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
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 “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
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. ⑴
A few hours later, CNN and CBS took the lead in retracting the premature Florida win for
Gore, not Fox. ⑵
In fact, Fox did not retract its claim that Gore had won Florida until after other networks
had withdrawn the call....
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