Thursday, July 15, 2004

Waiting for Guffman (Fahrenheit 9/11 Review Part III)



Wading through the first 30 minutes of unadulterated race-baiting by Michael Moore, the movie then takes us into a very emotional montage of peoples reaction to the 9/11 attacks with audio only. Then Moore strings together images of bystanders fleeing from the towers. This is well done. One should question, however, why he did not show the actual horror of the planes hitting the towers, footage of people choosing to jump to their deaths than be burned by fire, scenes of the country’s galvanization and unabashed patriotism that followed only hours after the event.

I suspect that he did not want to ruin his diatribe against Bush and “fly-over” Americans by showing exactly what we are fighting against. His thesis for the next 30 minutes is one wrought with conspiracy theory about Bush and oil. Moore wants us to believe that going after the Taliban and the Baathist regime was only a chapter in a three decade plot to get oil out of the Caspian Sea and Iraq. He shows Donald Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein but doesn’t explain that Rumsfeld was arming an enemy of the Soviet backed regime in Iran that held American hostages for over a year. He throws in some shadowy (rumors at best) accusations about Unocal and a proposed pipeline through Afghanistan. He shows the Taliban visiting Texas, but doesn’t say that their visit was arranged by the Clinton State Department. On and on the innuendos fly and he demonstrates his disingenuous attempt at balance by interviewing the likes of Richard Clarke and Rep. McDermott.

Too many people researched his claims and proved 90% of them wrong so I want to talk more about the deficiencies of his presentation. None of his clips of interviews and statements made by the Bush Administration and its detractors even show the DATE the interview or footage takes place. He does not mention the dates in his voiceover. His deceit requires this because he uses statements made by the administration prior to 9/11 and pretend they were said AFTER 9/11 in an attempt to paint the president as out of touch with the terror. Working of the same page as Al Gore, he attempts to show the “crafty” way the administration began to associate Saddam Hussein with Al Queda. So does he do this with different clips of the administration saying “Iraq” and “Al Queda” in the same sentence? No, he cannot even find footage of Bush et al saying the two names in the same interview or statement.

Flashing Bush saying “Iraq” and “Al Queda” for about thirty seconds, you notice that Bush is never wearing the same suit or in the same location. If he needed to splice together this footage doesn’t that actually demonstrate that Bush DID NOT try to link the two together? I guess not. My point is that even in the second quarter of the movie he fails to provide any HARD EVIDENCE. The only document he produces is Bush’s National Guard record, but the record isn’t used to prove his assertion Bush was a deserter—he uses it to show that Bush was in the National Guard with someone that invested in a failed oil venture: James Bath. OOOOOOOH. I guess I should never keep ties with any of my friend and never include them in any enterprise I think might be successful.

This portion of the movie is awash with accusations, suggestions and little proof: no dates, not source notes, no citations, and no balanced interviews. To Moore’s credit, he never claimed the movie was going to be fair. What he did claim was that it was going to be a documentary and it has yet to show any research other than someone going Googling or doing Nexis searches for conspiracy theories. So far it is still enjoyable but as the “mockumentary” is, I am still Waiting for Guffman to begin leading us in song.

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