victory in Florida. Moore's voiceover claims, “And little Stevie

Wonder, he seemed so happy, like a miracle had taken place.” The words "had taken”

gives the impression that the election has been completed.

Moore edits the footage in this film in such a way as not to blatantly lie, but perhaps to

deceive the viewers.

An example of this would be when Moore emphasises that Fox news called the election

in favour for Bush on election night 2000, because Bush’s first cousin, John Ellis, was in

charge of the “decision desk” at Fox News. Moore uses this piece of information to

give the impression to viewers - that the vote was consequently fixed.

The film shows CBS and CNN calling Florida for Al Gore. According to the narrator,

“Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favour of the other

guy….All of a sudden the other networks said, �Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.’”

We then see NBC anchor Tom Brokaw stating,

“All of us networks made a mistake and projected Florida in the Al Gore column. It was

our mistake.”

Moore creates the impression that the networks withdrew their claim about Gore winning

Florida when they heard that Fox said that Bush won Florida, when in fact, the networks

which called Florida for Gore did so earlier in the evening - before polls

had even closed in Florida. NBC called Florida for Gore later in the evening which was

ten minutes before polls closed in the Florida. Thirty seconds later, CBS called Florida for

Gore. Fox called Florida for Gore later than the rest of the networks.

Moore never lets the audience know that Fox was among the networks which made the

error of calling Florida for Gore prematurely. в‘ґ

A few hours later, CNN and CBS took the lead in retracting the premature Florida win for

Gore, not Fox. в‘µ

In fact, Fox did not retract its claim that Gore had won Florida until after other networks

had withdrawn the call.

CBS took the lead in retracting the Florida call for Bush. All the other networks, including

Fox, followed the CBS lead within eight minutes. The networks arrived at similar

conclusions within a short period of time as they were all using the same data from the

Voter News Service. ⑶

Moore’s editing technique of the election night segment shows all the video clips are real

clips, and nothing he says is false. But he does say,

“Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favour of the other


The impression created is that the Fox call of Florida for Bush came soon after the

CBS/CNN calls of Florida for Gore, and that Fox caused the other networks to change

("All of a sudden the other networks said, 'Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.'")

Another example of this is where the movie an anti-Bush riot that took place in

Washington, D.C. on the day of Bush’s inauguration. He claims that protestors “pelted

Bush's limo with eggs.” Actually, it was just one egg, according to the BBC. Moore says,

"No President had ever witnessed such a thing on his inauguration day. "

However, According to CNN, Richard Nixon (the thirty-seventh President of the United

States) faced comparable protests. According to USA Today, the anti-Bush organizers

claimed that they expected 20,000 protesters to show up, whereas the anti-Nixon protest

in 1973 drew 60,000 people.

Moore states, “The plan to have Bush get out of the limo for the traditional walk to

the White House was scrapped.” But again, according to the BBC this was incorrect -

“Mr. Bush delighted his supporters by getting out of his limousine and walked the last

block of the parade, holding hands with his wife Laura.”

During the rest of the film there are many more instances where Moore implies scenarios

that are may be slightly deceptive. He does this by using certain editing techniques and

his voice over guides the viewer to stay on track with the point he is trying to make.

In the next part of the film Moore moves on to illustrate all the ways the Bushes are

deeply connected to the Bin Laden family (if not exactly Osama himself) and how they

also have a close business relationship with the Bush family, through the Carlyle

Group – A private investment firm.

The final part, on Iraq - -such as the Saddam regime's murder of Americans, and the

regime's connection with al Qaeda. The film suggests that the invasion of Iraq was an

illegitimate attack on a sovereign nation - an unnecessary attack against a contrived

threat. The film also contends that the focus of the United States should have been

directed elsewhere. What Moore fails to point out in all of this is that the

Americans had a dirty relationship with the Saudis for a lot longer than the Bushes

have been in politics. They’ve turned a blind eye to the evil of the Saudis since

before Nixon. The film does not mention the history of repression, war crimes and

general state of human rights in Iraq whilst under Saddam Hussein’s ruling, nor Iraq’s non

compliance with numerous United Nation resolutions.

Moore says that calling attention to Saddam’s crimes was unnecessary considering the

corporate media had continually pressed that point themselves, making it public

knowledge. Yet Saddam's regime was the only one in the region that openly celebrated

the attacks on New York and Washington and described them as just the beginning of a

larger revenge. If the above had been allowed to happen under any other administration,

Moore and others would perhaps be accusing the president of ignoring, or of having

ignored, some fairly unmistakable "warnings."

Another exaggerated exert is when Moore shows the president being captured on a golf

course, giving a response to a question on terrorism and then asking the reporters to

watch his drive. In the TV clips I saw of this before I watched the film, I thought of how it

seemed very unprofessional. On second thoughts, however, surely that is just what would

happen if you catch somebody on a golf course.

A latter instance is the moment where Bush is shown frozen on his chair at the infant

school in Florida, continuing to participate in the class room activity for seven whole

minutes after the news of the second plane on 9/11. Many are those who say that he

should have leaped from his stool, and gone to work. Again, even I may have thought that

at first. But if he had done any such thing then half the Michael Moore community may

now be calling him a man who went to war on a hectic, crazed impulse.

Having looked at this film from a critical point of view, I now feel I have a better knowledge

of the American foreign policy and Military action but this is not only through watching

Fahrenheit 9/11, but also conducting my own research.

The well-argued, heartfelt power of his persuasion. Even though there are many things

here that I have already learned, Moore puts it all together. I did believe Michael Moore's

Arguments when I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 as I knew of no other version of events

therefore my view was easily swayed. I do however think that it depends on the audience

and whether they already have preconceptions of the subject matter. I believe that if you

agree with Michael Moore then you will feel the documentary backs up your belief further,

but it won’t change the minds of anyone whose mind you’d want to change. The people

who disagree will continue to disagree, because Moore does nothing to counter their


Anyone can perhaps make a situation look a certain way and illustrate their point of view

whatever the argument is. I can see how Moore has carefully constructed a one sided

view and cleverly backed this with evidence with his selected film shots and cuts. He

relies on his audience to not further investigate because they want to believe the worst

about their enemies.

When viewing other works where the author seeks to construct a set of arguments and

invites the reader to share them, I will be more reluctant to accept their point of view as

true facts. I would like to see them back up their ideas with factual evidence and show the

opposing view so I can be presented with two sides of a story before making up my own



Film Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore

в‘ґ (Joan Konner, James Risser & Ben Wattenberg, Television's Performance on

Election Night 2000: A Report for CNN, Jan. 29, 2001.)

в‘µ (Linda Mason, Kathleen Francovic & Kathleen Hall Jamieson, "CBS News

Coverage of Election Night 2000: Investigation, Analysis, Recommendations" (CBS

News, Jan. 2001), pp. 12-25.)

⑶ (Mason, et al. “CBS News Coverage.”)

в‘· (USA Today, Jan. 20, 2001).

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