An exploration of propaganda in Fahrenheit 9/11
Michael Moore unleashes a barrage of propagandistic techniques in his movie, Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore uses card-stacking, omission, manipulation, insinuation, and virtually throws everything but the kitchen sink at President Bush. Although at times, it feels as if the kitchen sink is on its way. Moore uses these techniques to push his theme: George Bush + war = Bad;
Michael Moore + Democrats = Good.
Okay, the message is slightly less obvious than that, but not by much. Moore hammers down that the spoiled rich cowboy (Bush) led the American people into an unjustifiable, immoral war, so he and his dad's friends (Cheney, Bin Laden family, and Saudis) could reap serious oil profit. Oh yeah, and Moore is the only one who knows the truth. Strap on your boots as we are about to wade through Moore's film and expose it for the propaganda twaddle that it really is
Moore does a sensational job of stacking the deck against Bush by omitting relevant and truthful information. If there were an award for omission, Moore would be the "omission master." He could put the trophy right next to his Academy Award. Omission is a powerful propaganda technique, which allows Moore to ignore facts that undermine his thesis while the audience is none the wiser.
Let the card stacking begin
Moore first shows us Al Gore, with an American flag flying behind his head, rocking out with famous people on stage. "And little Stevie Wonder, he seemed so happy, like a miracle had taken place," Moore narrates. Moore paints a picture as if Al Gore is celebrating his Florida Victory. What the audience is unaware of is that the actual event had taken place earlier that day before the polls opened1. The film then continues to show CBS and CNN calling Florida for Al Gore. Moore narrates again, "then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy
.All of a sudden the other networks said, Hey if Fox said it, it must be true.'" Moore never lets his audience know that Fox, along with CBS and CNN, had also called the election for Gore early in the evening as well. At 10:00 p.m. CNN and CBS retracted their win for Gore. Fox news did not retract theirs until 2:00 a.m. four hours after all networks had withdrawn the call2. Perhaps an oversight on Moore's part or just simply a blatant omission?
Moore continues down the path of omission by using an interview with retired FBI agent Cloonan. Cloonan expresses his disgust that the Saudis were not interviewed before the White House let them fly out of the country. However, according to the 9/11 commission reports, 30 of the passengers were thoroughly interviewed by the FBI3. In addition, Richard Clark admitted in his 9/11 testimony that it was he that made the decision alone to let the Saudi's fly, not the White House4. I must have gotten up for popcorn during that part where Moore explained the correction and missed it.
In one of Moore's proclaimed favorite film moments, he interviews congressmen and asks if they would send their children to fight in Iraq. Moore ambushes Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy who looks utterly confused. What the audience is, again, unaware of is that Kennedy had a response: "I have a nephew on his way to Afghanistan5." Kennedy also has two nephews in the military, and a son considering a career in the Navy5. Republican Michael Castle is shown walking and talking on his cell phone desperately avoiding Moore. One would wonder why Congressman Castle would not answer the question
could it be because he does not have any kids6? Once again, using the power of omission, Moore suggests that even our congressmen, well the Republican ones anyway, would not send their kids to Iraq. Moore states that of all the people in congress "only one had an enlisted son in Iraq." That is odd
the Associated Press counts at least seven7. Either Mr. Moore needs to return...
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