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Autor: anton 09 January 2011
Words: 1906 | Pages: 8
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 Ð²Ð‚ÑšWar on TerrorismÐ²Ð‚Ñœ, 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
5. Domestic issues
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 Ð²Ð‚ÑšFlorida Victory.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Moore creates the impression that
Gore was celebrating his victory in Florida. Moore's voiceover claims, Ð²Ð‚ÑšAnd little Stevie
Wonder, he seemed so happy, like a miracle had taken place.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ The words "had takenÐ²Ð‚Ñœ
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 BushÐ²Ð‚â„¢s first cousin, John Ellis, was in
charge of the Ð²Ð‚Ñšdecision deskÐ²Ð‚Ñœ 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,
Ð²Ð‚ÑšThen something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favour of the other
guyÐ²Ð‚Â¦.All of a sudden the other networks said, Ð²Ð‚?Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.Ð²Ð‚â„¢Ð²Ð‚Ñœ
We then see NBC anchor Tom Brokaw stating,
Ð²Ð‚ÑšAll of us networks made a mistake and projected Florida in the Al Gore column. It was
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. Ð²â€˜Ò‘
A few hours later, CNN and CBS took the lead in retracting the premature Florida win for
Gore, not Fox. Ð²â€˜Âµ
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. Ð²â€˜Â¶
MooreÐ²Ð‚â„¢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,
Ð²Ð‚ÑšThen 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 BushÐ²Ð‚â„¢s inauguration. He claims that protestors Ð²Ð‚Ñšpelted
Bush's limo with eggs.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ 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, Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe plan to have Bush get out of the limo for the traditional walk to
the White House was scrapped.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ But again, according to the BBC this was incorrect -
Ð²Ð‚ÑšMr. Bush delighted his supporters by getting out of his limousine and walked the last
block of the parade, holding hands with his wife Laura.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ
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 Ð²Ð‚â€œ 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. TheyÐ²Ð‚â„¢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 HusseinÐ²Ð‚â„¢s ruling, nor IraqÐ²Ð‚â„¢s non
compliance with numerous United Nation resolutions.
Moore says that calling attention to SaddamÐ²Ð‚â„¢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 wonÐ²Ð‚â„¢t change the minds of anyone whose mind youÐ²Ð‚â„¢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
Ð²â€˜Ò‘ (Joan Konner, James Risser & Ben Wattenberg, Television's Performance on
Election Night 2000: A Report for CNN, Jan. 29, 2001.)
Ð²â€˜Âµ (Linda Mason, Kathleen Francovic & Kathleen Hall Jamieson, "CBS News
Coverage of Election Night 2000: Investigation, Analysis, Recommendations" (CBS
News, Jan. 2001), pp. 12-25.)
Ð²â€˜Â¶ (Mason, et al. Ð²Ð‚ÑšCBS News Coverage.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ)
Ð²â€˜Â· (USA Today, Jan. 20, 2001).
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